Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:13 pm

Captainunaccountable wrote:I hope it's acceptable to state that the average man is more cutthroat and competitive than the average woman (IMO). Making partner is competitive. Social norms & preferential treatment are certainly considerations in this debate, but I'd be willing to bet that there are less women competing for these positions and less that are willing to compete against their male counterparts.

Yeah, this is pretty much bullshit, because 1) it's a huge generalization and 2) it presumes what it's trying to demonstrate, which is that being "competitive" requires being "cutthroat," that being cutthroat and competitive is necessary for making partner, and that women engaging in the same cutthroat competitive behaviors as men get the same results as men.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:25 pm

hohenheim wrote:Can you source? NALP is suggesting that in 2011 (and 2010) it was 19.x% for each size of law firm (<100,101-250,etc.). Maybe it's changed since then? Seems unlikely, but it's possible
http://www.nalp.org/2011_law_firm_diversity

Here are sources: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... ransparen/ & http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... w_5_firms/

I think the 19% figure must come from lumping together both equity and nonequity partners.

hohenheim wrote:I think he just wanted to use basis points - which probably makes the most sense in this kind of comparison anyway - and this was the quickest way to state it. Feel free to correct, reg

I'm sure "using basis points" is exactly what reg was doing. But how convenient that the metric you use just happens to be the one that makes the gap seem smallest.

Actually, just realized the most useful way to look at the gap between male and female partners would be to compare the change in the "difference" column of my little chart, since that takes into account the fact that there are more male associates than female associates in the first place. This would tell us that there are 77.9% fewer female partners than expected.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Captainunaccountable » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:35 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Captainunaccountable wrote:I hope it's acceptable to state that the average man is more cutthroat and competitive than the average woman (IMO). Making partner is competitive. Social norms & preferential treatment are certainly considerations in this debate, but I'd be willing to bet that there are less women competing for these positions and less that are willing to compete against their male counterparts.

Yeah, this is pretty much bullshit, because 1) it's a huge generalization and 2) it presumes what it's trying to demonstrate, which is that being "competitive" requires being "cutthroat," that being cutthroat and competitive is necessary for making partner, and that women engaging in the same cutthroat competitive behaviors as men get the same results as men.


My point is not as strict as you make it out to be. I'm not attempting to say that it's a 'requirement'. Nor am I saying that women will necessarily get the same results as men if they were to be cutthroat. I'm suggesting that it is a factor to consider that has not been mentioned on this thread.

More cutthroat/competitive-> Stronger likelihood to make partner
Male tendency to be more cutthroat/competitive than woman-> Stronger likelihood to make partner

Of course, I AM NOT saying that women are, by their nature, less competitive; but I think it would be hard to deny that men have a tendency to be moreso competitive. I mean, at least from my experiences in school/life.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:38 pm

Captainunaccountable wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Captainunaccountable wrote:I hope it's acceptable to state that the average man is more cutthroat and competitive than the average woman (IMO). Making partner is competitive. Social norms & preferential treatment are certainly considerations in this debate, but I'd be willing to bet that there are less women competing for these positions and less that are willing to compete against their male counterparts.

Yeah, this is pretty much bullshit, because 1) it's a huge generalization and 2) it presumes what it's trying to demonstrate, which is that being "competitive" requires being "cutthroat," that being cutthroat and competitive is necessary for making partner, and that women engaging in the same cutthroat competitive behaviors as men get the same results as men.


My point is not as strict as you make it out to be. I'm not attempting to say that it's a 'requirement'. Nor am I saying that women will necessarily get the same results as men if they were to be cutthroat. I'm suggesting that it is a factor to consider that has not been mentioned on this thread.

More cutthroat/competitive-> Stronger likelihood to make partner
Male tendency to be more cutthroat/competitive than woman-> Stronger likelihood to make partner

Of course, I AM NOT saying that women are, by their nature, less competitive; but I think it would be hard to deny that men have a tendency to be moreso competitive. I mean, at least from my experiences in school/life.

Maybe what you think "competitive" looks like differs from men to women.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby hohenheim » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:46 pm

iamgeorgebush wrote:
hohenheim wrote:Can you source? NALP is suggesting that in 2011 (and 2010) it was 19.x% for each size of law firm (<100,101-250,etc.). Maybe it's changed since then? Seems unlikely, but it's possible
http://www.nalp.org/2011_law_firm_diversity

Here are sources: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... ransparen/ & http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... w_5_firms/

I think the 19% figure must come from lumping together both equity and nonequity partners.

Yeah, makes sense. Thanks for the quick links.

iamgeorgebush wrote:
hohenheim wrote:I think he just wanted to use basis points - which probably makes the most sense in this kind of comparison anyway - and this was the quickest way to state it. Feel free to correct, reg

I'm sure "using basis points" is exactly what reg was doing. But how convenient that the metric you use just happens to be the one that makes the gap seem smallest.

Actually, just realized the most useful way to look at the gap between male and female partners would be to compare the change in the "difference" column of my little chart, since that takes into account the fact that there are more male associates than female associates in the first place. This would tell us that there are 77.9% fewer female partners than expected.

Hmm, I don't think that particular figure is super useful, since the really significant statistic is the low female associate-to-partner conversion rate. Like kappycaft1 showed, the associate gender ratios already basically track law school demographics. If you prefer percent change instead of basis points, then the -66.7% would work, though

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:47 pm

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:50 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:To use some bullshit anecdotal evidence of my own, before law school, I worked in a field (engineering) where there were even fewer females than in law, and it was rare to see a female in management. However, it was also rare to see a male employee cry, or yell at people in public (actually, I never saw that at work), whereas the hours and stress got to a lot of my female coworkers and they would display emotions openly a lot more often. This might be what you described above under "different styles of leadership," but management pretty much decided that those individuals were too emotional to be in charge of a group of people; this was pretty much universally true where I worked in regards to the female employees.

Dude, this kind of assessment is entirely about gendered assumptions about leadership. (Also, you're telling me that men don't yell at people in public? There are all kinds of stories on this site about screamer male partners.)

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby NYstate » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:53 pm

Captainunaccountable wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Captainunaccountable wrote:I hope it's acceptable to state that the average man is more cutthroat and competitive than the average woman (IMO). Making partner is competitive. Social norms & preferential treatment are certainly considerations in this debate, but I'd be willing to bet that there are less women competing for these positions and less that are willing to compete against their male counterparts.

Yeah, this is pretty much bullshit, because 1) it's a huge generalization and 2) it presumes what it's trying to demonstrate, which is that being "competitive" requires being "cutthroat," that being cutthroat and competitive is necessary for making partner, and that women engaging in the same cutthroat competitive behaviors as men get the same results as men.


My point is not as strict as you make it out to be. I'm not attempting to say that it's a 'requirement'. Nor am I saying that women will necessarily get the same results as men if they were to be cutthroat. I'm suggesting that it is a factor to consider that has not been mentioned on this thread.

More cutthroat/competitive-> Stronger likelihood to make partner
Male tendency to be more cutthroat/competitive than woman-> Stronger likelihood to make partner

Of course, I AM NOT saying that women are, by their nature, less competitive; but I think it would be hard to deny that men have a tendency to be moreso competitive. I mean, at least from my experiences in school/life.


Where do you get that being cutthroat is the determining factor in making partner??
Also,at big law firms the competition to make partner is within practice groups, often there are just as many women up for partner within a group as there are men. We are talking about a small number of people here.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby sublime » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:57 pm

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:01 am

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby drawstring » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:03 am

Doesn't make him look like a douche to me given why he used that argument.

edit: this post looks ridiculous because the post I was responding to was deleted

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Lwoods1020 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:06 am

a woman as a URM... seriously? women make up about half if not more at just about every school...

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:07 am

kappycaft1 wrote: :P I was purposely making a bad blanket argument there at the end to show how easy it is to make anecdotal arguments without backing them up with some sort of data.

Okay. I still don't actually get how that statement serves that purpose, but that's probably just me.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Kimikho » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:08 am

Lwoods1020 wrote:a woman as a URM... seriously? women make up about half if not more at just about every school...


Uh...no. That's completely wrong. Most schools are male-majority; you can look it up on LSAC (I would actually do it and put it up, but my computer is slow and it's really easy to find).

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:13 am

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:05 am

drawstring wrote:Doesn't make him look like a douche to me given why he used that argument.

edit: this post looks ridiculous because the post I was responding to was deleted


I deleted it because I don't like calling people names. He should have used an example that didn't reflect badly on himself.

It is more than a little ridiculous for people who have never even been inside a biglaw firm to start making arguments about why women are not making partner at the same rate as men. But that's just me.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:45 am

scoobers wrote:
Lwoods1020 wrote:a woman as a URM... seriously? women make up about half if not more at just about every school...


Uh...no. That's completely wrong. Most schools are male-majority; you can look it up on LSAC (I would actually do it and put it up, but my computer is slow and it's really easy to find).


True. It's hardly a staggering imbalance at most schools, though. It's at least pretty close.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:05 am

Psingh wrote:Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM when these groups are clearly underrepresented in the legal field? For example there are more male attorneys and more male partners than female/transgender partners at big firms. So would it not make sense to in addition to accepting more African Americans, to also admit more women to law school to balance the scale?


There are many successful women lawyers you can't just look at biglaw or firm figures. I was shocked when I was as a bar association meeting and found out the vast majority of lawyers in New York are solo practitioners. Just looking at biglaw ignores all the women practicing in small firms.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:21 am

NYstate wrote:
Psingh wrote:Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM when these groups are clearly underrepresented in the legal field? For example there are more male attorneys and more male partners than female/transgender partners at big firms. So would it not make sense to in addition to accepting more African Americans, to also admit more women to law school to balance the scale?


There are many successful women lawyers you can't just look at biglaw or firm figures. I was shocked when I was as a bar association meeting and found out the vast majority of lawyers in New York are solo practitioners. Just looking at biglaw ignores all the women practicing in small firms.

This is true, but it's also clear that the power and prestige of the legal profession is centered in biglaw, where women are underrepresented.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:31 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Psingh wrote:Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM when these groups are clearly underrepresented in the legal field? For example there are more male attorneys and more male partners than female/transgender partners at big firms. So would it not make sense to in addition to accepting more African Americans, to also admit more women to law school to balance the scale?


There are many successful women lawyers you can't just look at biglaw or firm figures. I was shocked when I was as a bar association meeting and found out the vast majority of lawyers in New York are solo practitioners. Just looking at biglaw ignores all the women practicing in small firms.

This is true, but it's also clear that the power and prestige of the legal profession is centered in biglaw, where women are underrepresented.


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.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:41 am

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."

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby chneyo » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:44 am

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:49 am

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.
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:54 am

Sorry, didn't mean you were being a pain, just that's why I read your statement like that. The point about solos is important.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby sidhesadie » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:53 am

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.




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