New York, NY, Nov. 14, 2019 — A first-of-its-kind report from the American BarAssociation and ALM Intelligence, “Walking Out the Door: The Fact, Figures, and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice,” addresses why senior women are far more likely than men to leave the practice of law.
The report, authored by Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf, shows that women surveyed were far more likely than men to report factors that blocked their “access to success,” including lacking access to business development opportunities, being perceived as less committed to career and being denied or overlooked for promotion.
“This report, anchored in research conducted in cooperation with ALM Intelligence, has the potential to serve as a basis for profound change,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said. “The nine recommendations serve as a roadmap to increasing a firm’s retention of experienced women lawyers. Women lawyers stay where women lawyers know that the culture, policies and practices drive success and career satisfaction.”
This important study sought to answer three related questions:
An outgrowth of the ABA Presidential Initiative on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law, the study includes input from more than 1,200 big firm lawyers who have been in practice for at least 15 years.
Male and female lawyers reported similar levels of job satisfaction regarding the intellectual challenge of their practice areas and the work they perform. But they had dissimilar levels of satisfaction regarding the recognition they receive for their work, the methods by which compensation is determined, their opportunities for advancement, the commitment to workplace gender diversity and the leadership diversity of their firm.
Among the top reasons female lawyers gave for leaving the practice of law included: caretaking commitments, the level of stress at work, the emphasis on marketing or originating business and number of billable hours.
The research showed that although firm leaders and male partners believe their firms do well in advancing experienced women, those women disagree:
“Walking Out the Door” provides a number of concrete recommendations for law firms to keep senior women, including:
“Among the many illuminating findings found within the data of this report is the stark difference between the perception of both managing and male partners and the reality of female equity partners,” said Patrick Fuller, Vice President of ALM Intelligence. “As such, the recommendations set forth in this paper provide an initial blueprint for substantive change, which will escalate in importance as the measurement of diversity-related metrics by buyers of legal services rapidly increases.”
To download the Walking Out the Door report visit: http://at.alm.com/ABAWalkingOutTheDoor.
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About The ABA
The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews