Retention of women in private practice has long been a topic of interest for lawyers.
We’ve seen innumerable studies, articles and conferences trying to explain (or discover) why women leave private practice in such great numbers. We’ve also seen attempts at measures to ameliorate some of the stresses thought to push women out of private practice. The Law Society has engaged with the issue through its Justicia Project. So it should not have been surprising recently when I opened my Twitter feed to find a link to an April 2013 report prepared for the Law Society on “Leaving Law and Barriers to Re-entry; A Study on Departures from and Re-entries to Private Practice.”
The thing is, I saw this tweet almost immediately after a tweet advertising the Law Society’s upcoming conference on “Diverse Careers for Women in Law” (a.k.a. alternatives to private practice.) Now, I can’t be the only one wondering at the juxtaposition of this. Is the Law Society trying to retain women in private practice? Or show us attractive options to private practice? Or is it hedging its bets, trying to do both in about 20 seconds and 280 characters?
I was puzzling over the Law Society’s apparent confusion, when a happy moment of clarity came in the form of a third tweet. This one was also relevant to the issue of retention of women, if from an unlikely source. New York Times Fashion tweeted that low-heeled shoes are making a comeback on runways. I hear they have “just enough lift to be chic.”
Now if you want to keep women in the practice of law, it seems to me that New York Times Fashion is on to something…