Gender

Lipstick.JPGWith the potentially groundbreaking elevation of Kathleen Sullivan this morning, and the oh-so-tasteful prostitution and stripper jokes in Non-Sequiturs, it’s kind of been a female-focused day here at ATL.
It’s been a good day for gender equality, but let’s not forget that progress can be an incremental proposition. The City Bar of New York is putting on a little event for the ladies and — well — why don’t you be the judge?

Dressing for Success: Fashion Sense for the Workplace
Join us for a night that no professional woman should miss. Eve Pearl, five-time Emmy Award winning celebrity makeup artist, fashion consultant, author, and national TV personality will discuss how to project a professional image. From determining what is appropriate and suitable for the workplace, including business casual attire, hair and make-up, to demonstrating proper make-up techniques, you can begin utilizing what you learn the next day.
The program will be followed by a networking reception where beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Whether you are just starting out in your career, or have been perfecting your look for decades, this will be a fun and informative evening.

UPDATE: The event has been canceled. Kash laments its demise here.
At least there is a woman giving the advice. Maybe the City Bar learned something from the New York State Bar association about condescending panels of men giving advice to women.
Still, given the subject manner, what could possibly go wrong?

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NALP logo.JPGAbout a week ago, K&L Gates’s Peter Kalis called for the abolition of NALP. Kalis was focused on NALP’s well-documented problems trying to guide the recruitment of fresh talent to Biglaw. Kalis isn’t alone in thinking that NALP does an ineffective job setting out legal recruitment guidelines.
But if the organization can’t even be trusted to accurately report statistics, then maybe we really do need to examine what value NALP is adding to the process. There has been a movement, led by various groups of women lawyers, to get NALP to acknowledge the difference between equity partner and non-equity partner when reporting diversity stats. The distinction is important for women and minority groups trying to asses whether or not firms are doing a good job at promoting women and minorities to partner. You know, actual partners — not the non-equity “partners” who don’t get a share in the firm’s profits (and thus don’t affect profit per partner numbers as reported to Am Law).
The importance of becoming an actual partner as opposed to a non-equity employee should be obvious, but I’ll let Ms. J.D. explain:

Thanks in part to the efforts of groups like NAWJ, NAWL and MCCA, surveying and ranking organizations like Vault and AmLaw have learned to distinguish between equity and non-equity partners when collecting data from firms on stats like profits-per-partner and diversity. As you can imagine firms have an incentive to decrease the number of people they describe as partners when reporting profit-per-partner numbers and increase it to include more women or racial minorities when reporting diversity numbers. Firms care about the resulting rankings. We need to keep these firms honest to leverage the rankings as an additional force for increased diversity in firms.

It seems like the organization charged with collecting partnership data from law firms should be most sensitive to this distinction. But apparently NALP has decided that it will continue to ignore the distinction between equity and non-equity partners.
What’s the rationale for NALP’s position?

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northwestern law school.gifA few months back, the Student Bar Association at Northwestern University School of Law got its panties in a bunch over inappropriate language and the “unthinking use of stereotypes.” Saying that you were “raped” by an exam, for example, was offensive to some on campus, said the SBA. (They preferred that Northwestern students engage only in consensual test-taking.)
At the time, we asked:

Is there an epidemic of vulgarity at Northwestern that the SBA is desperately trying to stop?

Apparently so. The school is gearing up for its Barristers’ Ball, and students are offended by language all over again.
The vulgar words this time?

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more lady judges needed.jpgThe Center for Women in Government & Civil Society recently released a study [PDF] about female judges. Their main finding: there are not very many of them. (Duh.)

Looking at judgeships on both the federal and state level, women account for just 26% of all seats (5,015 seats), while men occupy 74%, or 14,335 seats.

The Center points out that the problem is not that there aren’t enough female lawyers: “Women make up 48% of law school graduates and 45% of law firm associates.” Update: As commenters point out, this doesn’t take into account the question of age. Perhaps “with time, this too will pass”?

Obviously, the answer is that men have the power and men suck. Or, as the Center more delicately puts it: “The gender gap cannot be attributed to the lack of women who are qualified to serve on the bench, but to the lack of opportunity and access afforded to women.”

The men in New Hampshire and Montana suck the most. And despite what Jersey Shore would lead you to believe, the men in New Jersey suck the least….

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Ally McBeal female lawyer woman attorney Calista Flockhart.jpgLast week we wrote about an upcoming panel discussion, sponsored by the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Women in the Law, that generated some controversy. The panel, entitled “Their Point of View: Tips from the Other Side,” was going to feature “[a] distinguished panel of gentlemen from the legal field,” who would opine on “the strengths and weaknesses of women in the areas of communication, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, organization, and women’s overall management of their legal work.”
After some negative reactions, including calls for a boycott, the NYSBA revised the panel title and description. We noted this in an update to our post (added on Friday at 6 PM before the holiday weekend, so some of you may have missed it).
The revised panel, according to the NYSBA, will feature both women and men. The new description of the event led Professor Bridget Crawford to rescind her call for a boycott.
But at least two “distinguished gentlemen” will not be participating in the new and improved panel. Details — plus a READER POLL, and highlighted comments from our last post — after the jump.

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Ally McBeal female lawyer woman attorney Calista Flockhart.jpgEd. note: Above the Law is a bit estrogen-deprived this week, with both Kash and Marin on vacation. So your above-signed writer, who is more in touch with his feminine side than Elie, was called up for duty. He apologizes for not being able to do justice to this subject.
UPDATE (6 PM): The New York State Bar Association has changed the title and description of the panel in question. Details after the jump.
Women in the law: you’ve come a long way, babies. Many of you are partners, even managing partners, at top law firms. Some of you are professors, even deans, at leading law schools. One if you is the Solicitrix General; two of you sit on the Supreme Court.
But maybe you still need some advice for navigating the mean, cutthroat, male-dominated world of the legal profession. Ideally these tips should come from, you know…. MEN.
At the upcoming annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association, the Committee on Women in the Law is sponsoring a program called “Weathering Tough Times: Strategic Planning for Your Practice.” It includes this panel:
NYSBA conference panel Their Point of View Tips from the Other Side.jpg
So, how do you think women lawyers reacted to the prospect of enlightenment from a “distinguished panel of gentlemen”?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hey, Lady Lawyers: Have We Got a Conference for You….”

Tiger Woods Rachel Uchitel Elin Nordegren.jpgUPDATE (3:07): The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) just held a press conference. FHP announced that Tiger Woods was found “at fault” in his traffic accident, guilty of careless driving. The fine is $164 and four points on his driving record. This ends the Florida Highway Patrol’s investigation.
FHP determined “that there was insufficient evidence to issue a subpoena for any further evidence. There are no claims of domestic violence by any individual.”
Hmm… No evidence, you say? It looks like not talking was in fact the smart thing to do.
* * * * * * * * *
Lawyers, members of the bar, law students, and others with a smattering of legal training: we all have a duty to stand up and defend Tiger Woods’s decision to keep his mouth shut. The mainstream media has this story completely wrong, and it is up to us — those blessed with a basic understanding of criminal jurisprudence — to educate the public about why Tiger is staying silent. We must explain to our mothers and fathers and doormen and bodega owners that Tiger probably has to keep his mouth shut, in order to keep his wife out of jail.
I’ve explained elsewhere that we are looking at a potential domestic violence situation. If some of the reports are true, Elin Nordegren attacked her husband, allegedly threatening him with a golf club.
Now this is the part that laypeople seem to be having difficulty grasping. Just because Tiger is a man doesn’t mean he gets to decide whether or not his wife gets prosecuted for domestic violence. Criminal law doesn’t work that way. If the police find that Elin Nordegren assaulted Tiger, then this process gets taken out of Tiger’s hands. Right now, shutting up is the only thing Tiger can do if he wants to retain a modicum of control over the situation.
Especially in Florida.
More details, after the jump.

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Sullivan Cromwell LLP new logo Sullcrom.jpgIt’s partner promotion season in Biglaw. This year, Sullivan & Cromwell is making five new partners — and four of them are women. Am Law Daily reports:

Firm chairman H. Rodgin Cohen attributes the growth in female partner ranks to policies, such as flex-time and maternity leave, aimed at promoting and retaining greater numbers of women, the NYLJ’s Nate Raymond reports.
“I think hopefully as we have more and more women joining us it will be the new normal,” Cohen said. “We certainly for a long time have been trying to promote more women and more minorities.”

Are diversity policies actually starting to work?
There is even more good news from this round of partner promotions. Three of the five new S&C partners are in corporate. Green shoots? That looks like a mighty bean stalk, Jack.
Female partners, corporate partners, this is all pretty good news for a Thursday.
S&C Promotes Five Associates–Including Four Women–to Partner [Am Law Daily]
Earlier: Can Remote Access Help Firms Make Female Partners?

Female partner bending over backwards.JPGThere are firms that want to make more female partners (and minority partners for that matter), but honestly do not know how to make that happen. Retaining top female associates through a couple of years of around 3,000 billable hours is just difficult, especially if those women want to have a family.
Over on the WSJ Law Blog, Ashby Jones explores the female partner problem facing Clifford Chance:

The issue was the topic of an interesting article this week in the UK’s The Lawyer. The focus of the article was Clifford Chance, which has pledged to increase its percentage of female partners to 30 percent.
As the Lawyer reports, however, “the firm has a long way to go.” Currently, only 15 percent of its partnership is female.

The Lawyer article explains that there is no quick fix to the problem:

“There’s no one thing that will solve the problem,” says Childs. “There’s no quick fix. It’s a long-term goal that we’re very focused on. It’s something that all firms face and there are many ways you can approach it.”
Aggressively pursuing a dramatic increase in female partners is problematic, Childs argues. Firms need to find creative ways to change their cultures and encourage females to strive for partnership.

Give Clifford Chance some credit here. You aren’t going to fix this issue without confronting it head on.
While firms contemplate their cultural impediments to dramatic growth in female partnership , Patricia Gillette — who is a partner at Orrick — sees one simple change that could make eating the hours a little easier for all attorneys.

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Lesbian harassment law firm girl on girl.JPGHere at Above the Law, we’ve reviewed a lot of employment discrimination complaints over the years. But this one is special.

The firm (like it matters):
Maron Marvel Bradley & Anderson.

The plaintiff:
Jennifer Braude.

Why you care:

Do I have your attention? Click after the jump for more details, plus Maron Marvel’s response.

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