Somewhat unsurprisingly, men still dominate the legal profession, or at least the higher-ranking positions within the industry, with women of color being even more underrepresented than their white counterparts.
That being said, the situation is starting to improve with a recent study by the American Bar Association (ABA), revealing that women now represent just over 22% of all partners in the legal profession compared to only 15% two decades ago.
However, as you can see, this is a reasonably minimal increase over a relatively substantial amount of time, and therefore, clearly, there still is a long way to go when it comes to total equality in law firms across the U.S.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take as a female legal professional to help you make more of an impact in this highly competitive industry and to help speed up the current slow rate of progress concerning women in senior representation in U.S law firms.
Never underestimate the importance of networking
The saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know” has never been more true than when it concerns the legal profession, especially for women lawyers who need to not only build up a substantial client base but who also would benefit from influential contacts early on who can help them to make their way up the career ladder.
Client relationships, from the moment you start practicing, are vital if you want to win work and progress in your career as fast as your male counterparts.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
Not necessarily from other lawyers, although it can be a good idea to support other female legal professionals rather than see them as your competition, from systems and technologies that can help you be a better and more efficient lawyer.
For example, if you are struggling to manage your caseload or to give your clients the level of customer service that you would like to due to an abundance of admin-related tasks, you may want to look to a case management system from an award-winning legal case management software provider such as redbricksolutions.co.uk. They can help you to streamline your processes and take on more cases without adversely affecting the level of service you can provide.
Take time out when needed
Just because you have always dreamt of becoming a partner at a law firm, that does not mean that you need to sacrifice all other aspects of your life. In today’s day and age, it is perfectly acceptable to take time out to have a family or even simply to ask for flexible or remote working, which has been made increasingly accessible due to the emergence of new technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, and improved security software.
It is advisable to stay in touch with your work colleagues and stay informed on trends within the industry so that when you return, you do not feel too out of touch.
Speak up about your career aspirations
Women are often their own most prominent critics, and many do not like to speak up about their achievements, aspirations, and long-term goals. On the other hand, men are their own biggest promoters. Not always, but often.
However, if you want to progress within the legal profession, which is known for not only being dominated by males but also for its cut-throat reputation, you need to be able to sing your own praise and speak up about what you want to achieve in your professional life.
In a nutshell, know what you want, and don’t be afraid to achieve it!