Saturday, July 21

Women Lawyers - We Quit

Women make up more than half of law school classes, but still represent far less than half of practising lawyers.

In 1999, 56 per cent of Canadian law school graduates were women. In 2004, they made up 60 per cent.
Nevertheless, they are leaving large law firms, and even the legal profession entirely, much faster than their male colleagues. In 2005, figures from Canadian bar associations indicated less than 33 per cent of practising lawyers were women.
While much has been done by law societies and big firms to address the issue – gender equity committees, better maternity leave policies, more opportunities to work from home and alternative billing arrangements – the trends aren't reversing quickly. Canadian Lawyer magazine recently called the promises of a better work-life balance at big firms "the great lie."
"Definitely, it is a trend," said Constance Backhouse, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. "This has been happening for a long time, but we are only just beginning to try to study the phenomenon."

"In law school, which was predominately female to begin with, it was largely women who were involved in the international human rights groups, the legal clinics, the women's rights groups," the University of Ottawa grad said. "I'm not going to go as far as to say that women have a larger moral complex, but they may have a greater connection to clients. At least for me."
It's up to the individual, she added.

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