Category Archives: Reports/Studies

Spend X amount on your law degree…then stay home

Between work, being pregnant and studying for my licence, I haven’t had much time to post, but a new study caught my eye.  This study showed, among other professions, that 21% of Harvard women who became lawyers chose to stay home with their children . 

The study is titled “Opt-Out Patterns Across Careers: Labor Force Participation Rates Among Educated Mothers” from the UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business:


Is that what women lawyers think of each other? Really?

I just got my February 2008 issue of the ABA Journal which has an article with survey results purporting to show what women lawyers really think of each other.

“The 4,449 who responded in this self-selecting survey were asked whether they perceived gender-related differences in workplace performance and behavior.

On most questions, a majority said they perceived no difference. But among those who perceived differences, some were dramatic. The following charts reflect the opinions of those who perceived gender differences.”

Ah, you have to read the article carefully.  As one person in the online comments to the article noted, the “real story” is that 58% said that gender didn’t matter.

But the article focuses on the 42% in the charts.

I hope that the ABA Journal will do another article on why the 58% think the way it does.

Read the comments as well. They are really interesting!

Are you getting the assignments you want?

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has a short Q&A with the author of “Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women’s Success in the Law,” Lauren Stiller Rikleen.  In her research, she found some gender differences:

Q. Are there institutional impediments to the retention and advancement of women lawyers, and, if so, how can they be overcome?

A. We see gender differences in the assignment process; not that women don’t get good assignments, but when there are the less attractive assignments that invariably exist in any firm, women tend to get more of those assignments than their male colleagues do.

Read this question and make sure that it doesn’t happen to you. Don’t be shy to ask for the assignments you want because if you don’t, someone else will!

Are you a pretty lawyer?

A lot of legal news-watching blogs this week are discussing a story in The Economist which talks about research in the correlation between beauty and intelligence and financial success.  The part of the article that has everyone’s keyboards clicking is this:

Dr [Daniel] Hamermesh looked at the careers of members of a particular (though discreetly anonymous) American law school. He found that those rated attractive on the basis of their graduation photographs went on to earn higher salaries than their less well-favoured colleagues. Moreover, lawyers in private practice tended to be better looking than those working in government departments.

Interesting.  I guess maybe I should put more of an effort to put on makeup for work.  I really should.  I just haven’t been able to find a foundation that matches my skin tone!!

Ah well, we can’t all be gorgeous.  Both Justice Ginsburg and I still managed to find great lawyer-husbands though, so really, isn’t that more important than financial success?

Female Hispanic Lawyers

I haven’t seen the raw numbers, but I just read a article with some information about Hispanic lawyers:

“According to the lists, nationally, Hispanic women outpace Hispanic men both in enrollment and degrees granted. Hispanic women outnumber Hispanic men in 15 of the 25 schools listed for total enrollment.”

The study is from the Dec. 3 issue of Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education but I don’t think it’s officially out yet, otherwise I would post a link.  I wonder how big the difference is when they say “outnumber”?  When I was practicing in Chicago, I met both male and female Hispanic lawyers, but my favourite Latina judge of all time is hands down Judge Marilyn Milian.

NAWL’s second annual survey results

New survey results by the National Association of Women Lawyers released yesterday. The survey involved 200 large law firms in the US.

I’m glad I don’ work in “big law.”  I think I’m fairly treated at my job. I hope everyone will take a step back and think a little about whether they are being treated fairly or not.  If you aren’t, please do something about it!  Be pro-active!

Minority Female Associates: We Aren’t Happy, But We’re Here! has an article that asks “Why are Minority Female Associates Leaving Law Firms?”  It doesn’t give any solutions, but there are some interesting observations about the data collected from a survey of associates:

In a few areas, the gap between minority female midlevels and other groups seemed like a chasm. Most dramatically, minority women rated their firm’s dedication to diversity more harshly than any other group, including minority men. When it came to assigning work, minority women thought the distribution of work less fair than white men did; white women and minority men were somewhere in the middle. Likewise, minority women felt that they had been given less responsibility than white men did.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, 13.5 percent of minority female midlevels said they were actively seeking a new job, the highest percentage of any group.

As a female, a minority, and a lawyer, all I have to say is this: as people get used to us, things will get better, my sisters!!!  Be strong!!!

Here are the raw statistics from the Minority Experience Study if you are interested.