Challenges of Being a Female Lawyer - Sara Williams ESQ

Challenges of Being a Female Lawyer

April 13, 2021

Gender inequality, even in 2021, is still a global plague that has eaten deep into all corners of society. At home, in schools, religious places of worship, politics, etc., women still play second fiddle to their male counterparts.

Unfortunately, this is still the practice in some learned professions like Law. That’s why Sara Williams has taken it upon herself to help young female lawyers thrive despite the odds. Through her platform, you can learn all you need to know about women lawyers. But before we get to how you can contact her, let’s look at the challenges of being a female lawyer.

Is Law a Good Career for Women?

The short answer to this question is a big YES! The legal profession is one of the best career choices for anyone with a passion for it. Just make sure you have the qualities necessary to be an excellent attorney, and you’re good to go. 

First, because more women are pushing for financial independence, the legal field is an excellent path to achieving this. Law is a highly lucrative career choice because it’s high-paying, and growth opportunities are endless. It can be a rewarding career choice for women who know their stuff. 

Secondly, the law profession is excellent for women who want to effect a radical change in their community. Lawyers have essential roles to play in all sectors of society and are necessary to forestall chaos in any society. Law is crucial work, and any woman would be proud to be an attorney. 

What better way to command admiration than being in one of the most respectable professions ever? Being a woman lawyer automatically comes with some degree of class and honor that no one would want to trade.

What’s more? The law profession is personally fulfilling and can significantly diversify your networking opportunities. It also creates tremendous opportunities for advancement in many life aspects. So if you have a flair for law, take the jump. It’s one of the best long-term careers available. 

How To Become a Lawyer

As a woman, becoming a lawyer takes the exact steps as the males. You’ll have to follow these processes: 

Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree Program

The first step to becoming an attorney is bagging a bachelor’s degree. Not only that, your undergraduate degree should be from an accredited university. If your university offers pre-law degrees, they will be beneficial to you. If not, you can take up courses in the arts and humanities like Economics, English, Business, Political Science, History, etc. However, regardless of your system, ensure that you make excellent grades. Good grades are prerequisites for fulfilling your dreams of becoming a lawyer. 

Apply to Law School

Applying for law school is the second step to becoming an attorney. However, many law schools require that you have an excellent LSAT percentile for admission. LSAT is short for Law School Admission Test and is different from your GPA. It’s quite a difficult test to take, and on average, you’re expected to have a score of 150 or more. As such, it’s essential to prepare and study well for your LSAT regardless of how high your GPA is. Ensure that you apply to a law school that the American Bar Association accredits. 

Pass Your Bar Exams and Be Admitted to the Bar

The bar exams are the final tests that law students take to become lawyers. You must also take and pass your Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). When you complete your law school and pass all your exams, you will gain admission into the bar. However, you must attend the Admissions Ceremony to take your oath as an attorney. 

Practice Law

If you’ve completed all the processes above, you are now a full-fledged lawyer. That means you can set up your private practice or join a law firm as an associate. However, as a prerequisite for maintaining your license, you must meet up the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements. 

What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Female Lawyer? 

Generally, the possibility of winning a case isn’t gender-specific. Instead, expertise, reasoning, and many other factors are responsible for success in the legal field. Judges aren’t concerned about a lawyer’s gender, and sex doesn’t affect competence. 

However, there are many cases where it’s advantageous for a client to hire a female attorney. No doubts, the legal profession expects lawyers to push emotions aside in dealing with clients’ cases. However, every client wants an attorney that would be passionate about their case. 

Furthermore, female lawyers are naturally more emphatic to women clients’ plights than men attorneys. Lastly, female lawyers are good listeners and know how to fight long and hard for their clients.

What Are the Challenges of Being a Female Attorney?

People of color have always had to fight against racial discrimination for a long time now. However, the fight against discrimination isn’t peculiar to them. Unfortunately, women lawyers in active practice understand what gender bias is, as they are regular recipients.

Undoubtedly, the legal profession is a male-dominated field. In 2018, a reportshowed that women lawyers made up just about 38% of attorneys in the US. Therefore, like with the minority in many institutions, women lawyers get the shorter end of the stick in many situations. While it’s bad enough for women attorneys generally, it’s typically worse for women of color. 

Have you noticed that there are far more male judges than female judges? There are also more non-equity female partners in law firms than there are female equity partners. That’s alarming, given that the number of male and female junior lawyers is almost the same. What’s responsible for the disparity in the professional growth rate of both genders?

Below are some of the growth-limiting challenges women attorneys face. 

Sexual Stereotypes, Racism, and Gender Discrimination

When a person is sexually stereotypical, they assume how people should behave based on their gender. This happens quite often to the detriment of female attorneys in law practice. The stereotypes around female trial lawyers are that they’re too soft and are ill-equipped to handle complex tasks.

These notions come from many clients and male colleagues alike. It also affects women’s career growth and representation in senior positions. Women lawyers also face discrimination in work. The situation is worse for black lawyers.

The American legal sector is predominantly white. Several professionals of color have had to bow to white privilege in times past, and the problem is no different in the legal industry. It takes a much uglier turn when the professionals of color are women. 

The Biological Factor

Female lawyers who wish to have children often find themselves in a disadvantaged position. Generally, law firms expect male and female associates between the ages of 27–37 to be at their best in productivity and learning. This usually reflects the number of billable hours they produce and how quickly they rise to senior positions.

However, achieving both is generally difficult for women lawyers who wish to have children. That’s because the same age bracket is the time when women are biologically best suited for reproduction. As a result, many women lawyers go on maternity leaves during the period.

But their male counterparts keep churning in lots of billable hours. The male folk also have the opportunity to climb the professional ladder in those times. When the women resume, it becomes a struggle to catch up with their male colleagues.

When the pressure of keeping up with their male counterparts and raising children set in, many women attorneys can no longer cope. This is one of the many reasons several female attorneys resign at their firms. This also accounts for why there are more male attorneys in senior positions than women.

Work-Life Balance

It’s a burden on women to achieve work-life balance, especially if she’s a single mom. The practice of law is time-intensive. That means long office hours and includes sacrificing family time for work, sometimes.  Many female trial lawyers find it difficult to have a life outside of work.

Sexual Harassment

It’s a shame that a large percentage of women still face sexual harassment on a global scale. What’s worse is that the profession that ought to fight tooth and nail against harassment isn’t devoid of it. A significant percentage of female lawyers complain of sexual harassment at their workplace from both clients and colleagues. This includes sexual advances, intimidating sexual comments, sexist comments, etc.

Wide Pay Gap

Even among women in leadership positions, the disparity in wages between male and female lawyers is upsetting. Unfortunately, this hardly stems from the fact that there are way more male managing partners than females. Instead, it comes from the fact that male lawyers are, on average, paid more than female attorneys for the same work. Also, even among equity partners, there’s a widening gap in both genders’ wages, tilting in favor of male lawyers.

Do You Need To Speak With an Outstanding Female Attorney? Contact Sara Williams, Esq. Now!

Regardless of the challenges, women in law can still build successful careers. Female trial lawyers can still get their desired client base while clinching as many opportunities as the males. While at that, they can maintain a work-life balance inclusive of female lawyers of color.

The key is mentorship from the women who have successfully beaten all odds to arrive at the top of their legal careers. It would help if you had guidance in navigating the challenges that the legal landscape throws at female trial lawyers.

Sara Williams is here for you if you need access to mentoring from one of America’s most successful black female attorneys. Contact us today to get started; you’d be amazed at how much you’ll grow in no time. We can level the playing field when we, as women, work together.

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