Although women have made considerable inroads in the legal profession over the past four decades, a review of their distribution in various types of practice in the United States shows that, compared to their male colleagues, they have been affected disproportionately by the recent economic downturn, although not in every sphere of the profession. This study reviews research, articles in the legal press, and online blogs that report women’s access to equity partnerships has been stalled, their representation in part-time employment has increased, and they are disproportionately recruited or diverted to positions as staff or contract attorneys. Women’s access to prime legal jobs has diminished, and they face employment strategies that no longer favor diversity in the profession. Furthermore, the recession has had an impact on the hiring and retention of minority lawyers although firms feel pressure to retain them. There is some indication of growing opportunity for women as corporation counsels in large corporations. There is also some indication that a smaller proportion of women are applying for and entering law schools.


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pp. 1169-1202
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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