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Not All Lawyers are Equal: Difficulties that Plague Women Lawyers and Women of Color

Theresa M. Beiner

Stefancic and Delgado lay blame for the current dissatisfaction with the practice of law in formalism, the predominant jurisprudential theory in which lawyers currently are trained and use in practice. ... What role does formalism play in this? Formalism "in legal practice ... appears in the form of narrow specialization, hierarchical organization of the law firm, the relentless pursuit of billable hours, and elephantine briefs addressing every conceivable eventuality and line of authority. ... As the studies discussed below indicate, women and women of color believe that their career opportunities are limited because they are more likely to receive "grunt work" assignments. ... One telling statistic: 72% of women of color and white women answered yes to the question of whether others questioned their career commitment when the gave birth or adopted a child. ... " Some recounted that women in their firm waited until making partner to have children and that others never married. ... However, the Noonan and Corcoran study of University of Michigan Law School graduates found that women who remained at least four years at firms were less likely to make partner than men, even controlling for "GPA, race, years practiced law, months part-time, months nonwork, marital status, number of kids, mentorship, and satisfaction. ... I will begin my suggestion for reform in an unlikely place.
  • Print Location 58 Syracuse L. Rev. 317

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