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Nothing changes, everything is still the same

Posted by: Laurence Simons 22/11/12

Speaking of juddering ever closer to the December 21st deadline of our ultimate demise, to women in the law now, and nothing ever changes. Nothing ever changes. And no matter when the world finally grinds to an end, it seems that one thing will endure: the loomingly constant figure of '15 per cent'.

As the National Association of Women Lawyers' (NAWL) annual report showed earlier this month, the rate of women occupying equity partner positions in Biglaw is exactly 15 per cent, the same it has been since 2005. And this is despite a rough 50:50 split of male to female law school graduates emerging into the job market. Basically: the further along the partner track you get, the fewer women there are, until the figure is whittled down to around 15 per cent.

Why is this? Well, a number of reasons. But the most obvious and significant is another enduring constant: the old work-life balance. Women looking to have careers and also have families are, one way or another, being held back.

Hip-hip hooray, then, for the latest Working Mother/Flex-Time Lawyers' list of the 50 Best Law Firms for Women.  In among the top 50 are Baker & McKenzie, Hogan Lovells and Hanson Bridgett, all of whom have edged above the 15 per cent figure while offering other vital perks such as reduced hours and flexible working. It's good that lists like this highlight those firms that are making an effort. It's better when more firms actually do make said effort.