female lawyers
female lawyers

Female Lawyers Face Widespread Gender Bias, According To New Study

It’s not just less pay and fewer promotions. According to a recent survey of 2,827 lawyers, female lawyers, and especially women of color, are more likely than their male counterparts to be interrupted, to be mistaken for non-lawyers, to do more office housework, and to have less access to prime job assignments. The research was recently completed by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. Here are some of the depressing results of the study along with suggestions provided by the study’s authors on how to get the bias out of your organization.

Female Lawyers Mistaken For Janitors, Administrators Or Court Personnel

Female lawyers of color were eight times more likely than white men to report that they had been mistaken for custodial staff, administrative staff, or court personnel, with 57% reporting mistaken identity. Over 50% of white women had also experienced this type of bias, while only 7% of white male lawyers were mistaken for non-lawyers. One female lawyer reported, “I have frequently been assumed to be a court reporter. In my own firm, I’ve been asked if I am a legal administrative assistant on multiple occasions, even after making partner.”

Female Lawyers Relegated To Do Office Housework           

Not only are female lawyers mistaken for non-lawyers, but female lawyers end up stuck with more of the non-legal office housework. Office housework is made up of tasks like scheduling meetings, planning parties, and doing actual housework like cleaning up the food after a meeting. And the present study finds female lawyers are far more likely than their male counterparts to bear the brunt of this office housework.

Why do women

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Why is it a smart business for law firms to attract and retain more women lawyers

I am proud to be the managing partner at Levin & Perconti, a nationally recognized personal injury and medical malpractice law firm, where 50 percent of our attorneys and 46 percent of our partners are women.

In recent years as the number of our female lawyers and partners increased, so did we have success as a firm. Female lawyers play leading roles in most of the firm’s biggest cases and many are successfully balancing careers and families.

I wish I could say that in 2023 our firm is the norm for the legal profession, but sadly it is not, especially in the area of ​​law we practice, which traditionally is male dominated. Many law firms are still operating like it was the 1960s, and it is pushing too many female lawyers out of the profession.

In recent years women have accounted for more than half of the nation’s law students, but female attorneys make up only 38 percent of the legal profession. There is a leaky pipeline with many talented female lawyers leaving the profession within 10 years mainly because of the lack of flexibility law firms provide women during the childbearing years and when raising young children, an unsupportive culture and even today, unequal pay and career advancement.

Plugging that pipeline and stopping the exodus is not just the right thing to do for women, it’s also a smart business move. Law firms spend time and money recruiting and training lawyers. To have female lawyers leave just as they are reaching their prime and taking their expertise and working relationships with them is not a good return on investment. It is disruptive for clients and unsustainable for the legal profession moving forward in the future.

I began as a law clerk at Levin & Perconti in 2006. They had

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