My Shingle

New Zealand Lawyers Get the Gender Issues

by Carolyn Elefant on April 20, 2006 · 1 comment

in Legal Profession Trends, Work/Life Balance & Women

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Gender disparity at large firms is not unique to the US; our colleagues down under in New Zealand share these problems also, as reported in Flexible work practices avoid gender disparity (April 21, 2006); NZ Lawyer Issue 38.  According to the article, women comprise over a third of all law practitioners, but less than 20 per cent of partners are female.  (which may be a better record, proportinally, than the US).

The same problems plague New Zealand’s women attorneys; long hours make it difficult to balance work and family.  But at least, the New Zealanders recognize a practical alternative (as opposed to many in the US who overlook the most obvious solution of starting a firm):

Practical alternatives to the burden of meeting chargeable time expectations include starting up a law firm with like-minded partners or becoming a sole practitioner or barrister. North Shore law firm Lewis Callanan is managed exclusively by female partners. Partner Rowena Lewis stated that managing a small law firm provided greater flexibility and the ability to opt out of overtime. She succinctly summed up the firm’s view on working hours: “I don’t do weekends”. If she works less, she earns less.

Maybe it’s time we look to see what other countries are doing to address gender disparity here.

  • Jacobson Attorneys

    Gender disparities in law firms

    As with any aspect of our society, the legal fraternity is plagued with gender disparities that ought to be addressed and which are often either ignored or are paid lip service.

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