Standing Out in a Male-Dominated Firm

Male-dominated firms are common, and perhaps that’s because women make up just 35% of the legal profession. In private practices, just 22.7% of women are partners and 19% are equity partners. Women judges are also underrepresented, with just 33% of Supreme Court Judges being women.

Salaries for women, compared to the salary of men, are also lower, and this figure dropped from 89.7% to 77.6% between 2015 and 2016.

Statistically, women are at a disadvantage in the legal field. It's essential that a woman stand out in a male-dominated firm to be able to demand higher compensation, have the chance at becoming a partner and to take hold of her career.

Quality is a Must

Women work harder to show that their work is on par with their peers at a law firm. If you want to stand out, you need to put quality above all else. Your rough draft for a case needs to be very high quality.

You want to make it a point that your attention to detail is exceptional.

And when considering quality, this may mean:

  • Skipping a social outing
  • Working on the weekend to not miss an outing

When in doubt, you can always ask a colleague or trusted friend to look over your draft before handing it in. It's these small details that will make a world of difference when trying to move up in a firm.

Work Hard, But Also Choose Interesting Assignments

A major issue with many lawyers trying to move up in the ranks is that they try and choose interesting topics and are not receptive to the assignments that they receive. You should be trying your best to find assignments that interest you.

We have all had topics that really pique our interest; assignments that we generally enjoy working on.

But these “golden” assignments may not come around often. You may want to follow the path of personal injury lawyers, but you may be asked to work on a corporate case. You need to do your best, work hard and show supervisors that you’re willing to do your utmost no matter the task assigned.

If you want to pursue a particular type of work, sit your supervisor down and talk to him or her. Explain your goals, but also demonstrate how you’re willing to work hard on any assignment, even if it isn't your area of interest.

Accept Offers Based on What You Experience

A firm needs to be a good match for you, and this may mean that the firm has a department that you prefer. It may also mean finding a firm that treats you the way you want to be treated.

It's important to work closely with first- and second-year associates to determine what they have experienced when working for a firm.

Ask the associates what their experience has been like at the firm.

If you ask associates questions and start paying attention to how the firm is ran and how your career can grow at the firm, you’ll be better able to decline offers from a firm that’s not a good fit and accept offers from a form that is a good fit for you.

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