Nora Farah

Two Kinds of Law Students: High-Roller Helens and Justice Janets

I am convinced that there are only two categories of law students on the first day of student orientation: the High-Roller Helens and Justice Janets. Helens have a million reasons why they want to be attorneys, all of which they accept in the form of cash, credit, or check. Helens are competitive and sneer at the prospect of being anything less than a corporate defense attorney, making the "big-bucks." Helens practically cannot have children, but they typically have all the toys they desire. Janets, on the other hand, want to become lawyers so that they may fight for truth, justice,…

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Tiffany Crane

Sometimes life interferes with being the perfect law student. What happens after that?

I walked in, confidently shook Mr. Partner's hand and sat down. He politely tossed my resume aside and said, "What advice can I give you about interviewing with a smaller firm? My firm would never consider you."Loyola University New Orleans has a strong contingent of women lawyers working in Career Services who are particularly attuned to the issues facing female law students as we search for employment opportunities. This was something that I took for granted until my second year of law school when I began to see some of the statistics brought to life in my own quest to…

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jessie

Opt-Out Continued

Remember Lisa Belkin of "Opt-Out Revolution" fame? Well now Ms. Belkin has published another piece on "stalling" career women. This time the focus is on small business owners. According to the Center for Women's Business Research, of the 10.4 million business owned by women, only 3% have an annual revenue exceeding $1 million. Belkin's article profiles a number of microenterprise groups trying to increase that number. To be fair, Belkin does include the view of Marsha Firestone, founder of the Women Presidents' Organization, who finds the term and idea of "stalled" career women is "a little insulting." I think this…

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sintecho

Impossible Expectations Apparently Doom Women to Unhappiness

As lawyers, we are already 3.6 times more likely to suffer from a major depressive disorder than non-lawyers with similar socio-demographic traits. As women, it now appears we are more likely to be unhappy due to our membership in that demographic as well. Recent research findings suggest that women, who reported being happier than men in the 1970s, are now less happy than men. Two research papers by Alan Krueger and Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have sparked a flurry of speculative articles (mostly by men) on the disparity. Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame had 4 hypotheses for the gap:1.…

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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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rpontikes

Are these really the 50 best firms for women?

Judge Nancy Gertner of the District of Massachusetts submitted the below Op Ed to Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly (www.masslawyersweekly.com) commenting on the Working Mother 50 best law firms for women. She highlights that the word "honor" has to be put into the correct context since many of the firms in Boston on the list have lower than averagae women as equity partners.She calls the Working Mother survey a part of a revolution of "falling expectations". She questions the reason so few women are at the upper echelons of private law firms and demands that we be asking those questions of the…

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Elizabeth

Shifting Expectations: Women Less Inclined to Pursue Legal Careers

Leigh Jones has an article entitled Fewer Women Are Seeking Law Degrees in the National Law Journal this week. She cites statistics that since 2002 the percentage of women attending law school has declined every year from 49% in 2002 to 46.9% this year. Of course, the total number of applicants to law school has also declined in the past two years with female applicants for 2006 falling by 7.7% and male applicants by 6.7% (Jones has an interesting graph illustrating this phenomenon in her article). At least partly due to the drop in female applicants, the number of women…

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sintecho

Work-Life Balance Isn’t a Woman’s Issue (or an American one)

A recent article by Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze highlighted work-life balance issues faced by Canadian firm lawyers. Debbie, with abrupt words and “language laden with cursing” alerts the interviewer that she will be working all night and that he can quote her that sometimes she hates her job. Canadian firm lawyers, it seems, are not so different from their southern counterparts (though the first-year associate standard is only 1,700 billable hours, which is modest when you look at 2,000+ hours that many big-city U.S. attorneys routinely bill). Also familiar is Debbie’s concern that she has “a lack of control over her personal…

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Heather Aquino

... and they all look just the same.

A few weeks ago I attended the Vault Diversity Job Fair in New York City. This job fair was unique because it offered attendance to both minorities and to women. A large amount of law students were in attendance, and I had the opportunity to make observations about the crowd that had turned out for the event. One thing that I could not help but notice was how few individuals seemed to fit into both categories of students that were invited to the event. I couldn’t help but notice the lack of minority women at the event. After the event…

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sintecho

Are you willing to bring home the dough while your husband/partner bakes it?

Editor's Note: As part of Ms. JD's 5th Birthday celebration, we'll be looking back at our favorite posts over the years.The New York Times had an interesting article this week about the "hostility" and difficulty many professional women now face "trying to figure out how to balance pride in their accomplishments against their perceived need to bolster the egos of the men they date." Since most firm lawyers start out with three-figure salaries, this phenomenon, assuming you buy it, would likley affect many single women lawyers trying to have a dating life in whatever time they can get away from…

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