ABA Podcast: Fixing the Leaky Pipeline

by Angela N. Johnson

The ABA Commission on Women in the Legal Profession was created in 1987 and has become the national voice for women lawyers.  Current Chair, Roberta Liebenberg addresses troubling statistics and future plans to increase women lawyers’ participation and retention in law firms in a short 9 minute podcast available here.

According to Liebenberg, women lawyers made great strides but much work remains to be done. Women have been graduating law schools at approximately the same rate as men for the last two decades but women comprise only 16% of law firm equity partners; 14% of governing committees of law firms and just 6% of firms have women managing partners. 1/2 of all law firms have no women among their top rainmakers.

Liebenberg believes firm leadership must send a strong message that all actors (male and female) must be involved in securing equal opportunities and retention of female lawyers. Even clients can play a vital role in ensuring their female advocate is receiving the credit she earns for the work performed. 

Additionally, mentoring plays a vital role in career development – especially for young women lawyers. More seasoned female lawyers should reach out to young women lawyers to pass-on learned insights on office politics, work/life balance, etc. The commission is implementing a mentorship program by reaching out to 2L law students through an application process being handled by Ms. JD. The winning 2L’s will be known as Ms. JD fellows. Those fellows will be matched up with a committed female lawyer to serve as a mentor throughout their law school careers and beginning professional endeavors.  For more information about the Ms. JD fellowship, click here.

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