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Big Law Gender Gap: Re-imagining the Legal Workforce (Podcast)

Sept. 20, 2022, 6:35 PM

Law firms have a gender equity problem. Data has shown that women struggle to reach the upper levels of the profession, and that those who do had to work harder than their male counterparts. For example, two thirds of female attorneys say they’ve been perceived as less committed to their careers, compared with just two percent of male attorneys, according to a 2019 ABA survey.

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The reasons why aren’t a mystery: the pay gap, the “motherhood penalty,” legacy origination, a dearth of male mentors, and sexism, to name a few.
But what are the solutions? If the ideal, female-friendly law firm could be created from scratch, with an infinite amount of start-up capital, how would it be done? We posed that question to nearly a dozen people in the legal industry, including diversity consultants, law firm partners, ex-partners, associates, and women who were on track to make partner but felt they were forced to leave. In this podcast, they tell us what they’d prioritize and some of the challenges that can’t be fixed with money.

Illustration: Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Do you have an idea of how to create a women-friendly law firm? Share your thoughts with us by clicking here.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Schultz in Washington at dschultz@bloombergindustry.com

To reach the editor and executive producer responsible for this podcast, contact: Josh Block at jblock@bloombergindustry.com