Thought For The Day from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Pay Equity for Women Lawyers

Pay equity for women lawyers is a subject that you definitely should care about.  I have blogged about it before, but now I have written about it in a comprehensive article published recently by the DC Women’s Bar Association.  This article also makes the nexus between implicit gender bias and unequal pay for women lawyers, a connection that must be taken seriously. Here is a link to the article:  http:  www.wbadc.org//Files/Newsletters/2016-2017/WBA_RTB_2016-2017_Issue4_NovDec.pdf

Here is how I introduce the issue:

One of the tenets of my Best Friends at the Bar program for women lawyers is “Be a discriminating listener, but do not listen for discrimination.” In other words, some things are not intended to be gender discrimination and are not harmful, and it is a waste of time to pursue them. It is better to save your thunder for the real thing that creates a disparate impact and is career damaging.

Having said that, however, gender pay inequality is the kind of discrimination that is definitely a big deal, and it always deserves a second look. The examination of this problem needs to be thorough and discerning and involve a fair comparison of “apples to apples” to assure reliable results. In other words, the comparison of what women lawyers are paid and what male lawyers are paid must involve a very strong similarity of work performed and benefit to the law firm. The volume of articles that have appeared recently on the subject of gender pay equity and also lawsuits, which have been filed within the last year by women partners alleging gender pay inequity at their law firms, will be helpful in that analysis.

And here is one of my conclusions:

It is time for some real soul searching in law firms as they look to the future of the profession. Tolerating implicit gender bias and gender pay inequity will create adversity within the law firm ranks and increased competition among team members. It will discourage camaraderie and will undermine best practices. It also will have a negative effect on law firm succession plans as mid-level talented women lawyers leave because of unfair and unwise practices.

There is a lot of well-researched information and recent developments, including pending law suits against law firms on allegations of unequal pay, between the introduction and the conclusions, and I urge you to read the entire article.  You need to know about this issue, the history of equal pay in this country, and how you fit into the overall conversation. 

Take time to protect your future — and the futures of your female colleagues.  Read and share!

 

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

Thought For The Day

“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.”

Robert H. Schuller

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Thought For The Day

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Margaret Thatcher

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Happy New Year, Women Lawyers!

Happy New Year!

I am back from my December hiatus and ready to embrace all new opportunities for the new year.  I hope you are in a similar frame of mind. Being a bit of a dreamer and having an open mind and a positive outlook for the future can be very helpful to your career development.  In fact, I could argue that those attributes are essential to positive career growth.

If you are a maker of New Year’s resolutions — and I know that some of you are — you might want to think outside the box this year and beyond the obvious weight loss, expanded exercise routine, increased saving/reduced spending, and the other obvious resolutions. It is a good time to add some career development heft to your yearly introspection.

Think about resolutions like increased efforts at client development, perfecting your soft skills, finding a mentor or sponsor, and becoming an expert in a critical area of your practice —  for starters.  No, not all at once!  You have choices, so prioritize. Decide what you need most. Then, go for it.

Remember that career development can be hard work and avoid becoming easily discouraged. No one else needs to know about your resolution.  Keep it under the radar and take the pressure off.  Have reasonable expectations, and you may be surprised how much you can accomplish.

But don’t forget the weight loss, exercise routine and budget control.  There is plenty of space in your life for both personal and professional growth.

Good luck!

Career Counselors | Comment

Happy Holidays!

December has arrived!  It hardly seems possible, but it now is time to focus on blessings of the season, religious observations, generosity and good cheer.  Each year at this time, I clear my Best Friends at the Bar desktop and put my priorities where I need them to be — on spending a memorable holiday season with friends and family.

So, Happy Holidays to all of you.  I will return to this blog in January 2017, renewed, excited about the future of Best Friends at the Bar, and ready to pursue new directions to enhance career opportunities for women lawyers.

Cheers!

Career Counselors | Comment

Would Mandatory Paid Childcare Leave Make US #1?

I discovered two things today — seemingly independent but connected, I think.  These things are important for all women, those with children and those who love the children of others, and they are important to me.

First of all, I read that the United States of America comes in fourth in terms of being the most desirable country to live on earth.  The first three positions were awarded to Germany, the UK and Canada.  Not bad to be in fourth place, but first place is better.  However, this probably was predictable because the subject of the survey was “quality of life.”  That includes stuff like paid family leave, access to affordable health care, mandatory vacations and the like.  We don’t rank so well on that stuff in America.

I remember traveling in Jamaica years ago (not a contender for a top slot in this survey!) and meeting a couple from Germany.  They were on a six week vacation because the government mandated that employers provide that kind of break from the pressure and routine as a way to force its citizens to unwind, relax, enjoy life, and, presumably, be better balanced and produce more when they are working.  My family and I were trying to eke out a week away from the grind of two law practices, and the German way sounded pretty good to me at the time.  Still does.  Quality of life is important.

The second “thing” that came across my radar today also is a quality of life thing.  It seems that the DC Council is considering a paid family leave act that goes beyond anything anywhere else in our country.  This is really important stuff.  It is so stressful and anxiety creating for new mothers and fathers to leave their infants to the care of others in the first months after their births, and, many times, the new mothers and fathers cannot afford to quit their jobs and give their newborns the kind of care they require.

Here is what the proposed DC law will require that employers provide:  11 weeks of paid family leave for parents to bond with newborn or adopted children and eight weeks to care for an ailing parent or grandparent — among the most generous paid leave laws in the nation.

The proposal, released Monday to the full D.C. Council, is expected to draw support from a majority of the council, which has been discussing paid leave for more than a year. You can read more about the specifics of the proposed law in this article.

Advocates of paid family leave believe that it fills a critical need in a country where 59 percent of mothers with infants are in the workforce and only 12 percent of workers in the private sector get paid leave through their employers.  Count me among those believers.  Studies also demonstrate that both parents and children benefit from the opportunity for a parent to care for a child after birth or adoption.

In case you did not know, the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a national paid leave law of any kind, and only a handful of states have independently passed paid leave laws.  So, this new law that looks like it may pass in DC is a big deal.

Perhaps we can take some solace from the fact that both President-elect Trump and his daughter Ivanka talked a lot during the campaign about paid childcare leave.  A national law that is generous and treats parents, and especially women, with the dignity they deserve on this issue is what we need.

Then, maybe, we can be considered the best country to live on the planet.

 

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

Thought For The Day

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”

Anne Frank

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