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This is a 50-page booklet produced by the ABA Commission on Women within the Profession supported focus group interviews with lawyers in over 100 law firms and corporations. The project was directed toward prescribing steps to correct the gaping discrepancy between female representation in law schools (50%) which the amount of female partners in large law firms (13% in 1995, rising to 17% as of 2005, consistent with a much-discussed ny Times article) instead of toward examining why that discrepancy exists. Lean, terse, and directive, the project hits its mark. Published in 2003, the book offers best practices within the following areas: Culture Marketing Internal women's groups Networking Work assignments Management participation Compensation The Best Practices Summary (5 pages) lists concrete steps that firms (and, often, corporations with legal staff) can implement to supply a setting and structure that supports women in advancing their legal careers. The recommendations are often boiled down into a couple of overarching principles: 1. Create a women's initiative and/or diversity plan that has buy-in from top management. Set policies and procedures to encourage promotion of girls and work/life integration, and survey to work out how effective these programs are. 2. confirm women are exposed to the firm's clients, to other lawyers within the firm (for cross-selling and referrals), and to networking and marketing events that are successful for business development. 3. Create mentoring groups and other opportunities for ladies to interact with other women within the firm. 4. Design a system to make sure that employment is fairly assigned and measure group leaders' success partially supported the career development of the lawyers they supervise. 5. make sure that women have a seat on management and compensation committees. For women seeking professional advancement, the ideas could also be summarized as follows: 1. Be assertive. invite the work you would like , the firm leadership positions you desire, the marketing opportunities, and client exposure necessary to advance. 2. Be aware. Know who's in power, know who's handling which clients, and know what things is for other women in your firm/practice area/geographic area. 3. Develop mentors who can guide you on your career path. 4. Be assertive and invite what you would like and need . (Repetition for emphasis of a key theme.) This book offers a wealth of resources for those seeking action items and concrete steps which will be implemented. If you are looking for more of a discussion of themes, experiences, and findings, you'll likely want something beyond this book; however , I'd recommend that any woman in practice and each firm leader of either gender read Empowerment and Leadership. It's even available as a PDF download, so you'll skim it tonight. For $25 and perhaps an hour and a half, it is a no-lose proposition.
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