Women’s Issues

In November 2012, we brought you a story about a woman who struggled to maintain her job at a major law firm while simultaneously being a mother to her young children. She ultimately decided to leave the firm, and in her departure memo, she detailed her harrowing schedule — from 4:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., from home to her firm and back again, oftentimes covered in a baby’s spit-up — day in and day out.

When Elie Mystal first wrote about this Biglaw mother’s travails, he said, “In a way, this memo is uplifting. You can’t have it all. When you finally come to accept that, it’s liberating. You don’t have to feel like a bad employee or a bad parent for not being able to do it all.”

But what if you could have it all, and be able to do it all? A junior partner at a Biglaw firm, a young mother who once found herself in the fetal position on the floor while she prepared for a class-action trial as an associate, thinks that it’s possible.

Of course she thinks it’s possible — she’s speaking from a position of privilege, and likely has a nanny for each day of the week. Right? Wrong. Take a look as one woman lawyer urges others to keep leaning in….

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Juan Monteverde and Alexandra Marchuk

The courtroom battle between Alexandra Marchuk and the litigation boutique where she once worked, Faruqi & Faruqi, rages on. As longtime readers will recall, Marchuk alleges that F&F partner Juan Monteverde sexually harassed her, in severe fashion, and that the firm’s leaders ignored his alleged misdeeds.

But no matter who wins in court, it’s possible to argue that the firm is ending up the loser. It has endured extensive bad publicity, and some of the resulting instability has apparently led to lawyer departures.

Who are the latest attorneys to defect from Faruqi & Faruqi?

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* When it comes to billing rates, starting at the junior level, female law firm partners are still lagging behind their male counterparts by an average of 10 percent less. Boo. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Just in time for the graduation of one of the largest law school classes in history, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the legal sector is shedding jobs. That sucks. Sorry Class of 2014. [Am Law Daily]

* Law school deans are dropping like flies. Since last week, at least three have announced their intention to leave their positions. We know of one more that we may discuss later. [National Law Journal]

* If you want to work as an attorney, your odds are better if you go to a Top 50 law school. Seventy-five percent of Top 50 grads are working as lawyers, compared to 50% of all others. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* The verdict is in on the latest Apple v. Samsung patent case, and Apple is probably pretty miffed it was awarded only $120M this time, since lawyers for the company requested billions in damages. [Reuters]

* Laura LaPlante, a 3L who was set to graduate from U. Chicago Law on June 16, RIP. [Chicago Tribune]

‘This memo makes my head hurt.’

On any day of the week, it’s highly likely that a Biglaw firm will be trumpeting news of its successful diversity initiatives from any available media rooftop. The public relations folks at these law firms really want you to know that their hallowed halls aren’t completely jam-packed full of old white men — in fact, only 86.1 percent of them are old white men, so there.

Given the glowing alabaster hue of most Biglaw firms, you can see where it could be difficult for members of their so-called diversity committees to actually relate to those who are considered “diverse” in law firm parlance. We’re talking about lawyers of a different gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, but in law firm world, they might as well be otherworldly beings.

We’re told that some of these foreign creatures may be working in your very own law firm. If you’d like to learn how to interact with them, feel free to take some advice from one of the most absurd diversity memos we’ve ever seen…

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* 5 reasons why Northwestern football won’t really unionize. [The Legal Blitz]

* Law grad who failed the bar arrested for claiming to be a lawyer. So much for Jimmy Malone’s advice… [Albany Times Union]

* This morning we wrote about a lawyer turned babysitter. Jane Genova has some thoughts on how this story can have a happy ending. [Law and More]

* This is why you don’t get tattoos. [The Independent]

* Sitting judge should be on “high” court — listed as president of three different pot-related businesses. [Las Vegas Law Blog]

* The Second Circuit is not pleased with the secrecy of the Obama administration. [The New Republic]

* Corporette launches a new motherhood newsletter. She’s looking for guest bloggers too if you’re passionate about these issues. [Corporette]

* Another argument for killing law school. [The Week]

* Kash Hill looks at a Loyola Law grad who hunts down revenge porn sites. [Forbes]

* Lorne Michaels has a new courtroom comedy webseries starring Bob Balaban. The first episode is embedded below….

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The students now are generous, collaborative. They share notes with each other. I regularly ask students what has surprised them about Harvard Law School and almost always the response is how nice everybody is. I think the degree to which the students care about the world is very impressive to me. They are not just concerned about themselves.

– Dean Martha Minow of Harvard Law School, in an interesting and inspirational interview with the Harvard Gazette. Additional highlights from the interview, plus commentary, after the jump.

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Women continue to have a hard time in the law. Whether they’re being told not to show cleavage, dress like “ignorant sluts,” or wear hooker heels, they just can’t the respect they deserve. In an environment like this, where women are perceived as lesser beings and one is expected to bring baked goods to the office just because she happens to have breasts, achieving a sense of work/life balance seems like an incredibly lofty goal.

The Yale Law Women just came out with their annual list of the top ten family friendly firms. We cover this list every year (see our posts from 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008). This year’s list changed very dramatically from last year’s: only three of the firms have returned.

Which firms made the cut? Which firms had the best options available to both women and men? Let’s take a look at the latest ranking for the most family-friendly firms…

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Something like this is a no-no in several states.

* Leonard M. Rosen, one of the name partners of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, died earlier this week. Our very own Managing Editor David Lat once sat three doors down from this respected restructuring maven. Rest in peace. [Bloomberg]

* A judicial ethics board has recommended that this judge be removed from the bench because she once “sold out her clients, her co-counsel, and ultimately herself.” Oh Flori-duh, you give us so many reasons to <3 you. [Sun Sentinel]

* Gov. Christie named Dean Patrick Hobbs of Seton Hall Law as ombudsman for New Jersey’s executive branch. Congrats, but looks like Seton Hall may need a new dean. Update: Nope, it’s just part-time. Huzzah for Seton Hall! [New Jersey Law Journal]

* A woman working in retail was put on four months of forced maternity leave when she was four months pregnant. She’s due after her forced maternity period is up. Of course she’s suing. [Los Angeles Times]

* ICYMI, here’s a list of all of the fine states in America where blowjobs are illegal, but necrophilia is a-okay — or “anti-blowjobs, corpse-sex-friendly states,” as Adam Weinstein ever so eloquently puts it. [Gawker]

I’m not sure you want someone with my hourly rate making coffee.

– A California lawyer’s sassy comeback to a colleague at her firm who asked her to brew a pot of coffee.

This is just one of the tidbits that Professor Joan Williams of UC Hastings Law shares in her new book, What Works for Women at Work (affiliate link). Williams notes that professional women are expected to perform office “housework” — like “bring cupcakes for a colleague’s birthday, order sandwiches for office lunches and answer phones in the conference room” — much more often than their male colleagues.

Back in February, we covered a lawsuit filed by Mayer Brown that some critics called “disgusting” and “despicable.” The case challenges the placement of a memorial for World War II “comfort women” in a public park in Glendale, California — partly on administrative procedure grounds, and partly because the memorial allegedly “presents an unfairly one-sided portrayal of the historical and political debate surrounding comfort women.”

Filing a lawsuit that effectively seeks to deny the historical phenomenon of the comfort women — women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II — didn’t go over too well in many quarters. And now the case is back in the news, surely to Mayer Brown’s chagrin….

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