Working Women Lawyers Still Can’t Have it All, Now!

Working Women Lawyers Still Can't Have it All, Now! 2

Working women lawyers still face obstacles in achieving success and promotion at law firms it seems, following a survey conducted over a number of US firms.

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“Working Mother” and “Flex Time” magazine undertook the US survey and showed that although flexible working arrangements for women “on the mommy track”, as Forbes writer Deborah Jacobs describes it, are increasingly the practical result is that promotions to partnership for the mothers is still not occurring to any great extent.

In the 2014 survey, based on data from the previous year, none of those promoted to partner were working reduced-hour schedules at the time. In last year’s survey, there was only one. Even at the so-called best law firms, women comprise just 19% of the equity partners (the national average is 17%), and that’s just a 3% increase since the survey started in 2007.They have, instead, become “marginalized and underemployed” she writes.

According to the survey 20% of lawyers at the winning firms use full-time flex-time work arrangements, 10% work reduced hours, and 10% opt for job-sharing arrangements.

Some of them ultimately opted out of the workforce and others didn’t catch up until their kids were teenagers.

If data from the latest survey are any indication, women still pay a high price for taking time off the fast track. Most of the firms in the study allow lawyers who work reduced hours to be eligible for equity partnership promotion.

These results were especially disappointing considering the important role some women play in generating business for the firm. One question in this year’s survey was how many women are among “the top 10 equity partners of the firm who are credited with generating the most gross revenue from clients.”

Law firms do, however, realize that helping with childcare is also  helping to keep women lawyer at work.

Compared with last year’s winners, more 2014 best law firms offer backup childcare at facilities, sick-child care, subsidized in-home backup child care, and on-site/near site-child care centers. Last year and this year, 20% offered reimbursement for childcare expenses during business travel.

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