Gender

‘Why are we all still at these firms?’

For the past seven years, the National Association of Women Lawyers has tracked women’s progress at the 200 largest firms in the nation by comparing their careers and compensation with similarly situated men. And for the past seven years, reading NAWL’s report has been like drinking a fifth of gin, and then watching Requiem For A Dream: it’s really freaking depressing.

For every two steps forward the legal industry takes, female attorneys seem to move two steps back. Despite Biglaw firms’ purported support for gender equity, women just aren’t achieving the same success as their male peers, either economically or in terms of attaining leadership roles. From associates to partners, women are always left holding the bag.

With that backdrop, let’s check out the excruciatingly discouraging news for women in Biglaw….

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Back in 2010, we brought our readers some news on the state of women’s representation on the mastheads of the nation’s law reviews. According to a study conducted by Ms. JD, on the whole, women at the 2009 U.S. News top 50 law schools were doing just fine in terms of overall law review membership and leadership positions. Good news, right?

Ms. JD conducted a similar study for 2011-2012, using the 2011 U.S. News top 50 law schools, and made the following findings:

  • The overall percentage of women who are members of law reviews, 42.75 percent, correlates strongly with the number of women awarded law degrees during the same time period, 47.3 percent.
  • The percentage of women in leadership positions on law reviews, 41.53 percent, also correlates strongly with the number of women awarded law degrees during the same time period, 47.3 percent.

That’s where the good news ends, because when it came to the position of editor-in-chief, the number of women holding the title in Ms. JD’s first study was “disproportionately low,” at just 33 percent. This year, that percentage was even lower — only 28.6 of the EICs at the nation’s top 50 law schools were women. Keep in mind that these are the women who are expected to go on to become law professors, federal judges, Biglaw partners, and Fortune 500 general counsels.

Why, then, are they being overlooked for the title of editor-in-chief, year after year?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Lovely Ladies of Law Review: Where Are The EICs?”

Perhaps Dechert meant this kind of Macho Man, instead?

* Congrats to Larren Nashelsky for being one bad ass MoFo. He’s taking over as Chair of Morrison & Foerster, and claims the firm’s had “some of [its] best years in recent years.” [San Francisco Business Times]

* Macho, macho man! You’ve got to be, a macho man to work at Dechert. An ex-associate says he was fired for using FMLA time and blames the firm’s “macho culture” in his retaliation complaint. [National Law Journal]

* Sorry, but you make too much damn money. Utah’s Judicial Conduct Commission recommended a judge for censure because his salary was “in excess of the amount allowed by law.” [Standard-Examiner]

* “We’re all reacting to Darwinian pressures in the market and from students.” Maybe that’s why law schools are adding more classes having to do with careers as in-house counsel. [Corporate Counsel]

* Jerry Sandusky has asked Judge John Cleland to reconsider his 30-60 year prison sentence because he thinks it’s excessive. Strange, because some people would argue it wasn’t excessive enough. [Bloomberg]

Mitt Romney’s unfortunate comment at the most recent presidential debate, in which he boasted about receiving “binders full of women” while trying to build a diverse cabinet as Governor or Massachusetts, has become a wildly popular internet meme. If you’re looking for some good laughs, check out this Tumblr or this slideshow.

Happily, there’s a Biglaw connection to all of this. At which leading law firm can you assemble your own “binder full of women”?

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Staci here. Earlier this week, in response to a reader question, Vivia Chen at The Careerist engaged in a discussion about female lawyers who curse like sailors. She noted that she found cursing to be “rather cathartic,” but her takeaway was this: “If four-letter words just roll off your tongue, go for it. And if people have problems with your style, you can tell them where to stick it.”

And while staying true to yourself and unleashing as many f-bombs as you can may be alright in some circumstances (i.e., social settings), in the workplace, it can lead to some rather negative consequences — for both women and men. But that’s really beside the point, because cursing on the job is just plain disgusting, no matter which gender it’s coming from.

I know that I may get my bra-burning card revoked for this, but I think that it’s even more appalling when it’s coming from a woman. Of course, not everyone agrees with me — one of my fellow editors thinks women should be able to drop as many expletives as they want. Before you tell me where to stick it, let me explain…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cursing On The Job: Should You Do It, Ladies?”

Back in July, we brought you a story about women’s hairstyles and how they relate to success in the workplace. For older women, the results were startling; apparently women who are of partnership age are “playing havoc with their careers” if they opt to sport longer hairstyles. We wondered why people even cared about this issue, because to be quite honest, if you’re good at your job, then your hairstyle — so long as it’s acceptable for an office environment — shouldn’t matter.

Just a few months later, we’re being told that hairstyles do have a bit of unfair relevance in the business world. Whereas older women are being encouraged to lop off their long locks, men are being encouraged to shave their heads bald. It seems that new motto when it comes to your hair is the shorter the better. Listen up, senior associates and partners, because according to a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, baldness can result in a business advantage.

But why can’t men be successful and show signs of their age at the same time?

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Mahbod Moghadam

* VC heavyweight Andressen Horowitz is investing in Rap Genius, the hip-hop brainchild of Stanford Law grad Mahbod Moghadam. Yadadamean? [Rap Genius]

* If your fraternity has to hire a lawyer to hold a press conference to deny allegations of butt-chugging, and an extraordinarily uncomfortable video of the press conference makes its way online… you’re probably up s**t’s creek without a wine bottle paddle. [Outkick the Coverage]

* There’s no crying in baseball, and, in other creepily homoerotic collegiate news, there shall be no drunken teabagging in college football, either. [New Orleans Times-Picayune]

* Professor Richard Sander’s new book (affiliate link) argues that affirmative action actually hurts the students it intends to help. Release the partisan bickering! [The Atlantic via ProfessorBainbridge]

* An interview with law prof Jay Wexler, who also released a book (affiliate link) earlier this year. His is slightly less serious. Absurdist legal humor for the win. Check out this podcast interview, too! [Constitutional Daily]

* The fifth annual She Leads Conference on Women in the Law is this Friday at American University Washington College of Law. Go forth and be educated! [Ms. JD]

* U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz of Connecticut, RIP. [Connecticut Post]

* Chief Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit, the judicial diva herself, will be stepping down from her role at the head of the bench earlier than expected, due to “family issues.” Perhaps she told someone to “shut up” too many times? [Tex Parte Blog]

* Apple asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to deny Samsung’s request that she bar all further communication with trial jurors, because the company claims it wants “equal access to information” (aka jury foreman Velvin Hogan). [Bloomberg]

* “[T]here’s no way to preserve the definition of marriage [as one man and one woman] other than by preserving the definition. It becomes somewhat circular.” That, and you rely on law from 1885. Argh! [BuzzFeed]

* ASU Law wants to move from Tempe to Phoenix, and to make it financially feasible, the school may increase enrollment and raise tuition. Sound like a good idea, prospective law students cash cows? [Arizona Republic]

* Now compare/contrast: Stanford Law had to dip into its coffers to come up with the cash to cover its financial aid promises this year, but the school isn’t cutting out a dime that’s owed to students. [National Law Journal]

* Massachusetts appealed the Michelle Kosilek sex-change ruling. The state claims it provided “adequate medical care,” but it’s questionable whether that was the case if the prisoner tried to castrate herself. [CNN]

* Tully Rinckey, a midsize firm, is planning to open an office in Buffalo, New York, so it sent out recruitment letters to 5,469 attorneys in the region. Unemployed law grads: open the letter, it’s not a bill! [Buffalo News]

On one level, your name is pretty damn meaningless. Many people aren’t actually called by their names that often. Instead, people just yell: “Dude,” “Hey You,” “Boss,” “sweet cheeks”… whatever.

But on another level, your name is one of a relatively few possessions that are truly yours.

So what happens if your name simply doesn’t fit into who you are? You can change it, right? Sure, unless you happen to be a transgendered person appearing in front of one particular judge in Oklahoma. Ain’t no gender-bending name games in this Judge of the Day’s courtroom…

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Michelle Kosilek and Justice Ginsburg: separated at birth?

In this case, Kosilek has proven that he still has a severe gender identity disorder. Although female hormones have helped somewhat, he continues to suffer intense mental anguish because of his sincere and enduring belief that he is a female trapped in male body.

That anguish alone constitutes a serious medical need. It also places him at high risk of killing himself if his major mental illness is not adequately treated.

– Chief Judge Mark Wolf (D. Mass.), in today’s landmark ruling ordering Massachusetts to pay for convicted murderer Michelle (formerly Robert) Kosilek’s sex reassignment surgery.

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