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Women Quitting the Legal Profession

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Women face more complex set of challenges as lawyers. Often, they have to sacrifice their personal needs to meet a never-ending stream of professional responsibilities. Women are more concerned about achieving professional success while still having a family. The long hours and complex issues make a lawyer's job a tough one. Many lawyers struggle with maintaining a sense of balance alongside a demanding career.

In fact, as the figures suggest, in British Columbia alone, there were almost 260 new female lawyers as compared to the figure of males out there, which was 231, according to the 2008 annual report of the British Columbia Law Society. The fact is that women represent a mere 34% of all lawyers in British Columbia alone and only 29% is present in full time private practice.


Although an equal number of women graduate from law school, over 70 percent of them have left the profession by the seventh year, says a report released by the National Association of Women Lawyers. Only 16 percent of those who remain in the field are accepted as equity partners in major law firms.

According to the reports of the law society, there are a lot of women who are not likely to achieve parity in this particular career field until the year 2008.

Law schools, law firms, and societies have mentioned that steps are being taken to curb the increasing number of drop outs in an effort towards retention. One of the primary challenges faced by female lawyers is family issues. A major aspect in that is having children. A lot of men as well as women lawyers have substantial responsibilities to undertake in the family, although their goals are the same as that of men.

Often, female lawyers are unable to balance home and work. Another reason in the context is that law firms do not give them equal opportunities for growth. This is on account of gender bias which might be latent or unintended, according to the reports of a law society. One of the best practices that legal firms adopt to retain female lawyers is by pointing out that the female employees are indispensable to the interests of the firm. One of the remedies in correcting the rate of dropouts is by modifying the existing bias with the help of the following:
 
  • Impartial evaluations
  • Ensuring fair access to assignments
  • Promoting flexibility of the work space
  • Balancing life and work related responsibilities
  • Encouraging professional networking

There are various other reasons why female legal experts quit their professions while still in practice. First, they are not well aware of the options that are available to them, and sometimes, in dire shortage of opportunities, they quit. Female law experts do not look into the alternative work related arrangements that are present in various legal ambiences. Lack of marketability is another aspect that female lawyers face. This is important if you are planning a shift of your area of focus. Ethical constraints and the emotional nature of personalities are some more reasons why women quit legal jobs.


About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.


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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives


Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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