In Women Notch Progress; Females Now Constitute One-Third of Nation's Ranks of Doctors and Lawyers Josh Mitchell writes for the Wall Street Journal about some gains by women in the legal profession. Although the increases in women's salaries indicate progress, the reminder that women are not getting equity stakes is sobering. Our favorite thoughtleader on women in the legal profession, Ida Abbott, weighs in:
IMHO, respected leadership (and ultimately control over compensation) in law firms is largely based on dollars-in-the-door. It's that simple. Networking, leadership "training", women's initiatives and bonding exercises, etc., make a difference only to the extent they help women lawyers make and collect the rain.Ida Abbott, 65, a lawyer in Oakland, Calif., said biases against women were "overt" in 1975, when she graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and started looking for jobs."People would say directly, 'You can't be a lawyer because you're a woman, women are too emotional, their voices are too high,... they aren't tough enough,' " said Ms. Abbott, who advises law firms on talent development... She said women still face barriers to leadership jobs at firms, because advancement is largely based on hours worked. "You're really trying to break into an established network, coming at it from the perspective of the woman, when most of the structures are designed by men," she said.