NYstate wrote: A. Nony Mouse wrote:
NYstate wrote:I was speaking to the original point that women should be URM status for admissions because of the lack of women in biglaw. The number of women being admitted is not the reason firms have fewer women partners.
Right - I and many others have already said this. I guess I read the comment as "it's okay that women aren't biglaw partners because they're successful in lots of other areas of law," rather than saying "the lack of representation can't be because of law school admissions because there are lots of women in lots of other areas of law."
Ah. Sorry. I didn't mean that at all. Sorry for being repetitive.
It's no secret that many extremely capable women are passed over for partnership at biglaw ---which I don't see being remedied all that quickly. (It has nothing to do with being competitive or cutthroat.)
Also, at my firm almost all the women partners have at least one child. I don't think having children is a make or break factor.
I think what's difficult is that there is no "reason". At least there is no one reason that can be pointed to. (I'm agreeing with the above, not disagreeing). There's no reason to give women a bump in LS admissions, they are adequately represented by any measure. Law school is not where the problem lives. But you can't point to one simple reason why women aren't making partners in equal numbers (or, according to an article I read recently on this year's partner class, at several top firms, ZERO women partners in the new class). There are multitudes of reasons, all combining in various quantities in different parts of the country, in different firms.
Are men more confident/aggressive/cutthroat? Maybe. They are certainly perceived that way, and certainly perceived more positively by management when they behave that way. Women are constantly accused of being emotional when they are saying and doing the exact same thing as men do. Personally, I have never seen any of the female attorneys I work with cry or lose their temper. I've seen male attorneys do both. (we handle child abuse cases. They are rough.) So it really doesn't matter if men are more aggressively willing to 'get the job done' as long as upper management perceives that they are.
Women do the lion's share of housework even if the people work equal hours. There's a shitload of sociological stuff going on there that I'm not going to get into here, some of which women have a hand in creating for themselves. But to discount the institutionalized sexism and expectations that existed a mere 30 years ago just because you don't see it so blatantly anymore is crazy talk.
The point about the difficulty of women in accessing mentors and clients is valid. Even if the partner/client in question isn't a 'bro' who wants to go ogle chicks, the mere potential negative perceptions that could come from being alone with a (probably younger) woman having drinks/dinner eliminates that as a one-on-one option for many.
Women are also less likely to speak up in meetings and less likely to demand credit for their accomplishments. As above, there are a bunch of reasons for this, some of which lie with women ourselves (but again, you can't just discount the years of institutionalized sexism and the years of 'training' to be polite, quiet and ladylike when many women were children). Women's speech patterns are often more hesitant and more questioning. When offering ideas in meetings, women are more likely to preface their idea with something like "well this is just my opinion and I could be wrong but..." Do all women do this? Of course not. But there have been multiple studies about women's speech patterns and the influence it has professionally. Women can work on it, but at the same time, if you are too direct and blunt as a women, you're perceived as pushy, bitchy, etc because you're not speaking in the way people subconsciously expect women to speak.
It would be nice if the lack of female partners could be solved by just increasing the law school female class size, but it can't. But "men just want partner more" is also much, much too simplistic.