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Says Hirshman Op-Ed Sullied Female Lawyers Dear Editor: I am not the sort that writes letters to the editor, but the commentary by Linda Hirshman ["When Women Don't Stay an the Job," Sept. 11]was so patently offensive that I felt compelled to question why you deemed Ms. Hirshman’s views worthy of publication in the Law Journal. I went to law school to become a lawyer, not to husband hunt, but I found my husband there nonetheless. If my female classmates enrolled in law school for their MRS degree, as Ms. Hirshman suggests, most of them graduated quite disappointed. My husband and I were among a handful of couples at our law school that met there and later married. I can assure Ms. Hirshman that if a husband is what you are after, having a few drinks at a singles bar is a much less stressful way to acquire one than studying contracts, civil procedure and constitutional law into the wee hours of the night. I practiced law for six years until our first child was born, and then yes, opted for a variety of part-time arrangements so that I could fulfill my desire to be an active mother and an active lawyer at the same time. I worked for a small firm, and for male partners who had come of age before women were a presence in law school. Their own family lives were fairly traditional. Allowing me to work part-time took no small measure of “out of the box” thinking for these gentlemen, to whom I am eternally grateful. But we all realized that we had something to offer each other. Together, I would like to think that we did our small part to change people’s notions of what the practice of law needs to look like. Our relationship spanned close to 20 years. During those years I argued motions, tried cases, and developed relationships with clients. I also trick-or-treated on Halloween, chaperoned field trips and attended every concert and class play. Winning a tough motion is an incredible high, but so is riding your bike with your son on a brisk autumn afternoon. How can anyone see a downside to being able to experience both? Today, because I was able to keep my skills fresh, and my children are older, I am gainfully employed full time, as an attorney, in a responsible and challenging position. Ms. Hirshman suggests that I owe my law school a refund because I worked part time for many years. I would reply that the only thing owed here is an apology from her to me, and to the countless other women attorneys who have likewise found ways to have it all, and thus have begun, ever so slowly, to change the world. Ellen Bass Maplewood More Outrage Over Hirshman Op-Ed Dear Editor: After reading “When Women Don’t Stay on the Job” by Linda Hirshman [Commentary, Sept. 11], I was shocked the Law Journalwould print such an article. While no one can deny statistics showing a larger percentage of women leaving the law profession, the article offered no substantive analysis as to the possible reasons for doing so. Further, the suggestion that women go to law school for the purpose of finding a “high-earning mate who will enable them to compete in the bake-sale Olympics” or at some version of “The Dating Game” is, quite frankly, offensive. The suggestion taxpayers suffer because a female, having graduated law school, may decide to stay home and raise her children is ridiculous. Ironically, the author herself apparently left the practice of law quite some time ago. Why did she leave the practice of law? Has she repaid her tuition to her law school, as she now suggests other women who leave the practice of law should be required to do? I seriously doubt it. It’s no surprise she was named number 77 on Bernard Goldberg’s list of 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Christine P. O’Hearn Westmont

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