tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  How to Increase Retention of Women

We know that women are underrepresented in senior ranks of law firms and across corporate America.  In Big Law, women make up 45% of incoming associates but only 16% of equity partners.  At our current rate, women will not make up 30% of equity partners until 2081.  We also know that women often take themselves out of the running for advancement.  In law firms, women quit at higher rates than men.  In tech, women are more than twice as likely to quit than men.   Firms and companies recognize the challenge of retaining talented women and have been investing in different strategies to increase retention rates.  If…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  A Book Review of Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions

“When your children and grandchildren ask you what you did in the war against racial and gender inequality, what will you say?” – a mentor A recent study by The American Lawyer revealed that at our current rate, female equity partners will not reach 30 percent until 2081, and without extraordinary new efforts, parity remains only a distant possibility.   Currently, women make up about 47% of graduating law school classes and 45% of incoming Big Law associates but only 16% of equity partners.  This means that men make up only 55% of incoming Big Law associates but almost 85% of…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Questions to Ask Speakers on Diversity Panels

“So he had said ‘always,’ so she would not have to be afraid of the change – the falling away of skin, the drip and slide of blood, and the exposure of bone underneath.  He had said ‘always’ to convince her, assure her, of permanency.” – Toni Morrison, Sula This past weekend, I sat through a series of diversity panels.  They featured leaders of law firm diversity efforts including partners, counsel, and managing partners.  The panels showcased the firms' and the individual leaders' commitment to diversity.  During the panels, I learned that supervisors judge work product of black associates more harshly and critically than work product…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Who Competes Against Us and What to Do About It?

Recent research reveals that we know who at work likes us, but not who competes against us.  One study surveyed sales associates at a car dealership, where the sales associates cooperated in bringing in customers and making handoffs when needed, but also competed against each other for sales.  Each salesperson was asked questions to measure their feelings of liking, e.g. “How much do you like each of your colleagues?”  Each salesperson was also asked questions to measure their feelings of competition, e.g. “How much do you see each of your colleagues as a rival?”  Finally, each salesperson was asked questions…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  What if Alienation is Not a Universal Feeling?

It was neither preaching nor praying that made a better person of me, but one or two people who believed in me better than I deserved, and I hated to disappoint them.  I recently went to a holiday party where two white male law firm partners were asking each other why we see so many female associates leave big law starting around their fifth year and what firms can do to keep them.  They were concerned that women leave for reasons beyond the firms’ control, such as appealing in-house positions or to devote more time to parenthood.  I told them…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  As Women, Should We Ask for Male Mentors?

Two weeks into being an associate at my big law firm, I was asked if I knew who I wanted my mentor to be.  Did I want a partner or an associate?  Did I want somebody in my practice group or not?  Did I want somebody of my own gender or race or not?  I debated these questions in my head.  I ended up requesting a mentor of the same gender and race as me.  But looking back, was that the wisest choice? If you google “how to pick the right mentor for young women lawyers,” you’ll find a few…

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tammyzhu

“He Said What?” A Panel on How to Combat Sexism and Gender Bias Against Women Litigators

This past Tuesday, I went to a panel discussing patterns of sexism and biases against women litigators and particularly young, women litigators.  As a petite woman who has been a litigation associate for just over one year, I was discouraged by these stories.  What do I have to prepare myself for if I want to stay in this line of work?  Getting verbally bullied and yelled at during meet and confer calls, getting comments such as “Don’t raise your voice at me.  It’s not becoming of a woman” during depositions, and getting used to my male counterparts jumping in to…

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tammyzhu

Why write for a law blog?

I write as a form of activism and because I love writing.  The recent election has taught me that many of our peers are willing to overlook disrespect and threats to women, people of color, and others who are different from themselves – in exchange for paying lower taxes or securing a better job for themselves and their families.  These peers include almost half of college graduate voters and more than a third of voters with graduate-level education:  these are well-educated people, some of whom probably follow law blogs of some sort or are in social circles with people who…

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tammyzhu

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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