Law used to be seen as a man’s profession, but in recent years, women have made up almost half of all law school graduates. Still, women lawyers often face struggles in the legal industry, causing some to walk away from large law firms, in favor of a more intimate relationship with their colleagues and clients, like the ones we promote here at Thacker Sleight.
ABA Report Shows Women Lawyers Looking for Places to Shine
A recent report from the American Bar Association (ABA), “In Their Own Words: Experienced Women Lawyers Explain Why They Are Leaving Their Law Firms and the Profession” by Joyce Sterling and Linda Chanow, took a close look at the different experiences of men and women attorneys in different areas of the law. They found that experienced women lawyers often walk away from large, highly competitive law firms at the height of their career, in search of something different. Many of the 111 women lawyers interviewed said their dissatisfaction stemmed from:
- Gender discrimination in pay and compensation
- Having the work they brought in claimed by the men on their team
- Being excluded from leadership positions (such as equity partnerships)
- Assumptions about their commitment to the work and their families
The women interviewed were up to the challenges that are inherently part of practicing law – the intellectual challenge and unpredictable nature of the work. But being treated differently than their male counterparts left many of them looking for someplace their efforts would be fairly rewarded.
Building a Place of Her Own: Connie Thacker and Allison Sleight’s Story
The stories told in the ABA’s report rang a chord with Thacker Sleight shareholders Connie Thacker and Allison Sleight. Connie spent much of her more than 20 years of legal experience at large firms. She is intimately familiar with their hypercompetitive culture and the struggles women lawyers face to make a home in that kind of environment.
Like some included in the survey, Allison Sleight found her ideas and strategies didn’t have a place in larger law firms. She struggled to find a firm that would adopt her innovative ideas around the use of technology to improve clients’ experience. Together, she and Connie Thacker decided to create a smaller firm, focused on giving their clients personal attention and better service. That firm, Thacker Sleight, has become a place for outstanding women lawyers to demonstrate their expertise, and build satisfying and meaningful legal careers.
A Focus on What Matters Most
The women interviewed by the ABA said that what mattered most to them in practicing law were:
- Intellectual challenges
- Collaboration with colleagues
- Opportunities to help clients
- Doing something meaningful, with social impact
At Thacker Sleight, we believe in those things too. Connie and Allison have built a law firm where our attorneys work collaboratively with one another and with our clients to reach satisfying resolutions to our clients’ family law concerns. We also thrive on the intellectual challenge of litigating difficult issues in front of family law judges, and on appeals. We come at these challenges a team, making a meaningful difference in our clients lives.
Our experienced women lawyers stand beside our clients, helping them stand up for their interests and their families at the negotiating table, before trial court judges, and on appeal. If want to work with a team who cares about the future of our industry, and our clients, contact us at 616.888.3810 to schedule a consultation.