Wednesday, November 03, 2010

 

Utah Women Lawyers Push Change

The new report from the Women Lawyers of Utah is gaining a lot of attention (here, here, here, and here). Indeed, many of the findings are headline-worthy, including that only 23% of the lawyers in Utah are female, only 11% of partners are female, 23% of women lawyers feel they have been treated unfairly, and 10% say they have been sexually harassed.

One fact that isn’t making headlines is the energy Utah is showing for improving the profession to eliminate the barriers women lawyers face. As Cynthia Calvert has noted, the survey was supported by the Utah State Bar and leading Utah law firms, and it had a more than 50% response rate despite the length of the survey. (Disclosure: PAR was involved in the initiative.) In addition, the symposia that were held to discuss the survey findings drew large audiences, including leaders of the bar. With such widespread support, change certainly seems possible.

The path toward change was illuminated by the numerous and excellent best practices in the report. In fact, the report should be read by everyone, regardless of geographic location, just for the best practices if nothing else. They are practical, detailed and usable; there can be no hand wringing about not being able to do anything about the situation.

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