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The Role of Men

My friend Andrew considers himself an ally and is one of the very few men who regularly shows up at his company’s monthly women’s leadership group meetings.  He started going to these meetings after the group’s leader told him, “Of course you can come.  Come to all of them!”  At the meetings, Andrew wants to participate but is conflicted about speaking up because he is concerned that it might not be his place to speak at a women’s group meeting.  He wonders, What if my participation, or even my presence, silences certain conversations or makes some participants uncomfortable?  The other…

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“Locker Room Talk” Is Not Just Talk

As a former “big firm” attorney and the former General Counsel of a privately-held corporation, I built my career in a male-dominated world.  Like many women of my 40-something generation I’ve experienced my share of sexism, bias, and exclusion.  I got used to people assuming I was a secretary or paralegal just because I am female.  I’ve been called sweetheart, girl, little lady, and a variety of other demeaning terms.  I learned to ignore the occasional lewd joke or crass comment.  I cringed when my colleagues referred to a young female intern as “the body” rather than by her name. …

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Your Brain, Law School, and Law Practice:  Implicit Biases Come Out in the Open

Implicit bias is in the news and that is good news.  The recent publicity surrounding police shootings has brought that term into more conversations.  In this election season, candidates are even tossing the phrase into their debates. Let’s take a look at what it means and why it is especially important for law students and lawyers to understand it.  Here are some iconic pictures.  Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach (serving under President Kennedy) is confronting Governor George Wallace on the steps of the University of Alabama in 1963.  Wallace was refusing to allow the entry of African-American students, specifically Vivian Malone pictured here,…

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There Is Gender Equality in the Privacy Field…But Will it Last?

In recent ACC, IAPP, and VentureBeat articles, we explored the subject of gender parity and disparity in the privacy and security professions. There are stark differences in how the two intersecting professions treat women. According to data from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), the median salaries for privacy professionals are equal between men and women, and women are as likely as men to hold leadership positions in the field. In contrast, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2’s most recent Global Information Security Workforce Study reports that “women in the information security profession represent 10% of the workforce — a percentage that is unchanged…

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The Gen Why Lawyer: What and Why Young Lawyers Should Know About Cultural Competency

For this special post, I reached out to my friend, Aastha Madaan, Estate Planning and Business lawyer in Southern California. Aastha often speaks on the topic of cultural competency in the legal profession. I invited her to share her insights on this important subject for all new and young lawyers to be aware of. The Changing Face of Legal Services Delivery: Cultural Competency in the Practice of Law by Aastha Madaan Culture is like the air we breathe-it is largely invisible and yet we are dependent on it for our very being. Culture is the logic by which we give order to the…

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The laws of physics create order over the world, gravity limits the boundaries of our planet and daily human capacity. Society, in contravention of the laws of science, is inherently random and exhibits chaos. Where in this great cosmic mix does one find the rule of law? Some people become lawyers because they want to make money, others join the Bar because they seek power. Justice? On the first day of my law school classes Prof Sam Dash pronounced words to the effect of: if you are interested in fairness and justice there is a door in this room and…

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What Women in Other Industries Can Learn from Women in Privacy

In a business world plagued by gender disparity, careers in privacy are a welcome oasis of equality. “Women and men who are coming into the privacy profession can be confident that they'll find a modern and balanced workforce and that they'll be rewarded for their experience and expertise, not their chromosome count,” the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) proudly declares. Women seem to thrive in the privacy profession, a fast-growing technical and interdisciplinary field that incorporates technology, social issues, and public policy.  The most recent survey by IAPP shows that women are equally represented and compensated in the privacy field. First,…

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Craddock v. LeClair Ryan: Fighting the Good Fight for Equal Opportunity and Pay

Unfortunately, many female mid-level and senior associates feel they have little recourse to challenge the career advancement and pay disparity obstacles at law firms without ultimately sacrificing their professional reputations and opportunity to make a living within the legal community. In some instances they either leave Big Law for less lucrative opportunities or the practice of law altogether. However, Michelle Burke Craddock decided to double down and become one of the few women to expose her law firm’s discriminatory tactics in a court of law and the court of public opinion. Craddock v. LeClair Ryan, PC (2016) Ms. Craddock is…

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Like Cinderella, But Different

As a little girl I did not dress up in princess costumes.  I couldn’t imagine my future wedding.  I did not dream of the day my prince would come.  Instead I dreamt of court rooms, board rooms, and corner offices.  There would be no glass slippers in my future.   Unless, of course, the glass slippers were Louboutins that I purchased for myself.   I was raised by a Gloria Steinem-loving, unapologetic feminist mom.  Hers was not an enviable position.  She was a single mom raising three young girls in the 1970s – a time period in which NO ONE in our…

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Feminism and the Falsity of Choice (Lean In Group Discussion Session 2)

Our intergenerational group of women lawyers recently met to continue discussing Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, focusing on Chapters 1 and 2. We had an engaging discussion on many topics, including: How women can use power posing (citing Amy Cuddy’s research) and positioning in a room to empower themselves and others and to convey leadership. We also discussed gender (and sometimes generational) differences in taking up space, with men generally treating space and a seat at the table as entitlements and women often appearing hesitant to take up space and take the most powered seats at the table. We wondered if we…

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