Thought For The Day

Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.

Spencer Johnson

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New Women’s Legal Network to Launch in UK

Let’s hear it for the young women lawyers in London.  They are gathering together to engage talent and to promote the next generation of female solicitors.  Bravo!  I will wave my Union Jack for that!

The group, known as Women in Law London (WILL), seems to be the first of its kind in the UK.  The target membership is female solicitors at the pre-partnership level in both private firms and in-house.  The five young women organizers have grit and foresight.   Their concerns are for the low retention rates for women lawyers in the UK and having options available for women who entertain leaving the profession.  They are quoted in a recent edition of The Lawyer as being “passionate about ensuring talent retention at the highest level, but also [recognising] that women in law will also have individual and varied ultimate goals.”

For me, there is a welcomed echo in the room.  The goals of WILL sound remarkably similar to those of Best Friends at the Bar, and I am really pleased to know that there is a mirror image of my project across “The Pond.”   I am particularly impressed that these young women “got with it” earlier in their careers than I did, and I applaud them for those early and timely instincts and efforts.

The official launch of WILL is scheduled for October17, 2014 with a networking event, which will include a speech by Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London and former law partner at CMS Cameron McKenna.  Quarterly networking forums, as well as discussion panels and guest speaker events, are being planned as follow-up events.

Congratulations to the women lawyers of WILL!  I wish them the best of luck in this exciting venture.

To find out more about WILL, read this article in The Lawyer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law School Educators, Law Students, Practice Advice, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Is Making Partner Enough for Women Lawyers?

Making partner in a law firm has been the traditional “pay off” for most lawyers.  It is when they have confirmation that they “have arrived” as legal practitioners.  Although there are trends away from that these days with a growing focus on the “life” part of the work-life balance for both men and women, partnership remains a real draw for most lawyers in private practice.

Today we are seeing a reversion to one-tier partnership by large firms like DLA and Akin Gump, and we can expect to see other firms falling in line in the future.  Although that restructuring can have the positive effect of providing more practice styles and options at the mid-levels of law firms, the return to one-tier partnerships will make partnership even more of the brass ring than it has been in recent years.

For women lawyers, making partner can be a very big deal.  Although approximately 50% of the graduates of law schools today are women, only 20% of the partners in law firms are women.  As a result, it is a very significant accomplishment for the women who make it to that level.

But, have they really “made it?”  That depends on how you define it.  Yes, they have the title, but what about the amenities?  What about salary, for instance?

According to an article in Think Progress, citing a study in Sky Analytics, a legal invoicing company, women lawyers can work longer and harder but still be paid less.  The conclusion from the study was that “no matter what tier firm women work at, [as] determined by the number of attorneys and its geographic footprint, [the women] will be billed at significantly lower rater per hour” than men.  For instance, although 2 per cent of men at top tier firms are billed at over $1000 an hour, virtually no women bill at that rate and, while half of the men in the top tier firms bill at more than $ 500 per hour, less than a third of the women have that billing rate.

Other findings were that women’s billing rates rise less over time than men’s, that female law firm partners work more hours than men, and that women in the profession earn about 87 per cent of what men make.

And that is not all.  According to a recent article on the Above the Law blog, quoting Vivien Chen of The Careerist summarizing the NAWL 2013 Report, men dominate the lateral equity partner ranks, and women are well-represented in lower-status positions (like associates, of counsel, nonequity partners and staff lawyers).  These results prompted the Above the Law editors to lament that Biglaw firms have not “realized that women have a rightul place in this profession, and deserve to be treated as fairly and as equally as their male counterparts.”  The editors went on to describe themselves as “clearly and painfully delusional” to have thought otherwise.

The Above the Law article concluded:

“We’re left wondering why Biglaw firms keep claiming that they’re attempting to advance women within their firms.  They claim to have written programs to promote the advancement of women, but it seems that they’ve yet to get with them.  They’ve ‘repeatedly advised that they are committed to the goal of increasing gender equity,’ but the results of that goal are nowhere to be seen.  If these firms actually gave one damn about their female attorneys — beyond touting the fact that they have real, live women working at the firm — then we’d have seen more progress by now.”

Hear, hear.  Women lawyers beware.  The Glass Ceiling is still firmly in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career Counselors, Law Firm Managers, Law Students, Practice Advice, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

Dr. Samuel Johnson

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Thought For The Day

Make the decision, make it with confidence, and the world will be yours.

Jaren L. Davis

Thought For The Day | Comment

How to Seal The Deal after an Interview

In my last blog, I gave you some tips on interviewing for internships, clerkships and other law jobs.  I also encouraged you to use the career services offices at your law schools to help you prepare for interviews.  I hope you all ran to your computers and immediately signed up for a session with career services staff.  Good for you!  I love it when you actually listen.

I emphasized the importance of making a good first impression in that last blog, and now it is time to talk about how to conclude the interview and leave a good and lasting impression, which you hope will lead to a job offer.  That most often will be dictated by what you learned during the interview.

If you kept an open mind during the interview and really listened to what the interviewer had to say about the firm and the practice, you should know by the end of the interview whether the job interests you.  If what you have heard makes you want the job, say so.  This is the time to tell the interviewer what particularly impresses you about the firm and why you think that you could fit in well there.  You may want to talk about some skill that you have, which you think would be especially valuable to the law firm, or what area of the practice particularly interests you and why.  Do not be arrogant, but also do not be shy.  This is your time.  Use it to your advantage.

And, after you have killed the interview, do not forget to send a thank you note.  There is some disagreement about whether e-mail suffices for this purpose or whether a handwritten note is necessary, and I do not think there is any hard and fast rule.  Instead, I recommend that you take your cue from the description of the interviewer.  If the interviewer is a particularly sophisticated and well-dressed woman, I would opt for the hand-written note because I think that is what she might send in a similar circumstance.  However, if the interviewer is a man with a casual demeanor and sports memorabilia all over his office, I would be secure in sending an e-mail. Carrier pigeons are out!

No matter how you send the thank you note, consider it very important and take care with the content.  Tailor it to something that was discussed during the interview or something that the interviewer revealed about himself or herself.  In other words, personalize it.  Nothing cutesie, however.  This is not the time to send jokes or other “entertaining” references.  You want to be remembered for your most personable and professional self.

Good luck!  Interviewing is tedious, but it also is a great opportunity.  Take advantage of interviews that you are excited about and also those that you don’t think interest you as much.  Get the most interviewing experience possible to prepare you for the one you really want. 

When that time comes, you will be ready!

 

 

Career Counselors, Law School Educators, Law Students, Practice Advice, Pre-law, Young Lawyer | Comment

Thought For The Day

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Robert Frost

Thought For The Day | Comment