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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ohiosphere Tale Of The Day (VIII): Wendy Hoke Wonders Why Women Lawyers Don't Make Partner

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Wendy probably has the answer, too. And she doesn't feel it reflects well on the legal profession. She thinks the legal community worships billable hours over all else.

". . . if you take time off to have a family or care for aging parents, you're no longer producing money for the firm and hence, become a liability.

"Not following the standard path? Seems to me that's cause for celebration and meritorious pay, not a hindrance to success. But I suppose if you break out of a firm's group think mentality by combining unusual interest areas -- hmm, say law and social work -- that throws the good ole boys into a quandary. I mean, what do you do with such a lawyer? Hey, quantity over quality though, right?"


  1. Ya's just unfair that way.

    Women (and men) have to make trade-offs when making big life decisions - like, "Do I have children or bust my hump for a partnership?" The vast majority prefer motherhood - thank God. Sometimes sociology has to take a backseat to Nature.

    The question should be: "Do you regret your decision?" If not, then there's no issue. My guess is that more women regret climbing the corporate ladder and delaying or foregoing motherhood than the other way around.

  2. Hi Joe C.

    Your comment is insightful. However, there are presently unprecedented numbers of female lawyers, and their ranks are growing every year. Some law schools have more female enrollees than male. Eventually, I suspect, there will be changes in how law firms choose and select partners because of the trendlines. I spoke to a 30-something trial lawyer today, a female. She predicted the traditions of her profession are going to have to give way because there are now so many women entering the profession. I think she is right.

  3. Thanks for the link, Bill. I agree that if more women are in the profession, changes will need to be made in the selection of partners.

    But I also think we make choices in our lives. For example, as we heard this morning on ideastream, Linda Bluso the much-touted managing partner, made the choice not to have children of her own. So one part of that complicated equation was not a factor for her career.

    Here's my favorite quote of hers from this morning's program:

    "Oftentimes they [female attorneys] are so bored at home [on maternity leave] they come back early."

    Bored? Bored? Exhausted, yes, bored, I don't think so.