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Judge Nancy Gertner

The revolution of falling expectations

In the 1960s, social critics spoke about the "revolution of rising expectations," describing the phenomenon in which succeeding generations of Americans expected to do better than their parents and the conflicts that resulted when they did not.If the latest issue of Working Mother magazine trumpeting the "50 Best Law Firms for Women" is any indication, we are now in the midst of "the revolution of falling expectations," which will have its own serious consequences.Working Mother -- in an altogether commendable effort to monitor the progress of women in the largest firms -- ranked them by various measures, including the percentage…

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sintecho

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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Anna

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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Peg

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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jessie

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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Peg

Mothers’ Rooms at Biglaw

There is a post at www.abovethelaw.com today (with a strange picture choice, I might add) about lactation rooms at law firms. The post is in the site's "fringe benefits" series which chronicles the perks of law firms. Every working mom seems to find at least one thing to not have to compromise on and for many that one things is breastfeeding.I continued to breastfeed my two kids after returning to work after maternity leave. With the first child, it went pretty well and I pumped for about two months. With the second, pumping lasted all of about two weeks. I…

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Peg

Job Sharing, Has anybody witnessed it?

Deborah Epstein Henry, of Flex-time Lawyers, has a thought provoking article in the July/August Issue of Diversity & the Bar entitled, "Stepping Into Your Shoes: It's Time for Job shares in Law Firms." You can find it at: http://www.flextimelawyers.com/pdf/art7.pdf (thanks to www.jdblissblog.com for the tip)The article is very straight-forward and it does a great job of describing the ins and outs of a job share arrangement for attorneys.I've witnessed a job share arrangement for legal assistants in the firm and it seems to work without complication. I've also witnessed enough "client teams" to know that more often than not there…

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Anna

The Firms Where You Are Most Likely to Make Partner

Working Mother Magazine didn't rank firms by how many of their partners are female, but I'll do it (using their data)! Of the fifty firms named "best for women" by WMM and Flex-Time Lawyers, which firms have the highest proportions of equity (profit-sharing) and nonequity partners? The standouts are Folger Levin & Kahn (San Francisco), Ice Miller (Indianapolis), Armstrong Teasdale (St. Louis), and Katten Muchin Rosenman (Chicago). [More after the jump]It seems noteworthy that none of these firms is headquartered on the East Coast, even though most of the firms in the WMM list are. The firm that leaps out…

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Anna

The 50 Best Law Firms for Women

Click here to go straight to the list.Flex-Time Lawyers and Working Mother Magazine have just released a ranking of "The 50 Best Law Firms for Women." It is the September cover story of WMM. You can download PDFs of the press release and two articles at Debbie Henry's website: Young, Gifted and Leaving, and Making Partner. I wanted to get this news item posted for y'all ASAP, so I will be back to post some more when I have read through the methodology. Meanwhile, I have a couple of comments based on what Debbie has told me in the past…

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Anonymous

My Dream Firm

Daydreams of the perfect firm--from a public interest lawyer who found existing firms too flawed to join.Being a woman entering the legal profession is something that I think about often, although as a young girl growing up, it is a topic I never imagined I would have to consider. Growing up in the 1980s, girls were empowered to try to both outsmart and outrun boys as we played on their sports teams and competed against them in academic competitions. We watched our mothers or our friends' mothers work. We were groomed to go to college before we settled down to…

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