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Is Tattling On Yourself Admirable or Stupid?

The other day, I made a mistake at work. It was the kind of mistake that my boss may or may not have ever noticed, the kind of mistake that doesn't have far-reaching consequences but is nonetheless wrong. Also important to note is that this was the kind of mistake that was already out there, and there was nothing anyone could do to change it or somehow make it less of an error. When I realized I'd made the mistake, I decided to email my boss right away and tell him what I'd done. He wrote back and acknowledged that…

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Girls Being Girls: A Lot Less Steamy Than Boys Being Boys

Julia Baird's article, Girls Will Be Girls. Or Not. Why aren't more powerful public women caught up in sex scandals?, explores an interesting side of the gender power imbalance: why "are so few women in politics embroiled in tabloid tales?" There are few obvious female counterparts to the Eliot Spitzers and Jim McGreeveys (aka "Luv Guvs") of the political world. Of the "handful of minor scandals involving women in public office in America," the majority arise from "love affairs, not casual—or commercial—liaisons." The lack of "indiscretion" by female politicians leads to a call for more women to be elected to…

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Is Long Hair Unprofessional?

I'm not alone in wondering whether chopping your hair off is a prerequisite for a woman's success. From politicians like Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Dole, and Nancy Pelosi to well-known litigators like Jamie Gorelich, Sheila Birnbaum, Amy Schulman, and Maureen Mahoney, short hair is the status quo. Does it have to be that way? I like my long hair. I've always received compliments on it; I like having the option to curl it or straighten it or put it up; and, I admit it, my long hair makes me feel feminine and attractive. But, is it holding me back?Susan Ehrlich Martin…

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Does Sexism Still Exist?

The word on the street seems to be that if you think you're the victim of sexism, you are either paranoid or looking for excuses for a non-gender-related failing. I myself am guilty of blaming sexism--when I blogged about a male colleague who changed one of my recommendations at work behind my back, I bitterly recounted the story to friends with the added conclusion: "he never would have done that if I were a male colleague." But, maybe he would have. How can I really be sure? Likewise, Jessie posted on a new law review article that indicates how little…

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sintecho

The Green Monster: When Your Significant Other Is a Lawyer

The Washington Post has an interesting article on social psychologist Abraham Tesser's research on "how close friends and intimate partners who are engaged in similar work or activities compare themselves with one another." I can't even count all the couples I knew from law school who met in Torts, dated through Fed Courts, and were married (or engaged) by commencement. Now out in the working world, I see a rather significant number of married or engaged couples who met on the job, which makes sense given how much lawyers work--meeting other lawyers is easier than meeting a non-lawyer, and meeting…

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Do Solo Practice Women Lawyers Charge Less Than Their Male Counterparts?

In December of 2007, ALM Research released the results of its survey of 5,000 lawyers working in small and midsize firms and solo practices. The respondents were 78% male and 22% female, which could mean that fewer women work in smaller firms and solo practice; or that women were less inclined to participate; or that fewer women are "leader, manager, partner, shareholder, or owner" of these firms, since ALM reports that these were the majority of the people answering the survey. The survey itself costs $550 to access, but Business Wire reports on its troubling findings on gender: women lawyers…

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Is there an issue with calling yourself an “esquire”?

Are you, like me a few days ago, unaware of the debate raging on the proper use of the title Esquire? Among the issues: can you call yourself Esquire? can you use the title outside of a legal context? can the title even apply to women? My journey into these (mostly boring questions) started when I found this conversation on Google answers about potential issues with women lawyers putting "Esquire" after their names, with the question being whether there was something inherently male about the term. The Illinois Bar Association has a Q&A by Gertrude Block explaining that Esquire was…

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Would people respond better to what you say if you were a man?

In an article on women's leadership styles, Nicholas Kristof references research that "women, compared with men, tend to excel in consensus-building and certain other skills useful in leadership." In explaining why women have not had more success in achieving positions in government despite these strengths, Kristof hypothesizes that "in the televsion age, female leaders also have to navigate public prejudices." These "prejudices", as it turns out, are of the sort that affect women lawyers as well. Kristof cites the "Goldberg paradigm," an attribution arising out of a study in which people read an article or speech with one group of…

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Advice for Passing the Bar Exam

Ed. Note: This summer, back by popular demand, Ms. JD is pleased to feature a series of posts on bar exam prep.  The series will include some of our most highly-read articles from past years, as well as new content for all those taking on the bar exam challenge.  Good luck!  I know the [July] bar is fast approaching, so I thought I’d share the preparation advice I jotted down for my younger law school friends after taking the New York bar [...]. I wrote this when it was still fresh in my head (and before I knew that I passed), and I…

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Is there such a thing as professional anger for women?

I was intrigued by the series of comments about showing emotion as a female lawyer in a professional context. I was especially struck by the posts that talked about how crying was the response that came through when what the women really felt was anger. One woman wrote that when she “lost [her] fear and embarrassment about [her] own anger, [she] was able to take a deep breath, speak slowly and clearly, and maintain [her] composure” rather than responding with tears to certain situations. Another woman commented about an occasion where she had cried in front of a partner: “I…

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