Wednesday, May 26, 2010

National Conference of Women's Bar Associations

Here's a great resource for women lawyers:  the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations.  The website is a rich source of information for women bar leaders.  For you history buffs, the website has multi-media presentations of the history of women lawyers in the US. 

Their conference this year coincides with the American Bar Association annual meeting.  Both are in August in San Francisco.  I'll be moderating a program at the ABA meeting that same day but hope to also attend some of the NCWBA events. 

See you there?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maternal Wall, vintage 2010

Lisa Belkin wrote in this morning's NYT:  "If Elena Kagan is confirmed by the Senate, there will be three women on the Supreme Court for the first time. This is a measure of how far women have come. Two will be single and childless. This may be a measure of something else entirely."

The phenomenon Ms. Belkin writes about has been studied and reported on over the last few years by several academics as the "Maternal Wall."  It's not as widely accepted as the Glass Ceiling, and I don't think there are any awards for working mom lawyers like the women's awards (see, e.g., the Margaret Brent Award), but perhaps there should be.  In a field where it is thoroughly unremarkable to report on successful men who are married with children, the fact that a successful woman lawyer has children remains noteworthy is, well, disappointing. 

I continue to be amazed.  Res ipsa loquitur.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Haiku #17

Spring Rolls Spring Beauty
Spring Chicken Springboard and Spring-
Loaded. Spring Fever.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Forward Looking Business Planning

Neat article in today's San Francisco Recorder about Clean tech practices at the large San Francisco Law Firms.  The article, Making Green from Clean, discusses the size and growth in this hot practice area.  But what's most interesting to me, and most useful to young lawyers thinking about building a practice, is the discussion of how MoFo's current business group co-chair, Susan Mac Cormac, saw the potential in the practice area way back in 2001.  Fast forward nine years, and she's a leader in a hot practice area at a leading firm. 

That kind of growth doesn't happen by chance.  It happens with focus and attention to the market and the changes in the world.  Like Susan, lawyers who want to build a practice in a cutting edge area of the law have to look around at the emerging trends now, not the ones that were emerging nine years ago.  Trying to start a green practice today, when there are already top lawyers known for the expertise, will be tough.  Finding a new legal need and filling it isn't easy, either, but it sure is fun and satisfying.

On what turns out to be a related note, today is also YouTube's fifth birthday.  In researching Susan Mac Cormac's green practice, I was pleasantly surprised that she's also already there, with high tech networking and outreach.  Check it out:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Three in History

Hopefully by Monday we'll have the name of the next nominee to the Supreme Court.  I'll join the chorus with the Senators reported on in Roll Call, and many others, I'm sure, in noting that having another woman on the Supreme Court is a great step in the right direction.  I'm probably among the more extreme, in holding the view that only women should be nominated for the next several decades.  That wouldn't be as long as the men held all the cards, but I still think that the Supreme Court could function just as well as it did historically if the balance tips more to an even gender representation, or, gasp, included more women than men.

One can only hope.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Here is some food for thought:  A recent survey of women partners, jointly sponsored by Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and the Project for Attorney Retention at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, found, among other things, that 7.9 percent of the respondents had been "de-equitized." Asked why they lost their equity partnerships, the women cited a desire by their firms to increase profits per equity partner, their own problems generating revenue from client origination and cross-selling, and low billable hours.

More details about the report can be found in Gina Passarella's post and at Debra Cassens Weiss's post. 

It would be interesting to know the rate for other demographic groups.