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Peg

What does BigLaw Mean to Women?

There is an interesting story on the front page of the Washington Post today about a female 3L at Georgetown that is torn between taking a big firm job that could really help her pay off her debt or turning it down to try for a public interest fellowship that she really wants but that doesn't hire until March of next year.The story portrays this woman as really distraught by the idea of working for big law. She all but casts the position as a sell-out job for somebody like her that wants to change the world, help the little…

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Peg

NAWL’s National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, Part II

In a previous post, I talked about some of the results recently reported by NAWL for their annual national survey. For the first time, NAWL asked firms questions about the retention policies and efforts to retain women lawyers. The survey focused on three structural issues: large minimum hour requirements, poor part-time policies, and the existence (or not) of a women’s initiative within the firm. Minimum Hour Requirements: The survey focused on this issue because of the idea that high billable hour requirements “have a disproportionate impact on women attorneys because of the tensions between the time required for work and…

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Peg

NAWL’s National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, Part I

NAWL released the results of their survey two weeks ago, albeit to less fanfare that other less-involved reports. While those of us who are familiar with the topic may find that much of what the survey reports is old news, there were some things reported that were surprising to me. First, I was surprised to learn that the drop off in the number of women attorneys at firms happens between the senior associate level and the partner level. I was previously aware that women comprise somewhere between 45-50% of junior associates (actually 49% according to this survey) and somewhere around…

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jessie

Parallel Problems: Brain Drain at the NIH

The National Institute of Health, a primary public funder of American scientific research and the largest biomedical research facility in the U.S., recently released the results of a study of women's reasons for departing from their scientific careers. Like law schools, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral programs in the sciences are comprised of nearly equal numbers of men and women, but the upper eschelons of scientific academia continue to be imbalanced. The study found that family considerations are the major reason for the continued departure of women from these disciplines. The study cited a lack of self-confidence as the other major…

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KHernan881

Money Talks:  The free-market answer to more diversity in law firms

With all the talk about diversity being a good business practice for law firms, it is nice to finally see a client put some pressure on law firms to change. In the November issue of Corporate Counsel magazine there is a short story about General Motors and the demands it makes of its outside counsel to be more diverse. Earlier this year, [GM] became one of the first companies to link reduced billing rates to diversity goals. ...In the second quarter of this year, the law department began a pilot program that sets individual diversity goals for six of its…

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bethb

Call for Stories about Mentors

Call for Stories about Mentors Posted October 18th, 2007 by bethb I am currently writing a law review comment on the status of women at big law firms. I am particularly interested in the purported lack of effective mentoring for female associates at large firms. This is where you come in... I am asking women who are working/have worked/know women who have worked at large firms to share stories with me about the role mentors have played in their work life. I will not ask for names of firms or the women's names, even (if anonymity is a concern). I…

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Peg

I’m a Corporate Lawyer – Get on with your happy-judging self!

Okay, so, in no particular order, I’m a (30-something caucasion) woman, I’m a (working) mother of two, I’m a (married-only-once-heterosexual) wife, I’m a (Fiscal) Conservative, and I’m a corporate (BigLaw) lawyer. Why am I subject to so much judging?See the related posts and comments here, here, here, and here about the judging that goes on among women. It is no secret that I am not a fan of the “mommy wars”. Likewise, I am also not a fan of the explicit and implicit judging that goes on between the public-interest lawyers (or lawyers-to-be) and those of us that work for…

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jessie

NYC Event: Working Mothers-Who’s Opting Out?

WORKING MOTHERS: WHO'S OPTING OUT?Tuesday, October 16, 7 p.m., $8 admissionThe New School, New York CityWollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor (enter at 66 West 12th Street) You've read the articles--and gotten angry at the debate. Are vast numbers of working mothers bolting the career track--or dreaming of doing so? Are elite women betraying feminism by staying home with their children? Or do the Opt-Out stories rely too heavily on anecdotal evidence--while shoving aside actual labor statistics and working families' needs? JOIN US as some of the KEY THINKERS and CRITICS of the "opt-out" storyline DISCUSS & DEBATE…

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jessie

Office Romance: No Longer so Hush Hush?

A recent article in the New York Times about office relationships indicates they are becoming more acceptable to upper management. This reminded me of a warning I received as a summer law clerk: don't date another associate-it will be held against you. At the time, the advice was given to me in the context of the many ways in which women are held to double standards in big firms: men are not penalized for "hooking up" with the cute summer, but those cute summers are. I never ended up at a big firm and I never dated anyone in my…

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Judge Nancy Gertner

The revolution of falling expectations

In the 1960s, social critics spoke about the "revolution of rising expectations," describing the phenomenon in which succeeding generations of Americans expected to do better than their parents and the conflicts that resulted when they did not.If the latest issue of Working Mother magazine trumpeting the "50 Best Law Firms for Women" is any indication, we are now in the midst of "the revolution of falling expectations," which will have its own serious consequences.Working Mother -- in an altogether commendable effort to monitor the progress of women in the largest firms -- ranked them by various measures, including the percentage…

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