"Girlfriends of the Court"

Women partners: the glass half full or half empty

In Barristers, Career, maternity, Solicitors, women on July 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

In its annual survey of women partners, the Australian reports that one third of new partners are women here. The numbers of women making partnership are steadily on the rise. The Australian also reports that ‘family proves no obstacle to career’, with firms increasingly accommodating the needs of lawyers with young families without requiring them to sacrifice their career aspirations. Great news it seems.

But …

Compare the insightful opinion piece by Roy Williams  here, which questions the compatibility of the values of the modern legal workplace with the aspirations of many young lawyers.

In blunt terms: an Australian commercial law firm is no longer, for most lawyers, an enjoyable place to work

He concludes with 4 propositions, the final one is that rather than a ‘maternity wall’  women use their ‘common sense’ to bail out via a ‘maternity escape-hatch’.

Do you agree?

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  1. Although its said that “…cultural changes, including a greater acceptance of flexible work practices and a more rigorous, merit-based selection process, had led to more women joining the partnership” as quoted in http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/family-proves-no-obstacle-to-career/story-e6frg97x-1226090162530

  2. I think that this is challenging. I am a (female) equity partner in a smallish firm and I was commenting the other day that though our employment of employee solicitors is diverse from a gender perspective, there just never seem to be any women who are on our list of “employees who might be interested and suitable to take equity some day”.

    Some seem to head out of private practice, some to part time or other flexible working arrangements. It is not just a maternity thing, either, though often it seems to be linked. I certainly would prefer to have a more diverse partnership, but have no strong idea as to how the situation I have seen over the last 15 or so years might change.

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