Susan Smith Blakely

The Effect of a Greedy Profession on Women Lawyers

The greed will consume our profession.  I first called the law profession "greedy" in an article that I wrote for Corporate Counsel magazine in the Fall of 2016.  My comments at the time were part of a discussion about women lawyers "having it all" --- or not --- and the impact of the values of money, power and greed on the well-being of law practitioners.

Since that time, I have seen more commenters willing to call our profession what it is --- a well intentioned endeavor overcome by negative values.  This kind of candor is necessary if we are going to make any progress in changing the culture of our profession and of law firms, in particular.  Taking on the culture of money, power and greed is gaining more popularity as the millennial generation of lawyers is exhibiting radically different values than those of immediately prior generations of practitioners, and many non-millennials also are feeling more comfortable criticizing the status quo.

recent article in the New York Times centers on the theme that women did everything right in the workplace until the workplace changed the rules and got greedy.  In other words, as women rose within the ranks of big business, married men with similar educations and business commitments, and, as couples, started having children, the obsession with long hours widened the gender gap without targeting "gender" specifically.  The need to be "on call" at work at all times meant that someone had to be "on call" at home at all times.  It could not work any other way as technology increased and time zones blended and rendered dedicated employees reachable 24/7.  As a result, couples with equal potential in the workplace took on unequal roles.

Got your attention?  Read more in next week's blog.

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