A recent study of women in professional careers
found that 21 percent of attorneys in a representative sample had “opted out”
of their careers at motherhood.[i]Motherhood is just one of many
reasons why an attorney might choose to inactivate her license; among these
might also be aging parents, illness, injury or a nonlegal job. These realities
are why most state bars give attorneys the option to elect inactive status. The
specific ramifications for going inactive vary from state to state, but generally
include a reduced license fee,[ii]
a commitment to abstain from the practice of law, and an exemption from
continuing legal education requirements. Taking inactive status is often as
temporary as the inducing circumstances might be: a pause from- not an end to -
the practice of law and an option, of sorts, to eventually return to that
Missouri Bar President Erik Bergmanis has appointed a new co-chair to the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession. Karen R. Glickstein, a shareholder in the Kansas City office of Polsinelli, has replaced William (Bill) R. Bay in the role. Glickstein joins Megan Phillips, judicial clerk for the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District, at the helm of the commission. Bay, a partner in the St. Louis office of Thompson Coburn, served as commission co-chair since its 2013 founding and serves as co-chair of the Court and bar’s Joint Task on the Future of the Profession, which was formed last year.
The commission - a joint effort between the Supreme Court of Missouri and The Missouri Bar - was created in part to gather data on women’s representation in the profession and to identify best practices for retaining and advancing women in the field. The group recently released its first report assessing the status of women in the legal industry.
The Report of The Missouri Joint Commission on Women in the Profession includes statistics on women in firms, in law schools, on the bench, and in the public sector, along with resources for women lawyers. It also notes some of the commission’s goals for 2016, including the voluntary collection of gender information on The Missouri Bar annual attorney enrollment form.
For more information on the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, go to mobar.org/mowomenlawyers or join the conversation on twitter using@MoWomenLawyers.
The term “work-life balance” has been around since the 1980s, and, while “balance” may still be the ideal, the workplace environment has changed significantly in the last 30 years. Perhaps most impactful, technological advances now keep employees constantly connected to their work. For a lawyer, these advancements can tip already loaded scales even further toward “work” and away from “life.”
At the same time, these advancements have facilitated new, more balanced models of legal practice.
The roles of litigators play in federal trials depends on whether the litigators are men or women, according to a new study from the American Bar Association.
The study, First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table, is a report on this first-of-its-kind study that breaks down the roles of litigators along gender lines.
The study examines cases filed in 2013 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
By Laura Venn
On August 5, the Patricia Gillette and Koriambanya (Kori) Carew discussed the obstacles faced by not just women attorneys in private practice but their male counterparts, and the best ways to overcome those obstacles. The discussion was part of the Joint Commission’s CLE, “Dollars and Sense: The Business Case for Gender Equity and Work/Life Balance in Law Firms.” According to Gillette, the current structure of law firms is “archaic” as it is not conducive to the work/life balance goals of Generation Y women and men and because it institutionalizes gender discrimination. Indeed, while Missouri women attorneys are fairing slightly better than women attorneys nationally — 20 percent of equity partners in Missouri are women compared to only 16 percent nationally — there is still much progress to be made. As Carew noted, the good news is that “we have a common issue” with the rest of the country, and therefore, “we can find common solutions.”
By Laura Venn
We hope many of you join us this afternoon to listen to our special guest Patricia Gillette of Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe and founder of the Opt-In Project discuss important issues facing not only women, but all attorneys working in private practice. The Joint Commission’s CLE event, “Dollars and Sense: The business case for gender equity and work/life balance in law firms,” will explore many of these “push factors” and how they can be overcome by building trust within firms and utilizing different metrics to incent change.
A recent Atlantic article “Why So Many Men Don’t Stand Up for Their Female Colleagues” explores the different types of sexism still prevalent in corporate culture and explains why even the most feminist men may be frightened into silence. Recent psychological research suggests that speaking up for a cause inconsistent with an individual’s self-interest may result in backlash ...
By Laura Venn
In our last post, we offered some history about the Equal Pay Act and described the current state of the gender pay gap in the United States, in Missouri, and among women attorneys. Here are some resources the ABA Section of Litigation released last year during the law’s historic 50th Anniversary ...
This week marks the 51st anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s signing the Equal Pay Act into law. The Equal Pay Act was the first of a series of federal laws enacted to combat the gender wage gap, followed a year later by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, and the Lilly Ledbetter Act, much later, in 2009. In the 1960s, one-third of American women participated in the labor force; by 2012, the number had increased to nearly 60 percent of all women and continues to climb. In fact, as of 2013, women comprised 46 percent of the entire American labor force. Indeed, as the number of women workers increased, the pay gap narrowed ...
The Joint Commission on Women in the Profession is pleased to welcome its first summer intern Laura Venn. Venn is a rising 2L at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. She is a research assistant to Professor Hillary Sale, who, through her work with DirectWomen, has advocated for more women attorneys to gain access to the boards of publicly traded companies. Sale led one of the panels at the Joint Commission’s DirectWomen event earlier this year ...
By Avivah Wittenberg-Cox
No area of the business world is more illogically gender imbalanced than law firms. Every year, top law firms recruit 60% female and 40% male law graduates into their practices. Within two years, their female majorities begin to leave. The percentage of female equity partners is now 17% in the top 100 US law firms. The strangest part is that women lawyers aren’t leaving the profession ...
By Chief Justice Mary R. Russell
Last month, Missouri lost former Governor Joseph Teasdale. As I read the news coverage of “Walkin’ Joe’s” legacy, it occurred to me something was missing from those articles: In 1978, Teasdale became the first governor to appoint a woman to the bench under the nonpartisan court plan. Women previously had served as judges in other parts of the state, by virtue of an election or the occasional appointment to a midterm vacancy, but no governor ever had selected a woman to serve on one of the courts governed by the Missouri Plan...
By Dawn Brooks
I’m a full-time second-year law
student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. But that’s not all I am. I’m
34. I’m married with three kids. And I own my consulting and training firm. In
short, I’m a busy woman.
My path to law school was not a straight line. That’s because I have never allowed others to guide my way...
By Allison Spence
Risk-taking is critical to successful leadership. That was the central message of a recent webinar featuring women practitioners from around the country.
The May 8 session, “Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law,” was sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women In the Profession, the ABA Center For Professional Development, and the ABA Young Lawyers Division...
By Marlon Lutfiyya
What can law firm diversity directors do to advance women attorneys at their firms? It’s a question those of us in the position ask ourselves constantly. To some extent, we can help shape the specific law firm environment that affects their prospects for success. But the challenges can seem daunting...
By By Patricia K. Gillette, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLPPublished in Employment Law 360, March 11, 2011
Sweet 16 and never been kissed. That was the mantra for teenage girls in the 1950s and early 1960s. Sixteen was the beginning of everything — and if you had never been kissed, you soon would be, or so we all thought. It was the age you waited for because after that, everything was possible. And to celebrate reaching this auspicious number, you wore pink, you had a party with your friends, and you dreamed of the future...
By Allison Spence
Women attorneys from all four corners of the state gathered in St. Louis on April 24 for the annual Women’s Justice Awards, hosted by Missouri Lawyers Media. The event, now in its 16th year, honored 43 professionals from across Missouri — it was the largest class ever...
By Elizabeth Hatting
In March 2013, Forbes released the results of a 2012 survey regarding the “unhappiest jobs in
America.” According to the survey, the unhappiest job in America at the end of 2012 was that of
an associate attorney...
What I Learned from Legal Pioneer Frankie Muse Freeman, Esquire
By Nicole Colbert-Botchway
Recently I paid a visit to my friend, attorney Frankie Muse Freeman, at her beautiful home in the
Central West End of St. Louis, Missouri. For the first time, something new caught my eye - a
sheaf of sheet music p
The Missouri Joint Commission on Women in the Profession’s DirectWomen events in St. Louis has fortuitous timing this week. They coincided with Equal Pay Day, a day that symbolizes how long a woman must work into the new year before her previous year’s salary equals that of a man in the same position...
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