Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NY Times:  ‘A Bleak Picture’ For Women Trying To Rise At Law Firms

NY Times Dealbook (2013)New York Times Deal Book:  ‘A Bleak Picture’ for Women Trying to Rise at Law Firms, by Elizabeth Olson:

Even as more women add a law degree to their résumés, carving out a successful career at a law firm remains an uphill endeavor.

While initiatives and conferences to expand the number of women who are equity partners at law firms are something of a cottage industry, progress for women is, at best, static, according to the “2017 Law360 Glass Ceiling Report,” released on Monday by the legal publication Law 360.

Women are 50.3 percent of current law school graduates, yet they still make up just under 35 percent of lawyers at law firms, the report found. Most important, their share of equity partnerships — where the highest compensation and leadership positions are lodged — remains at 20 percent and has not changed in recent years, the report found.

“It’s a bleak picture, with a few bright spots,” said Anne Urda, the Law360 editor in chief, who helped oversee the report. The overall number of female lawyers at firms was up about 1 percentage point over last year, but only nine of the 300 firms surveyed had a lawyer work force that was 50 percent or more female.

As female lawyers largely remain boxed into the lower-ranking and lesser-paying jobs, the report noted a rise in gender bias lawsuits against law firms, which “likely will push law firms to reflect on their efforts to move the needle on gender parity.”

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"Women are 50.3 percent of current law school graduates, yet they still make up just under 35 percent of lawyers at law firms."

Considering the number of women who opt out of the fast track to raise a family (or abandon practice altogether), this seems like a pretty high percentage. Also as mentioned it has been shown time and time again in survey after survey that women prioritize work life balance more than men and are less willing (on average) to work insane, soul-crushing hours.

When will we get a study that shows the breakdown of partners between men and women who have worked continuously as full time attorneys since graduation from law school? I would imagine the numbers are pretty close for the last generation of lawyers. The diversity mania at firms is in overdrive, any remotely qualified woman or minority is fast-tracked.

Posted by: Todd | Jul 25, 2017 7:27:54 AM

Boy it sounds like women have really internalized misogyny by having preferences other than dying at you desk for worthless clients at a souless law firm. What could they be thinking?

It's amazing to watch these deep, supposedly enlightened progressives essentially argue for the worst kind of reductionist "humans as economic units".

Posted by: Bobby | Jul 25, 2017 6:42:04 AM

Start their own law firms? No, better to whine, complain and blame men. Starting your own firm and making it successful would take too much work. Loudly claim that a 50.3% graduation rate means 50.3% of equity partners should be women—independent of talent and a willingness to work long hours as well as pander to temperamental clients.

One advantage of not being a lawyer is not having to deal with this nonsense.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Jul 25, 2017 5:14:53 AM