Friday, February 8, 2013
Claudine V. Pease-Wingenter (Phoenix), Halting the Profession's Female Brain Drain While Increasing the Provision of Legal Services to the Poor: A Proposal to Revamp and Expand Emeritus Attorney Programs, 37 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 433 (2012):
The article begins by describing the current female brain drain in the legal profession. Despite years of gender parity in law school, women currently comprise only about a third of practitioners. A number of factors lead to this situation, but a significant cause is the frequent “perfect storm” of simultaneously establishing oneself in a demanding new profession while also meeting significant caregiving responsibilities at home. Women often take time-off from paid employment for family reasons, but find it difficult to return to the legal profession after the isolation of such a hiatus.
The article advocates reforms to the licensure rules to empower lawyers on such a hiatus to do pro bono work. The provision of such pro bono services could make a huge dent in the devastating “justice gap” that currently plagues our society and undermines our legal system. Moreover, such reforms could also alleviate the trend of women who drift away from the legal profession permanently.