A while back, I posed the question whether women at large firms have some kind of duty to rescue biglaw and save it from becoming the exclusive domain of white men. Well, here’s an article, Women Leaven which suggests that many women aren’t doing that. Instead, they’re leaving law firms in droves for greener pastures, including starting their own firms. Consider Mae O’Malley, who started her own contract law practice, and lined up so much work that now she’s placing other attorneys – to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue a year. From the article:
People were always asking San Francisco attorney Mae O’Malley how she lined up so much contract legal work as she juggled continuing her law career and raising three children. Her secret: As a former in-house counsel, she had built up a clientele, including Google Inc., and was ready for solo work after her third child was born. Last year, O’Malley, 34, created a company built on her strategy, giving her the opportunity to share the trick with the many other women who have asked about it. She opened Paragon Legal Group in September, and already has 20 lawyers working for her on either a full-time or part-time basis, 90% of whom are women. The attorneys make as much as $175 per hour and she expects the San Francisco-based company will have $1 million in revenue this year.
“We have several women who are leaving firms and coming to us,” O’Malley said. “We allow them to continue to practice with challenging assignments on a much more flexible basis.”
So…should women stay at firms that don’t accomodate their families – or leave? I think the answer is pretty clear.