Advancing Talented Women in the Law Firm

I was at my monthly book club meeting the other night. As is our wont, after a solid discussion about the book (Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy) we moved along to other topics of import. The question about women in law firms came up, not surprisingly since I am a law librarian and another member of the group is a lawyer. The rest of the group were surprised to learn that, despite law school students being at least half female, the percentage of female partners in firms still falls significantly short of the 50% mark.

We speculated on various reasons for this discrepancy. I was therefore interested to learn that The Globe and Mail also recently explored this question on November 8, 2011 in the article: Why is Supermom leaving the firm?. The article explains the problem:

According to Law Society of Upper Canada statistics, women are much more likely to leave their law firms than men. Most leave after spending about five to seven years as a lawyer, before they make partner. The disparity is stark: Despite now making up 39 per cent of the profession in Ontario, and 31 per cent of lawyers in private practice, women account for only 21 per cent of law firm partners. These statistics are mirrored across North America.

I also had a note from the Women’s Law Association of Ontario about tomorrow night’s dinner, that they will be tackling this very topic. If you are in Toronto I hope you will consider joining them:

Please come out in support of women lawyers and join us at our Annual Festive Dinner:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Le Royal Meridien, King Edward Hotel, Toronto

5:45pm reception and 6:30pm dinner

Our keynote speaker will be Deborah Gillis, Senior Vice President, Membership and Global Operations at Catalyst. Deborah will be speaking on “Advancing Talented Women: Securing Sponsors and Other Strategies to Get Ahead.”

Please consider buying a table – we have many young women law students who would be most grateful to be sponsored at your table.

For more information and registration details please visit our website The program is open to all.


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