tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  When Will Law Firms Drop the “Primary Caregiver” Distinction?

In April 2015, Johnson & Johnson announced that to better support “the modern-day family,” all new parents – regardless of primary caregiver status – would get eight weeks of paid parental leave.  Birth mothers would receive an additional nine weeks of paid disability leave.  A few months later, Netflix and Microsoft also rolled out parental leave programs that did not distinguish between “primary” and “secondary” caregivers.  Netflix parents would get unlimited paid leave in the first year of their child’s birth or adoption.  Microsoft parents would get twelve weeks of paid parental leave, in addition to eight weeks of paid…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Where Are Diversity Initiatives Headed (or Should Be Headed)?

The release of McKinsey and LeanIn.Org’s Women in the Workplace 2017 report marks my one year anniversary blogging on Ms. JD.  When I started writing about gender disparities a year ago, McKinsey and LeanIn.Org’s Women in the Workplace 2016 report informed, shaped, and inspired my first articles.  Since then, I’ve cited it many times and held it close by.  It may be the only document on my desk that I’ve not recycled since last October.  Now, a year later, it feels as if it’s time to switch out the year-old bible on my desk with the new report.  What’s changed? …

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  “Locking Up Our Own”

Join the Conversation:  “Locking Up Our Own”  In a fascinating and heart-wrenching read about the struggles and political decisions within the black community that contributed to today’s mass incarceration of black people, James Forman, Jr. sets out to understand why in courtrooms full of black judges, black prosecutors, black bailiffs, and black cops are black people being punished so harshly?  Today, 2.2 million Americans are behind prison bars.  Black Americans are held in state prisons at five times the rate of white Americans.  Black men receive 10% more prison time than white men for the same offense and criminal history.  Black men are twice more likely than white…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Benefit of the Doubt

We all make mistakes.  On a recent team I managed, everybody made mistakes – from the contract document reviewers, to the eDiscovery vendor, to the associates.  Yet some people’s mistakes will become easily forgotten while others will become remembered for their mistakes.  What determines whose mistakes get forgotten and whose get remembered?  Could it be our race, ethnicity, and gender?  I will argue that in our workplace and our community, the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t depends heavily on the way that others treat or react to our mistakes.  I will argue that it is not…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation: What For?

“To what purpose?  This was why they started us here [at the tennis academy] so young:  to give ourselves away before the age when the questions why and to what grow real beaks and claws.” – David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest I realize that my posts to date have largely focused on how to increase retention and success of women and racial minorities in high-powered, male-dominated institutions where it takes mentors and sponsors in order to rise up the ranks.  Sometimes these articles make me feel that I should try to stay and make it, that my success is tied…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  How to Increase Retention of Women

We know that women are underrepresented in senior ranks of law firms and across corporate America.  In Big Law, women make up 45% of incoming associates but only 16% of equity partners.  At our current rate, women will not make up 30% of equity partners until 2081.  We also know that women often take themselves out of the running for advancement.  In law firms, women quit at higher rates than men.  In tech, women are more than twice as likely to quit than men.   Firms and companies recognize the challenge of retaining talented women and have been investing in different strategies to increase retention rates.  If…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  A Book Review of Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions

“When your children and grandchildren ask you what you did in the war against racial and gender inequality, what will you say?” – a mentor A recent study by The American Lawyer revealed that at our current rate, female equity partners will not reach 30 percent until 2081, and without extraordinary new efforts, parity remains only a distant possibility.   Currently, women make up about 47% of graduating law school classes and 45% of incoming Big Law associates but only 16% of equity partners.  This means that men make up only 55% of incoming Big Law associates but almost 85% of…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Questions to Ask Speakers on Diversity Panels

“So he had said ‘always,’ so she would not have to be afraid of the change – the falling away of skin, the drip and slide of blood, and the exposure of bone underneath.  He had said ‘always’ to convince her, assure her, of permanency.” – Toni Morrison, Sula This past weekend, I sat through a series of diversity panels.  They featured leaders of law firm diversity efforts including partners, counsel, and managing partners.  The panels showcased the firms' and the individual leaders' commitment to diversity.  During the panels, I learned that supervisors judge work product of black associates more harshly and critically than work product…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Who Competes Against Us and What to Do About It?

Recent research reveals that we know who at work likes us, but not who competes against us.  One study surveyed sales associates at a car dealership, where the sales associates cooperated in bringing in customers and making handoffs when needed, but also competed against each other for sales.  Each salesperson was asked questions to measure their feelings of liking, e.g. “How much do you like each of your colleagues?”  Each salesperson was also asked questions to measure their feelings of competition, e.g. “How much do you see each of your colleagues as a rival?”  Finally, each salesperson was asked questions…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  What if Alienation is Not a Universal Feeling?

It was neither preaching nor praying that made a better person of me, but one or two people who believed in me better than I deserved, and I hated to disappoint them.  I recently went to a holiday party where two white male law firm partners were asking each other why we see so many female associates leave big law starting around their fifth year and what firms can do to keep them.  They were concerned that women leave for reasons beyond the firms’ control, such as appealing in-house positions or to devote more time to parenthood.  I told them…

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