The Gendered Law Profession: The Perceptions and Experiences of Female Partners and Male Managing Partners
In principle, the legal profession should be an institution deeply committed to equality and social justice (Rhode 2011). Yet in practice, this appears to not be the case. Evidence is captured in a lead article in New Zealand’s influential current affairs magazine, which opened with the statement: “Legal Discrimination: They dominate the profession and are some of its best and brightest, yet research confirms female lawyers are often subject to unfair biases” (Vaughan 2016, 30). A journalistic play on words, perhaps, but one that has a familiar tone: the persistence of gendered inequities in the legal profession is positioned as a ‘women problem’ (Vaughan 2016). Here we argue that the problem is not the underrepresentation of women in the lucrative partner echelons, but the dominant presence of influential men and valued forms of masculine business practices. It is these masculine practices that underpin the business structures of large law firms and provide the focus for this chapter.
Gender and the Professions: International and Contemporary Perspectives
Human Resources Management