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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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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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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Ten Family-Friendly Firms (new ranking by law students)

The women's student group at my school has just release its second annual ranking of "the top ten family-friendly firms." I did not have any part in preparing these rankings... just passing them along. The press release is here. According to Yale Law Women and co-sponsoring women's law groups at Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, Boalt, Northwestern, and Virginia, the top ten family-friendly firms of 2007 are... [More after the jump]Quarles & Brady (Phoenix)Proskauer Rose (New York) Akin Gump Strauss Hauer (Washington, DC) Jenner & Block (Washington, DC) Mayer Brown (Chicago)Covington & Burling (Washington, DC) Arnold & Porter (Washington, DC) DLA…

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Part Time at a Firm: Opportunity or Curse?

I’ve always wondered about Biglaw attorneys who are on a part-time schedule. This is partly because I try to be realistic about the future and wonder whether this will be something I will resort to once a few full time 2000+ billable years break down my cheery disposition towards Biglaw practice. Also it is partly because I wonder just how it happens. In my mind, I can’t imagine how the arrangement begins. I frankly cannot see myself asking anybody at the firm about the option because of an assumption that I’ve concocted in my head that as soon as I…

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Whitney Hill

Mentoring—> Sisterhood—> Supreme Court?

I cannot help but wish that three or four more women were sitting on the US Supreme Court. This will happen. A clutch of women Supreme Court Justices would be very visible role models, but until then we can celebrate the women lawyers who are federal judges, state supreme court judges, civil rights lawyers, politicians, and partners in law firms. I think that the power and influence of positive role models cannot be understated. In that vein, a woman in the legal profession needs a mentor to give wisdom in the form of cautionary tales, guidance and advice. Role models…

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Don’t Listen to Career Services!

When I visited my Career Services office last year, the counselor asked me, "What are your priorities in this job search?" My answer was serious, yet it got a laugh: "To be home by dinner," I replied. The legal profession is a funny thing. I entered law school to learn how I could always challenge myself while helping those marginalized by what I see as an increasingly polarizing society that marginalizes people based on their skin color, gender, sexuality, and zip code. I discovered very early on that obtaining the tools to do so would be easy; putting those tools…

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Skirts vs. Slacks: I’m not rooting for slacks. I’m rooting for the issue to just go away.

Skirt suits or pants suits--which are more professional? This was the topic of conversation around the dinner table of a group of female classmates one evening, where a surprising majority insisted that for women, a skirt suit was the most professional attire for a female lawyer. As self-proclaimed feminists, their reasoning was that women who don't wear skirt suits are uncomfortable with their femininity. And while I may not necessarily agree with their views, I do recognize the basic message the conversation was meant to encapsulate: that the very visibility of our gender unfailingly garners attention, regardless of whether we…

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Southern Ms.

Until now I’ve lived in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. So when I moved to Memphis last month I was expecting culture shock. It has been shocking . . . but for the most part, it’s been shockingly nice. Seriously, to a person who has never been exposed to it before, true southern hospitality is unimaginable. So what else have I discovered besides the kindness of random strangers? I had plans for a series on shocking exposes of backwardness, but so far I have only curiosities to report:This week I learned that the biggest, fanciest firm in Memphis…

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