Are you still in the throes of on campus and off campus interviews? Are you having fun yet?
If experience guides me well, many of you still are in the process of interviews for summer jobs and associate positions after graduation, and many of those interviews are with law firms. Here are some suggestions on what young women lawyers should look for in a law firm.
- Pay attention to the dynamics of the firm. Are men and women professionals interacting, and is the dynamic compatible with your work style?
- Is there evidence of healthy work-life balance or do most of the lawyers lead what appear to be workaholic lifestyles?
- Who controls the conversations and are women’s opinions respected in those conversations?
- Is there a respectful environment for women lawyers and women non-lawyers?
- Are women represented at positions of law firm leadership and management?
- Is there a Women’s Initiative or a Diversity Committee and does the firm take those efforts seriously and invest in them?
- Are both male and female lawyers mentoring young women lawyers?
- Are women represented at all levels of the firm and not just at the associate and of counsel levels?
- Are women associates, even those with part-time or flexible schedules, getting quality work?
- Do the women of the firm support each other?; and
- Is there evidence of gender discrimination and stereotyping of women, including unconscious bias?
Pay attention to these things. If you feel uncomfortable asking senior associates or partners questions about some of these matters, take your questions to a different level. Ask a more junior associate out for a drink, and hope that he or she will be candid in response to your questions. Your future may depend on it.
Most of all, good luck!