Just in case anyone connects the dots.

I wrote this blog anonymously. I'm still not going to reveal who I am. But, I am occasionally taking content from this blog and posting it on one of my mainstream blogs which is not anonymous. In case anyone ever connects the dots, I'm posting this here on the off chance they decide to accuse me of plagiarism. Should that day come, I'll officially claim this blog as my own. Until then, this is my CYA. Thanks. Ta ta for now.



I think I'm pretty much done with this here blog. Thanks for all the good times, the laughs, the tears..

For those of you that are interested in the whole "women in the law" aspect of my blog, you might want to check out one of the blogs in my sidebar, Sui Generis, which I noticed has recently begun weekly posts on finding balance in the legal profession. Or, you might not. Whatevah.



Law Firms smelling the coffee?

There's a great article from Law.com that summarizes much of what I've been saying on this blog: that the priorities of Gen Xers and Gen Yers are going to change the structure of law firms as we know it. The aging dinosaur is dying a slow, somewhat painful death. Hoo-yah!

From the article, which discusses the apparently increasing number of law students who choose to have children while in law school so that they'll be able to actually see their children grow up:
Tornabene's planning isn't an exception -- law school administrators and students say such careful logic is apparently driving a parent boom among student ranks. University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law's dean of students, Victoria Ortiz, said the school doesn't keep statistics, but her staff has been buzzing about the phenomenon...

Young people, mindful of the realities of working in the legal profession, are taking advantage of the perks of academia. At the top of the list are class schedules that can be arranged to leave mornings and afternoons free for day care drop-offs and pick-ups and the option to take up to a full academic year off without missing a beat on return.

Professors and administrators understand that students juggle all sorts of responsibilities apart from schoolwork, she said, including part-time jobs and internships -- and kids.

That type of understanding seems to be rare at firms, Alon said. Attorneys who come to campus to speak with students do well answering questions about the best places to clerk to ensure a spot with their firm, but they falter on questions about how their 5-year-old feels about their 90-hour work weeks. "They're very surprised to hear questions from students about work-life balance," Alon said, adding that the advice she gets frequently is to "work really hard and pay your nanny really well."

What working attorneys and firm managers are just beginning to understand is that there is a generation entering the profession who don't plan to pay someone else to watch their children.
Amen, sister.


Why womens' bar associations are worthless

According to this National Survey On Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms report and as summarized by Robert Ambrogi over at Inside Opinions:
Even women who achieve the status of equity partner tend to earn less than their male counterparts and play a lesser role in firm governance. On average, women hold only 16 percent of the seats on their firms' governing committees and make up only 5 percent of managing partners.
So, bottom line, even the women who "make it" have no power.

And that's why I've found that womens' bar associations are worthless for networking. No one that you "network" with has the ability or power to do much of anything for you. I've found that I have far more success networking at the local bar association where I interact with mostly male attorneys.

As I see it, the only women that have any "power" are judges, and even then, it all depends on the political climate. Although women solos seem to be more in the loop than women in law firms.

That's the sad but true reality. Law firms are one of the worst places that a woman could choose to work. And, as the numbers show, women are figuring that out, slowly but surely. Hence, the mass exodus from law firms.

And, I say--good riddance. Who needs the antiquated structure of law firms, which are based on archaic thinking? They're dinosaurs that are dying a slow death. The law firm as we know it is a thing of the past. It's about time.


Stereotypes and typical ratios

So, someone emailed me the following Gentile jokes (I'm Jewish--half my family is Catholic, however--my mother converted to Judaism):

A Gentile goes into a clothing store and says, "This is a very fine
>jacket. How much is it?"
>The salesman says, "It's $500."
>The Gentile says, "OK, I'll take it."
>Two Gentiles meet on the street. The first one says, "You own your own
>business, don't you? How's it going?" The other Gentile says, "Just
>great! Thanks for asking!"
>Two Gentile mothers meet on the street and start talking about children.
>Gentile mother 1 (said with pride): "My son is a construction worker!"
>Gentile mother 2 (said with more pride): "My son is a truck driver!"
>A man calls his mother and says, "Mother, I know you're expecting me for
>dinner this evening, but something important has come up and I can't make
>it." His mother says, "OK."
>A Gentile couple goes to a nice restaurant.
>The man says: "I'll have the steak and a baked potato, and my wife will
>have the julienne salad with house dressing. We'll both have coffee."
>The waiter says, "How would you like your steak and salad prepared?" he
>man says,"I'd like the steak medium......the salad is fine as is." The
>waiter says, " Thank you."
>A Gentile man calls his elderly mother.
>He asks, " Mom, how are you feeling? Do you need anything?" She says,
>"I'm feeling fine, and I don't need anything. Thanks for calling


Funny? Sure, for the most part. But what gives with all the sexist stereotypes? Loud obnoxious opinionated women--overbearing mothers full of guilt trips--boastful women. And, where are the corresponding stereotypes about Jewish men?

Sure--as a "race" we're all stereotyped as cheap money pinchers, but why is it that there's no negative Jewish husband/father stereotype that's oh-so-funny? Could it be--oh--I don't know--that Judaism's just as patriarchal as all the other major world religions, and thus the sexism filters right on down into the "humor"?

Can you tell that that's my take on it?

And, while we're discussing sexism--as if that's something new on this blog--let's move onto the local bar association's magazine that I just received.

First, in the "In the News" section, which is based on submissions from law firms regarding new hires, promotions, etc, there are 8 men mentioned and 3 women. That ratio sounds about right for our profession, dontcha think?

And, then there's the public service ad from a State bar organization encouraging lawyers to seek help for substance abuse. It states that 1 in 5 lawyers has a problem, and then, just in case we're too stoned to put 2 and 2 together, has 5 photographs. 3 men, 1 woman, and the "mystery druggie" whose face is blacked out, but is obviously a man. So, a 4:1 ratio. Again, sounds just about f*cking right.

Stupid profession.


No posts

Sorry for the lack of posts. Life got in the way. I'll post a few times over the next few days. See you then!


Getting back on the track...

Carolyn Elefant at Inside Opinions posted about a really interesting law.com come article that discussed the legal field's very recent attempt to make the return to law easier for women who chose to "opt out" for a few years. From the article:
Traditionally, it's been an arduous journey for attorneys who have stepped off the treadmill to get back on. "It's not impossible, but it can be very difficult for people who haven't kept their hand in, in some way," says Marcia Shannon, a career-transition counselor with Shannon & Manch, a Washington, D.C.-based legal-outplacement and legal-management consulting firm.

But the market may be lending a hand. With attrition rates for associates as high as ever, some lawyers are looking for ways to reach out to nontraditional pools of talent.

Both the American Bar Association and the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco are launching initiatives aimed at helping attorneys who have stopped practicing maintain their connections and ease their transition back into the profession. Two attorneys from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom started the ABA project, Back to Business Law, in New York this past spring. The goal of the pilot project is to give nonpracticing attorneys a way to keep abreast of major legal developments and to give them opportunities for informal networking. The program will soon expand to Washington, D.C. Ann Ford, the managing partner of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary's D.C. office, was so taken with the project when she read about it in May that she decided to organize a D.C. chapter.
Now that's what I'm talking about. It's nice to see that law firms are slowly but surely beginning to realize that in about 10 years or less, they're going to be shit out of luck unless they begin to get creative. Sooner, rather than later, I predict that they're not going to be able to fill the ranks with the newly graduated Gen Y-ers who seem to want more out of life than just cash--and lots of it. As I've said in the past, once the men begin to actively seek balance, then things will start look up for the other half of the human race.

Another interesting point from the article is one that I've also mentioned a few times in the past--the accounting field is an indication of what's on the horizon for law firms, and they're light years ahead of us:

Perhaps law firms should take a cue from the accounting industry.

"Law firms are using a flawed accounting system," says Williams, who, through her work for the Center for WorkLife Law and as co-director of the center's Project for Attorney Retention, has been trying to convince law firms that there are sound business reasons for them to embrace more flexibility in the workplace.

The accounting industry has come up with innovative programs to stem the tide of attrition it has been facing, Williams says. For example, one Deloitte & Touche initiative allows its employees to leave the company for up to five years while staying connected to the company and keeping their skills current through firm-sponsored training, mentoring, networking events and ad hoc assignments.

Other accounting firms have followed suit and adopted forward-thinking family-friendly policies. "The reason is that they do the numbers," Williams says. "They know how much it is costing them to churn and burn." They have realized that it is economically in their interest to retain and re-recruit the employees they have already trained, she adds. The Project for Attorney Retention estimates that the cost of replacing a second-year associate, for example, runs about $200,000.

"Law firms are driving up expenses by driving out valuable workers one after another," Williams says.
I can assure you that one thing law firm partners understand is cold.hard.cash. They're just not very good at managing it. And, they're aging dinosaurs that aren't at all comfortable with change and have a hard time spotting new trends. But mark my words, they'll figure this one out soon enough.

I have a hunch. A strong one.