Law People

Recent Books on Women in Law and Balancing Work/Life

Two recent books highlight some of the challenges in building strong practices:  retaining and promoting women and balancing life and work.

Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women's Success in the Law (Thomson/Legalworks, 2006) by Lauren Stiller Rikleen, a partner at the Massachusetts law firm Bowditch & Dewey, reviews the lack of professional fulfillment and the unsustainable personal sacrifice that the current law firm structure engenders in its lawyers, and identifies how these struggles are even more acute for women trying to succeed. While Ms. Rikleen suggests that leaving behind the billable hour fee structure, improved mentoring and other changes within firms can start a transition, it is her opinion that clients and law schools are the ones who have the power to make radical changes in the legal profession and its treatment of lawyers, particularly women.

The ABA's "The Lawyer's Guide to Balancing Life & Work: Taking the Stress Out of Success" by George W. Kaufman (2006) explores the ways that legal practice supports or undermines all lawyers' quest for success, advocating a personal self-assessment to gauge expectations, values and goals and the use of an individual action plan to realize a future more attuned to those issues.

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