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.