Yes, Virginia, there is a glass ceiling at law firms. We know that women start to leave in their fourth or fifth year, with the result that only 17 percent of partners at major law firms are women, according to the National Association of Law Placement. (The same obstacles face lawyers of color.) The primary reason is that law is still a white men’s club — often, a legal locker room with little support for women without a book of business.
The turnover is costing law firms millions of dollars. They invest in bringing along women associates only to see them go just as they become profitable to the firm. From a strictly economic viewpoint, it makes much more sense to teach women business development skills so they will enjoy success and generate more revenue for their firms.
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