Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Are Women Leaving Big Law Because Of COVID-19?

Vivia Chen (, Are Women Leaving Big Law Because of COVID?:

[W]omen aren’t just stuck on the work front—they’re expected to fall further behind. A lot further behind. That’s from McKinsey/LeanIn 2020 Report on Women in the Workplace.

The reason is COVID, COVID, COVID. According to the report, women are at serious risk for burnout, working double shifts as they juggle work and family demands like never before. ...

The report puts the bad news another way: “The COVID-19 crisis could set women back by half a decade,” resulting in “far fewer women in leadership—and far fewer women on track to be future leaders. All the progress we’ve seen over the past six years could be erased.” ...

As we know, that progress has been hard-fought and slow for women in Big Law. It’s only in the last year or so that women finally hit the 20% equity partnership mark, even though women have constituted about 50% of students at top law schools for three decades. (Interestingly, the growth of female equity partners parallels that of senior women in corporate America. The study finds that female representation in the C-suite grew from 17% to 21% from 2015 to 2020.)

McKinsey 4

So what happens if a quarter of women in law firms start dropping out or put themselves out of the partnership track? Do we go back to that 15-16% equity quagmire where women were stuck forever?

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