Hey, you. Yes, YOU there, the one with the boobs. You’re a lawyer, right? Or some sort of Big Law type, at least? I figured. I could tell by the bewildered look on your face. I know, sweetie, I know: It’s confusing being a woman in and around Big Law these days. First, unless you have a time machine and a magic wand, it looks like you’re not making partner any time soon. Sorry. Then, of course, there’s the finding-a-long-term-sex-partner-who-doesn’t-require-batteries problem. And then, there’s the latest slap: Laminated scraps of “advice” from Citibank your employer about the stupid things that you do to sabotage your career, you (apparently) soft-spoken, smile-happy, invisible moron cow.
And the advice doesn’t stop there. You can’t even find a good glass ceiling to smack your head up against anymore without tripping over a stack of advice for women lawyers on everything from how to dress for success(Avoid nudity!), to how to toughen up(Sass those boys right back when they act rapey at the office!), to how not to look like a drowned clown corpse at work (Forget it, lost cause!).
At this point, I’m so bored with the heaps of so-called advice from other lawyers and professional counsel-givers that I had to turn to the one person I could think of whose advice never fails. The one person who knows what it’s like to carve out a niche for yourself in an often cruel, mystifying profession overrun by over-educated lunatics: My friend, Alanna.
I think you could learn a lot from her. Why? Because she’s never wrong.
Working Mother just released its annual list of the top 100 companies to work for. As we are (hopefully) coming out of the recession, it is possible that people might actually start caring again about family issues and work/life balance issues.
This year, four law firms made the list. Before we get to the “winners,” let’s take a look at the process required to be up for consideration. To be on the list, first you have to fill out an application with 600 questions.
What is the magazine looking for? Here’s the explanation from their methodology section:
Eight areas are scored: workforce profile; benefits; women’s issues and advancement; child care; flexible work; paid time off and leaves; company culture; and work-life programs. An essay regarding best practices to support working mothers is also evaluated…
Working Mother considers not only the programs, benefits and opportunities offered by companies but also recently settled, decided or still-pending gender discrimination lawsuits.
An essay, do you say? Well, so much for rigid objectivity in list making.
Still, the four law firm winners should be proud. Let’s highlight them from out of the other top 100 companies…
If you are new to Above the Law, you might not remember Yolanda Young. She’s an African-American woman who used to work as a staff attorney at Covington & Burling. Some time ago, she sued the firm for racial and gender discrimination. You can read all about her claims here.
Regular readers of this site are already thinking: “Wait, didn’t that suit get dismissed?” ATL veterans are working on their obese/race-baiting/marine mammal mad libs as we speak.
But before we get to those fresh horrors, you all should know something: a federal judge has reinstated part of Yolanda Young’s case against Covington…
This was the only full body photo of Shelly Sindland available in all of internet-land.
A year ago, we brought attention to the sexual harassment claims of Shelly Sindland. Sindland was a local television reporter in Connecticut who claimed she was discriminated against by Fox 61 News due to her age and gender. Here are some of the highlights from the complaint:
* On or about January 30, 2009, during a meeting with reporters and anchors, on information and belief, [News Director Bob Rockstroh] stated that the Friday newscasts looked like “Big Boob Fridays,” and that as a result of at least one female reporter wearing a tighter shirts on Fridays, the station’s ratings did well on Fridays. On information and belief, [General Manager Rich Graziano] was present and stated “hey, whatever works.”
* On or about February 25, 2009 the respondent held a photo shoot for several of its news anchors to be used in promotional pieces. During this shoot, on information and belief, the female anchors were told to be more “sexy.” On information and belief, male anchors were not instructed to be sexy.
We’ve seen a lot of sexual harassment suits that either get thrown out quickly, or quickly settle. Since Sindland was suing a news organization, you had to figure that if there was any merit to Sindland’s claims, Fox 61 would pay and make the issue go away.
Yet here we are, over a year later, and Sindland’s claims just keep chugging along…
Quick question: You’re a single guy, let’s say in your late twenties to mid-thirties, with a decent job. Given the choice between the following two single women to date, which one do you choose?
Choice A: A real-world-hot 28-year-old receptionist on her fourth job in three years, who lives with two roommates in a fifth-floor walkup in some outer borough, aspires to someday have a job that gives her either free shoes or health insurance, and only sounds like an idiot when she speaks out loud.
Choice B: A real-world-hot 28-year-old BigLaw lawyer (I know, just go with me here) who paid off her school debt by herself in three years, lives alone in a doorman building in Manhattan, is funny and down-to-earth, and runs a small, successful side business selling artisanal cupcakes that she bakes in her spare time.
Clearly, you choose Choice A. Why? Because, if the status quo in my firm … and in my life… and in my friends’ lives… and in any bar from New York to L.A. is any indication, a law degree confers about as much romantic value to a single woman as a meth habit and a hidden penis.
Today Am Law released an exhaustive report about female equity partners at major law firms — equity partners, not to be confused with non-equity partners (who are really glorified associates that firms slap with the “partner” label in order to look good when folks like BBLP or Jezebel come calling). The numbers aren’t going to surprise any woman who is seriously considering a career in law.
But just because they’re not surprising doesn’t make them any less depressing. From the report:
The data compiled for this first systematic look at the issue is presented below. When we reviewed it, two numbers immediately jumped out. First, women make up only 17 percent of partners at the firms we surveyed, even though they have represented about 51 percent of law school graduates in the last 20 years. Second, of the women partners who work at multi-tier firms, 45 percent have equity status. In comparison, 62 percent of the male partners at these firms have equity.
Retention issue much? At 17 percent, you’re talking about a serious glass ceiling sitting on top of women at major law firms. With spikes pointing downard. And holes so small you can’t possibly fit squeeze through them if you are carrying any extra weight, or a baby….
We apologize again for yesterday’s technical difficulties, but if you thought we weren’t going to weigh in on the Hooters anti-fatty policy you haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention. Yesterday, a Michigan judge ruled that a weight discrimination case brought against Hooters restaurants could go forward.
When the suit was filed, back in May, I sarcastically quipped about fat people being a protected class in Michigan. Apparently, that’s exactly what’s happening. The WSJ Law Blog reports:
According to this story from the Grand Rapids Press, the suit cites Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination by employers based on a number of factors. Height and weight discrimination were added in a 1976 amendment by then-state Rep. Thomas Mathieu.
Mathieu originally introduced the height and weight amendment because he was “flabbergasted” by the number of cases of unfairness involving women seeking office jobs who possessed the necessary skills and personality, but were overweight.
Let’s all take a moment to reflect on the necessary skills and personality needed to be a Hooter’s waitress…
We’ve been doing a series ofposts looking at whether women and minorities are adequately represented on the mastheads of the nation’s law reviews. The subject is definitely a contentious one, and our posts have generated a high number of comments.
Perhaps we should shift our focus to underrepresented minorities (URMs) — sayonara, Asians — since women are actually doing just fine for themselves. And you don’t have to take our word for it. This conclusion comes from a report (PDF) that was just released by Ms. JD, which conducted a study of law reviews at the 2009 U.S. News “Top 50″ law schools for the 2008-2010 academic years. Based on the study, Ms. JD made the following findings:
The overall percentage of women who are members of law reviews, 44.3 percent, correlates strongly with the number of women awarded law degrees during the same time period, 45.7 percent.
The percentage of women in leadership positions on law reviews, 46.2 percent, also correlates strongly with the number of women awarded law degrees during the same time period, 45.7 percent.
But there was one area where women remain underrepresented….
This was bound to happen at some point. There have been countless associates who were promised jobs at law firms. They stopped looking for other jobs in reliance on that job offer. Then during the recession they were deferred, or their offers were rescinded. They are the leading citizens of the Lost Generation.
Do they have any legal claims against their would-be employers?
Almost certainly not, but it looks like somebody is ready to try to find out. The ABA Journal reports:
A would-be associate has sued San Francisco law firm Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin for deferring and then rescinding her job offer.
A clean test case on the issue of offer rescission? Not quite. As with most things, there’s a racial angle…
Today’s confirmation of Elena Kagan as the fourth woman ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court is a milestone worth celebrating. For ladies in the law, things are looking up.
But female law students and lawyers still have complaints. Check out a recent query submitted to the Dear Prudence advice column over at Slate, by a correspondent calling herself “Livid but Lost Law Student”:
I am a female law student who is employed for the summer (and potentially for the school year) at a small firm that I’m really enjoying. The law office shares a floor of an office building with a bigger law firm, and my cubicle is “on the border.”
All of the attorneys at both firms are male, but at the other firm, the men are far from politically correct. I have two issues….
Let’s explore this law student’s “issues,” shall we?
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!