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Peg

Does earning a biglaw salary mean that there is no room for my voice in the discussion on work/life balance?

I had the chance today to engage some law firm partners and others in a discussion about worklife balance. The focus of the discussion was whether or not law firm management should listen to the concerns of law students and young associates when determining business practices and trying to attract and retain women attorneys.A funny thing happened. The partners kept bringing the discussion back to the fact that I, and others like me, now earn(ed) $160,000 as first year associates at big law firms. When I said to one person that I wasn't talking about money and that I didn't…

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Elizabeth

Advice from the Author of “Ending the Gauntlet”

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly published an interesting interview with Lauren Stiller Rikleen, the author of Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women's Success in the Law. There's an interesting review of the book on Ms. JD here. To research her book, Rikleen, through interviews and research, identified many "misconceptions women have about work." The main misconception seems to be that women think "if they just come in, close their door, work hard and leave at the end of the day, that as long as they're doing good work, they will succeed." However, Rikleen maintains that success is about more than good…

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bethb

Book Review: Ending the Gauntlet

Compare the following two quotes:1- “I feel like I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my circumstances, but I almost regret that I’m in the position I’m in…. The burden of running a home and taking care of kids is on me, and the work is incredibly stressful. And once a month, I’m the one who is paying the bills and I could be earning more, but I’m not willing to do that. So I’m at the point where I’m considering walking away.But so many women associates in this office look to me as their role model, and I can’t tell you…

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jessie

Southern Ms. Part II: An Advantage of the Opt-Out Assumption?

It seems that some women in the Mid-South may be benefitting from the assmption that they will opt-out. A friend is interviewing for associate positions with BigLaw firms here. One veteran local lawyer gave her the following tidbit, which I found just fascinating: it's easier for a woman to get an associate's position in this market than a man, because the assumption is you'll work hard and devote yourself to the firm for five years or so and then leave to have children, i.e. you'll never be in competition for partnership. The legal market here is healthy but not huge…

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jessie

BigLaw Perks: Superficial or Fundamental?

A New York Times article detailing new perks designed to keep associates happy in BigLaw firms is making the rounds. These perks range from surprise treats likes milkshakes and candied apples to personal valet services, mental health professionals, and full-tiime in-house childcare. As someone who's never worked at a firm this all sounds pretty good-but what do I know? I can say this, the "principal" at the big Chicago firm that derided these measures saying, "that's setting up people's lives, and I find that appalling," strikes me as someone who has more help at home than your average female associate.…

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Peg

What does BigLaw Mean to Women?

There is an interesting story on the front page of the Washington Post today about a female 3L at Georgetown that is torn between taking a big firm job that could really help her pay off her debt or turning it down to try for a public interest fellowship that she really wants but that doesn't hire until March of next year.The story portrays this woman as really distraught by the idea of working for big law. She all but casts the position as a sell-out job for somebody like her that wants to change the world, help the little…

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Peg

NAWL’s National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, Part II

In a previous post, I talked about some of the results recently reported by NAWL for their annual national survey. For the first time, NAWL asked firms questions about the retention policies and efforts to retain women lawyers. The survey focused on three structural issues: large minimum hour requirements, poor part-time policies, and the existence (or not) of a women’s initiative within the firm. Minimum Hour Requirements: The survey focused on this issue because of the idea that high billable hour requirements “have a disproportionate impact on women attorneys because of the tensions between the time required for work and…

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Peg

NAWL’s National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, Part I

NAWL released the results of their survey two weeks ago, albeit to less fanfare that other less-involved reports. While those of us who are familiar with the topic may find that much of what the survey reports is old news, there were some things reported that were surprising to me. First, I was surprised to learn that the drop off in the number of women attorneys at firms happens between the senior associate level and the partner level. I was previously aware that women comprise somewhere between 45-50% of junior associates (actually 49% according to this survey) and somewhere around…

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jessie

Parallel Problems: Brain Drain at the NIH

The National Institute of Health, a primary public funder of American scientific research and the largest biomedical research facility in the U.S., recently released the results of a study of women's reasons for departing from their scientific careers. Like law schools, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral programs in the sciences are comprised of nearly equal numbers of men and women, but the upper eschelons of scientific academia continue to be imbalanced. The study found that family considerations are the major reason for the continued departure of women from these disciplines. The study cited a lack of self-confidence as the other major…

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KHernan881

Money Talks:  The free-market answer to more diversity in law firms

With all the talk about diversity being a good business practice for law firms, it is nice to finally see a client put some pressure on law firms to change. In the November issue of Corporate Counsel magazine there is a short story about General Motors and the demands it makes of its outside counsel to be more diverse. Earlier this year, [GM] became one of the first companies to link reduced billing rates to diversity goals. ...In the second quarter of this year, the law department began a pilot program that sets individual diversity goals for six of its…

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