The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an article about women lawyers re-entering the workforce after an average of a three year break--what I like to call my "hiatus from the law". Some of the statistics in the article (italicized in the excerpt below) are eye opening.
The article takes the position that the existence of re-entry programs is evidence that the legal profession is slowly, but surely, adapting to accommodate women lawyers (and their apparently "unique" and heretofore unheard of (at least in the legal arena) reproductive cycles and childbearing years).
While I think that the programs are an important step, I'm not entirely convinced that law firms purport to participate in the programs are offering up anything more than mere lip service.
But, I could be wrong. In fact, I hope I am. Time will tell.
From the article:
Female lawyers who leave demanding careers to raise children or care for family members might want to jump back in to their profession a few years later but often don't feel confident enough or prepared to return to the practice of law.
Although it's an issue that's left many female lawyers searching for answers, there are signs that the legal industry is beginning to take steps to tap into a vast female talent pool they've largely ignored, said a legal consultant who specializes in work-life balance issues and the retention and promotion of women attorneys...
About 42 percent of female lawyers nationwide take time off from their careers apart from their maternity leave during the course of their careers, Ms. Henry said. On the average, they stay off the job for three years, she said...
Some law firms also have begun to develop re-entry policies for "talented alumni they could potentially recruit back."
With women comprising about half of all law school graduates, "this issue has to be at the forefront of law firm management," she said.