Female lawyer numbers have been on the rise over the years. The number of female working in the legal field and/or enrolled in law school is almost equal to their male counterparts. However, more female lawyers leave the profession and find other career paths for themselves. Why does this happen so often?
One reason is because they are too connected. Being chained to your email can hinder your ability to handle a stable work-life balance. female normally have to balance working, family, home, and social schedules, and being able to keep track of everything can become overwhelming over time. Many female say there is a lack of flexibility in their law firm, so they choose to leave in order to become more stable.
Other females say they feel a lack of meaning in their firm. They might have chosen a practice area that is not as interesting to them, or lost their passion for the work they do. Finding a career that you love and challenges you is important when it comes to finding a perfect career choice.
Law firm culture and environment can also be another reason why a woman would choose to leave a law firm. If a law firm is too demanding or competitive, an employee might feel overwhelmed with the expectations of the firm, and as if they can not live up to what is expected Also, of the top 200 law firms in the United States, only 4% have female as managing partners in total. The lack of female in power roles can make new associates feel as if they will not be able to reach that level, and lower their motivation to work their way up.
Female lawyers may be facing challenges in the work place more than their male counterparts. However, some law firms have taken notice and are working to close the gender gap, especially at smaller firms. Last year, Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers released a list of the top 50 best law firms for female. Among the list includes Baker & McKenzie, Chapman and Cutler, Cooley, Crowell and Moring, and DLA Piper (USA). At these firms, nearly 78% of them have one or more female among their top 10 rainmakers. Also, 19% of the equity partners are female, which is a great improvement since female are less likely to become equity partners at law firms.
In the end, law firms are taking notice for the lack of female receiving promotions and have begun working towards changing this issue. As time goes on, we expect to see more female moving up their law firm’s promotion ladder, and an abundance of female staying in the legal field.