Monday, August 24, 2009

Young Women Lawyers: Participate in a New Study by the Center for Law Student Ethics and Professionalism

There are quite a few recently published articles about women lawyers' apparent "queen bee complex," "vision issues," and various other titles depicting "cattiness" among women in the profession. For example:

Why Women Lawyers Get a Bad Rep: ‘Queen Bee Jealousy’ and ‘Vision Thing,’

"Have You Really Come a Long Way, Baby?"

“Women Lawyers Feel Betrayed When Female Bosses Aren’t Nurturing,”

"What Women Lawyers Really Think of Each Other"

“Are Professional Women Managers Sabotaging Those Who Follow?”

Backlash: Women Bullying Women at Work,”

In light of these articles, we were intrigued to find out what a potentially competitive or less-than-desirable attitude from other women may mean for new law grads and young lawyers who are looking for a connection to more experienced women lawyers in their workplaces. We're taking a closer look at women lawyers' formal and informal in-house mentoring opportunities--specifically, how women associates are faring when it comes to mentoring programs:

Who is doing the in-house mentoring "on paper?" What about informally?
Is it working, per the associates' views?
What does mentoring mean to young women lawyers?
Do they tend to see in-house mentoring by other women as any different from being mentored by other women OUTSIDE of their firms or workplaces?
If it is true that -- at least to some extent -- women undermine each other's progress at the firm, then do mentees feel that they can truly trust their in-house mentors?
Or, are young women lawyers better off finding female mentors outside of the firm? And if the answer to the previous question rings true, then what does that mean for the effectiveness of women's in-house mentoring programs? Many employers are spending a whole lot of resources on these programs--but are they working? Are associates trusting the programs enough to fully take advantage of them?
And finally, if women lawyers DO feel more comfortable being mentored by other women outside of their firms, what does that say about the importance of mentoring programs (and in many states, the lack of programs) by outside organizations such as young lawyers' committees, bar associations, lawyers' help organizations, and the like? Should those programs be receiving increased focus and resources for maximum efficiency in the mentoring of young women lawyers?--under the premise that mentoring NOT done in-house may bring with it less competition?

Interested in participating? Let us know! We're looking for voices and perspectives from young women lawyers in all work environments and practice areas. Contact Ursula Furi-Perry, Esq, at ursula at

Monday, August 10, 2009

On Social Networking Sites? Careful of Your Conduct

Just one more reason lawyers and law students must watch their step when it comes to social networking sites: judges and potential employers are watching you!

In a recent article, the ABA Journal reports on a judge who "has seen lawyers on the verge of crossing, if not entirely crossing, ethical lines when they complain about clients and opposing counsel. And she admonished one family member who jeopardized her own tort case by bragging online about how much money she would get from a lawsuit...The judge's near-breathless accounts of questionable online activity by members of the bench and bar had many in the audience wondering whether Facebook, Twitter and their ilk are worth the headache."

Another article reports (yet again) that most law firms are checking out potential associates' online profiles before inviting them to interviews. As we've said before: the bottom line is that lawyers and law students must be mindful of their online conduct.