Women in Law Week: Are Women Lawyers Held Back?

“If you demonstrate leadership, power will follow,” says Jennifer Kenedy, managing partner of Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell. But that’s not necessarily the case.

A recent White House Project on Women study yields disappointing results. “At the very top of the legal sector,” the report states, “women have made no progress at all in the last 15 years.” Not only are they scarce in law schools as faculty and deans, but only about 20 percent of judges in all courts are female, and 92 percent of surveyed firms “said their highest paid attorney was a man.”

Kenedy hopes women can begin to change this by using their strengths and the strengths of colleagues to effectively win over commitment.

“Look for projects to volunteer for that make an impact,” suggests Kenedy. Resources like the Women in Law and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession provide support, statistics and Life/Work solutions for women trying to advance in the legal field. She also recommends joining women’s initiative groups, and if they’re not offered, volunteer to start one.

Phyllis Horn Epstein’s book Women at Law: Lessons Learned Along the Pathways to Success includes interview excerpts from hundreds of highly successful women in law and the valuable lessons from their experiences, like if part-time is right for you and how you truly can “do it all.”

Bonus PINK Link: The U.S. ranks 68th in women’s leadership internationally. Here’s how we can change that. 

By Caroline Cox

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Beverly Sills

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