According to a recent article on the Kansas City Star’s website, the ranks of female lawyers are getting smaller for the first time in a decade, even when considering entry-level positions. Further, according to the Star, a recent survey conducted by the national Association of Women Lawyers indicates that only 16 percent of equity partners in the top 200 law firms in America are female, a figure which hasn’t changed very much in the last two decades.
Long work hours and a poor work-life balance are causing many women to opt out and choose smaller or more boutique firms, and it may just be wise law practice management to make your firm female friendly in order to attract top talent.
A Life-Friendly Work Environment
While many of the major law firms focus on billable hours and place major demands on attorneys, both male and female, who hope to make partner, this is not the only way to practice law. More and more attorneys, both men and women, are turning away from the high-pressure lifestyle in favor of a firm that offers a smaller billable hour requirement and a better work life balance.
If your law firm cannot compete in terms of the salaries that major firms offer, this provides you with a great window of opportunity to capture consummate legal professionals simply by allowing for more flexibility to manage family and outside obligations.
Big firms, too, however, should work to try to make their work requirements and expectations more amenable to female lawyers. As one expert quoted in the Star article indicated, some clients prefer women attorneys for certain matters; women tend to be received well in the courtroom; and increased diversity can help to increase innovation as well. Paying attention to this advice is just smart law practice management.