Would you rather be well respected or well liked?

Apparently, women don’t have much of an option. Especially not women lawyers.

Now, bear in mind that I’m not making this statement as a product of my own conjecture. I’m reading this from a Newsweek article about the disparity in pay for female lawyers.

Says Joan Williams, a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law: “You must engage in self promotion but you’re penalized for doing so if you’re a woman.”

The Newsweek article speaks of the gender bias faced by women in the legal profession. Those who know me are fully aware of my thoughts on this topic. I’ve long been the Chicken Little, shouting “the sky is falling.” Well, perhaps it was not the sky that was falling but rather, the glass ceiling coming down lower.

The glass ceiling. No matter what women of previous generations do to remove it, it comes back with a force and with new rules. The Newsweek article atributes the glass ceiling in law firms to sterotyping, gender bias and even intimidation.

One of the factors contributing to lower wages for women in law firms is the so-called “origination credit,” that is, the amount a lawyer may get for bringing a client into a law firm. While some argue that women simply don’t bring as many clients as their male counterparts due to the fact that their family obligations preclude them from “golfing with the boys,” many women argue that this is simply untrue. In fact, many women in law firms claim that they are equally as effective rainmakers as the men.

Then why are so many women lawyers claiming that they are unhappy with the salary structure at their firms? And why do studies show that women lawyers make significantly less than male lawyers?

And most importantly, what needs to be done to change this?

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