Elevating Women in Law Firms: Practical Tips and Advice

By Kyla Lee

June 2021

It is no secret that women leave law firms and the practice of law altogether at a much higher rate than men. Data also shows that men are listed as partners in law firms in bigger numbers than women. As a profession, we must think about how we elevate and acknowledge the women in our law firms. Here are three tips:

Celebrate Successes, Big and Small — Celebrating the success of women goes a long way in fostering a culture where women are perceived to be competent and feel valued. Consider sending out an email at the end of the day to the firm congratulating people on their big and small achievements to boost office morale and the perception of female members of the firm.

Think Before Assigning a Task — When assigning a task, stop and ask yourself why you have chosen that person for the task. Are you assigning the task because it is a “soft” task that you associate with women? Soft tasks involve more emotion-forward or clerical work. Examples include the clerical work getting a file ready for trial, letting a client vent so that they feel heard, and handling organizational tasks. Keep track of the tasks you assign each person at your firm, and code them “hard” and “soft” to see whether there is an imbalance.

Make Space for Women to Speak — In meetings and discussions, be cognizant of how much space men are taking in the discussion and be proactive in correcting discrepancies. If men dominate the conversation, remember to solicit opinions from the women present.