Women in the law
By Bob Clary • April 11, 2016•Features, Guest Bloggers and Profiles of Women in the Law
What used to be essentially a male domain until the 1930’s is slowly but surely opening up to the fairer sex? In some countries it is faster than others. For example there are some sectors of the law which can be more open to women than others as Family law is a prime example. Some women who are in the throes of divorce and were the custody of children is in play may feel more comfortable with a female lawyer. This is evident in France where the divorce statistics are very high. Around 50 percent of first marriages and 75 percent of second marriages end up in the divorce courts. Curiously there are a very high proportion of single women law firms (avocats) in France. It would seem that men are better in getting together to form a medium or large sized law firm but women are not? In countries where there are much lower statistics for divorce the incidence of female lawyers is much smaller.
There are other areas where females are involved such as property and employment law. Business / Contract law is also an area that is drawing in more and more women. There are other areas where the percentage of women is very small such as criminal law and drinking and drug offences.
Most of European countries base their law on decrees after the Napoleonic system and consequently there are little or no Personal Injury and Medical Negligence claims. In other countries whose system is based around the tort process then Personal Injury and Medical Negligence claims are much more to the fore. Indeed in those countries where there are Personal Injury solicitors and Medical Negligence claims women are to be not only found but playing an ever increasing role in the process.
Certainly you will find more women in the law in countries where the social system is well developed. For example in Denmark and in Sweden there is a relatively high percentage of young women coming into the legal profession as those countries have developed policies to ensure that talented female law practitioners have the flexibility to raise families, care for aging parents, and devote time to personal needs as well as driving the law practice forward.
It is true that the percentages of women in the law are certainly not fifty fifty but one might expect that the percentage of women will equal the men in the next fifty years?
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