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A Book Review on a Great Find: “View from the Top: Q&A with Legal Women Leaders”

I was in the firm's library the other day looking for a securities law practice guide when my eyes were drawn to the following title: View from the Top: Q&A with Legal Women Leaders.  It is a book in the Vault Career Library and just happened to be on the shelf across the aisle from the corporate securities collection.

What a lucky find!  This book was published in 2007, so it is current and relevant.  It consists of interviews with over 100 women at the top of the legal profession, leaders at law firms and as general counsel at companies and nonprofits.  I have not yet read through all of the interviews which are presented in a uniform format of the following eight questions:

  • What advice would you give a young woman considering a career in the law today?
  • Have you personally experienced any advantages or disadvantages in the legal industry because of your gender?
  • What kind of steps have law firms and other legal employers taken in the last few years to create a better working environment for women? What else do you think needs to happen in this area?
  • What sort of structures need to be in place to increase the number of women law leaders at the top law firms and in corporate counsel capacities?
  • What impact has a career in law had on your personal and family life? Do you have any special techniques, methods and philosphies to help you maintain a work/life balance and be a successful lawyer?
  • Has it gotten easier for you to balance everything as your children have gotten older?
  • What other careers and life choices did you consider before deciding on a career in the law? If you were not practicing law and you could not be a lawyer, what would your dream career be now?
  • How do you expect the practice of law will change in the next ten years?

Sure, these questions are focused on private practice and on career questions. Hey, it is published by Vault, afterall.  However, it is interesting to see the other questions that worked their way in, ones about life balance and the future of the profession.  Also, some interviewees were more candid than others, but each one of the interviews that I've read has been interesting nevertheless.

Conclusion:

"On the whole, the legal women leaders Vault spoke to were very happy in their careers, believing that their profession was both intellectually and personally satisfying, and sufficiently flexible to accommodate work ambitions as well as a rich home life.  ... Overwhelmingly, these women said that they had found their "dream jobs" and would fully encourage future lawyers to aim to become legal leaders themselves."

I recommend checking it out at your library or stopping by the career services office to read through some of it.  I have found it, so far, to be really impressive.

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