Lady Lawyer, Can You Soar in a Man’s World?

I recently spent a weekend by the beach with some friends, absorbing the sunshine and enjoying the beginning of summer.  A friend of mine invited one of his friends, who happens to be a ninth-year associate at a law firm.  We chatted a great deal over the weekend, and one thing was prevalent in her words: she is unhappy being a lawyer, as she believes it is a man’s world, and she’s having a hard time soaring.

It made me start thinking: is it really a man’s world, and is it really difficult for women to be successful in this world?  Oh.  Perhaps it is.

Let’s take a look at the big picture.  While more and more law school graduates are women, according to statistics provided by the American Bar Association’s Market Research Department, women in the law profession show that women account for only 36% of the profession.  There are many theories about why this is the case.  Do women, after graduating, simply decide not to practice?  Do they leave the profession after only a short period of time after realizing it’s not for them?  Or is their growth being stifled, causing them to seek other career paths?  I’m sure all of the different theories have some degree of validity, but let’s take a look at what women can do to shine in the profession, the things that I’ve done, and the things that I’ve been encouraged to do by my mentor, who happens to be a man in the legal profession.

While every woman’s personality is different, they are generally more timid than their male counterparts, a weight that sags their wings.  While it may be easier said than done, women need to break out of their shells and prove their worth.  Take baby steps.  One at a time.  And be persistent.  Here are some things for a woman to keep in mind as she attempts to grow her wings.

Give these a try, and you’ll notice changes.  And if you don’t, then maybe you’re just working for the wrong person, and it’s time to move on…