Peg

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

Every year, I write a post about the annual NAWL Survey.  This year's report is here. As always, I highly recommend reading the entire report. NAWL does an excellent job collecting the data and the findings of this report should be understood by every person that is trying to improve the success of women in law firms.  This is a great service that NAWL provides each year.Interestingly, this is the first year since the survey started in 2006 that the numbers of women in big law firms has dropped, even in the associate ranks.The percentage of equity partners that are women is…

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Peg

Relationships—Post #2 of Perhaps Many

I'm back for a little more unsolicited relationship management advice.  Today's topic: building internal relationships at your law firm or office. Hopefully you've all heard the advice about the importance of building internal relationships.  Perhaps its been of the sort that says that associates have internal firm clients as well as external clients.  It's the internal clients, e.g. partners, that give you work.  In the earlier years of your practice all of your work comes from these internal clients.  You need to be the type of associate that does great work, efficiently and also the kind of associate that solves problems…

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Peg

Relationships—Post #1 of perhaps many

I'm a business lawyer.  I'm in the relationship business.  I think that this is the biggest aspect of firm practice that is lost on many people, especially people that end up finding their way out of law firm practice relatively early.  While I'm still considering whether I can write a series of posts on this topic, I do have one bone to pick today so I'll share a little unsolicited advice on relationship management.To be successful in a law firm, you have to be VERY good at managing relationships.  In fact, I have to think this is true in every sort of practice…

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Peg

40 hours is part time?

The Huffington Post had an article last week about a Center for American Progress report that shows that Americans are working longer hours than ever.  The article makes the claim that in professions, such as law, 40 hours is considered to be part time and asks, "When did that happen?"  For those in law firms or even in solo practice, this will come as no shock.  When full time equals 80+ hours a week it figures that part-time equals 40 hours.  However, I think that this may  be surprising news for law students or those considering law school. On top of…

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Peg

The Great Mentor Myth

The idea of mentoring and the association with the success of women in the legal profession is of great interest to me.  When I was a summer associate at my firm, I was assigned one.  When I started full-time, I was assigned another.  I am an assigned mentor to a second year associate at the firm now.  I am also the assigned mentor to a law student and recent graduate through my local women's bar association.  I've been to panel discussions on the topic in numerous settings.  I am an active reader of Ms. JD, which I consider to be…

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Peg

Mistakes that New BigLaw Lawyers Make

There is an article in the November issue of "the Young Lawyer" (a publication of the ABA for members of the Young Lawyers Division) entitled: "Top 5 Mistakes that Young Lawyers Make."  This article is really focused on solo or small firm trial lawyers so I thought I'd add my two cents on the topic but with an angle towards big law firm attorneys.#1:  Gossip.  I have seen too many new associates get caught up in the intra-office gossip machine.  Some fall victim to the more senior associates that are caught up in it and some join the fun with the…

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Peg

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

Every year, I write a blog post on Ms. JD about NAWL's Annual Survey.  So, 2010 is no different.  This year's report is available here.This year, I'd like to talk about 2 things: 1) Working part-time and layoffs and 2) Partnership structure and the impact on women lawyers in big law firms.First, however, here are a few stats from the report (which surveys the largest 200 firms in the US):10% = the % the nation's largest firms that have no woman on the management committee15% = the % of equity partners (only!) at these law firms that are women --…

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Peg

Ambition Looks Lonely (at least from my BigLaw window)

As a follow-up to this post, I have to report that another terrific female attorney left my firm voluntarily last week.  A few women have left between the first post and this but none truly voluntarily (at least as far as I can tell) until now.  This one hurts more than the last but for different reasons.  When I wrote the first post, I was convinced that the woman that was leaving was abandoning the promise of BigLaw partnership for life balance.  While I understood how that was the right choice for her, I had a harder time accepting that it…

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Peg

Do we have a pipeline problem?

After I posted yesterday about the NAWL survey, I couldn't sleep. Despite what I suggested in my original post, I am concerned about the findings, actually deeply concerned (well, except about the rainmaking finding). That concern leads me to this question: Do we have a pipeline problem? One of the main premises upon which the NAWL report is based is that for more than two decades women have graduated from law schools and started careers in private practice at about the same rate as men. Yet, we still haven't achieved anywhere close to parity with men at the tops of…

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Peg

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

Every year, I write a blog post on Ms. JD about NAWL's Annual Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms. So, 2009 is no different. However, my enthusiasm for the topic is different this year. The report is available here. This year I guess I just don't have much to say. Sure the numbers are just about the same as last year. Women make up less than 16% of equity partners in the country's largest law firms. Women partners make less than their male counterparts (this year it is $66K less, on average). However, this year…

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