ktran227

Pay and Power Disparities and the Retention of Female Lawyers

Women lawyers leaving big or established firms are not always leaving law firm life.  Many are leaving to start solo or small law firms.  The reason may come down to the numbers.  According to the December 2018 report by Major Lindsey & Africa, male partners earn 53 percent more than female partners at top U.S. law firms. The reasons for this disparity include originations and billing rate discrepancies.  Add to that the issue that the amount of originations is often a key factor in making equity partner versus non-equity partner at many law firms.  Equity partnership means more voting power and…

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ktran227

The Limiting Effect of Biology on a Legal Career

In private practice a lawyer’s reputation is built on the number of times they have done something: the number of times they have gone to trial, successfully settled a case, argued in a specific court, or argued before a certain judge.  Getting as many opportunities as you can early in your career shapes the opportunities and the clients you will have in your later years.  But for some female lawyers, this requirement does not coincide well with their own biology – the choice to have children and to prioritize the needs of their family.  While this is not true for all,…

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ktran227

The Double Glass Ceiling: A barrier to female and minority retention

One reason for the inability of law firms to keep their female and minority lawyers may come down to two words: business development.  Or more accurately, business generation and the lack thereof.  I met a female in house counsel at a conference last fall.  She had gone in house after 8 years in a law firm.  I asked her what made her go in house and her answer was that she had been practicing in a very niche practice at her firm that wasn’t easy for her to develop her own business.  I asked other female in house counsel at the…

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ktran227

Chicken or the Egg: The issue of retention starts with perspective.

Why can't we retain our female and minority lawyers?  Last month I told you I would share my story first.  The story of why I choose to stay, when a disproportionate number of lawyers like me choose to leave the traditional practice of law.  I am a female minority lawyer practicing in BigLaw.  I have been in practice for 12 years.  I started in a smaller firm and made my way steadily through bigger more established firms.  In my city, there are few lawyers like me practicing in the larger law firms.  There are plenty, however, that opened up their…

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ktran227

Chicken or the Egg: Why Can’t We Retain Our Female and Minority Lawyers?

I went to a conference recently and sat at a table with a group of male partners, and the topic of our conversation turned to this question.  They lamented the loss of diverse talent in their firms, and they simply could not understand why.  Their firms have internal networks for female and/or minority lawyers. They host diversity workshops. Some of them even have an in-house diversity and inclusion specialist.  They told me they personally assign female and minority lawyers in their offices to their cases and actively mentor and sponsor them when they can. They sounded genuine. They sounded like…

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ktran227

Career Advice for the Long Road: Build Relationships

The number one piece of career advice I have received is that being a successful lawyer means you need to prioritize the building and cultivating of relationships – relationships with colleagues, with clients, and with the community.  The relationships you make both in and outside of the practice of law are what sustain you for the long road.  Early in your career, forging relationships of trust with partners and other colleagues based on your work ethic and work product is what will provide you with a steady stream of billable hours within your firm.  Those relationships lead the way to…

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