Why don't more women make it to equity partner status in BigLaw?

April 21, 2014
The legal trade publication I work for, Law360, is in the midst of a series about women in law based on some data we gathered over the last few months. The data, as you might expect, is not super encouraging if you are hoping for gender parity in one of the nation's most lucrative and powerful industries.

I can't give too much away here (that's what people buy subscriptions for!) but I wanted to quickly make note of something I discovered about the uphill battle to achieving equity partnership at a BigLaw firm while reporting my contribution to the series.

The biggest takeaway for me was this: while there is certainly the sense that women have a disproportionate burden to make the choice between family and a successful career — and in BigLaw as in other high-intensity careers that is indeed a choice many women feel they have to make — and this is likely a major reason that only a small percentage of equity partners are women, it's only part of the story. 

The bigger issue may be that women are blocked early in their careers from some of the vital client-making opportunities that their male counterparts have access to, often simply because some men still don't feel comfortable mentoring, working with or giving credit to female attorneys. 

To see what female equity partners and experts believe is behind the persistence of these ideas, check out the story — and others in the series by my colleagues, complete with our numbers on women in BigLaw at the 400 largest U.S. firms — here.
 

Girls View Sexual Violence As Normal

April 15, 2014
That's the title of a press release from Sociologists for Women in Society, which announced on Monday that a new study in the journal Gender & Society supports the theory that many young girls avoid reporting rape and other types of assault because they view this as "normal" behavior and/or feel they will be shamed for making a "big deal" about it.

The study, conducted by sociologist Heather Hlavka of Marquette University based on interviews with 100 girls aged three to 17, aims to go deeper t...
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To veg or not to veg? The jury's probably still out.

April 4, 2014
There's some interesting research being reported today about the health impact of a meatless diet. Specifically, an Austrian study found that people who ate a vegetarian diet had 50 percent more heart attacks and 50 percent more cancer diagnoses than those who ate meat. 

A little shocking, right? 

The debate over whether or not being a vegetarian is healthier than being a carnivore is ancient, but for those on both sides, the scientific evidence thus far has been largely frustrating. I think th...

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Growing Pains

March 15, 2014
This week, two of the subjects I follow most closely - sexual assault activism and critiques of the media - converged to create a tense (and intense) conversation about how the latter should approach the former, when Christine Fox (@steenfox) asked sexual assault victims to tweet what they were wearing when they were assaulted. A writer at BuzzFeed who has covered sexual assault extensively for the site put together a post using some of the tweets, and what ensued was what I hope will be the ...
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Something Big Is Happening In Iowa

February 24, 2014
A little back story: Like many colleges and universities, the University of Iowa has had a sexual assault problem for a while. Examples herehere and here. And stats here

It's not just a problem of too many rapes; many argue that the way the university handles them is a huge part of the problem. 

Whenever a sexual assault is reported on campus, students and members of the university community get a "Timely Warning" email. One recent email (forwarded to me by a friend) included this language:...

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Recognizing The Impact Of "Uncivil" Discourse Online

February 17, 2014

As someone who chooses to discuss her opinions online -- usually on my Facebook wall after linking to an article that invokes thoughts of sexism, racism, environmental or legal issues -- I'm used to having heated discussions with both friends and strangers on the internet.

The common advice for those who publish their work online is to not read comments at all, and for those who read online and discuss in forums like Facebook, the advice is "don't feed the trolls." In other words, don't engag...


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Journalism After Snowden

February 1, 2014
On Thursday night, I headed up to Columbia after work for the J School's Journalism After Snowden panel. It was the inaugural event in what, according to Tow Center for Digital Journalism leader Emily Bell, will be a year-long project aimed at considering how journalism has changed in the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks and the media's coverage of them. Bell also mentioned that the Tow Center is working on new tools to help investigative journalists with stories like this one.

The panel include...

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What everyone can learn from the Grantland "Dr. V" controversy

January 22, 2014
Just wanted to share this thoughtful (in my opinion) apology and explanation from Bill Simmons of Grantland, responding to the backlash against "Dr. V's Magical Putter."

When I first read the story, I definitely cringed, both as a journalist and as a person who has recently become more educated about what it means for someone to be transgender, and the best way to talk and write about it. I tend to agree with Simmons and many of my colleagues that Dr. V's history as a man was relevant to the s...

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Journalist, feminist, runner, cat mom. 

Living in Brooklyn, where else?