Women need to be ‘more pushy’ to succeed in legal careers

10 Nov

Women need to be “more demanding and pushy” and ignore stereotypes forced on them if they want to forge a high-level legal career, according to a report in the Law Society Gazette.

The magazine quotes a panel of senior judges and barristers at the Bar Conference 2011 saying that more needed to be done to support women to apply  for Queen’s Counsel and senior judicial roles, although for some outstanding women not “even a ceiling of reinforced concrete would prevent their rise”.

One female QC, Nirmal Shant, is quoted in the report as saying that women needed to change their “attitude and spirit” and become more “demanding and pushy”.

However, while the likes of fictional female QCs appear always to be clever and formidable like the wonderful Julie Walters in ITV1 series The Jury, being pushy does not endear female lawyers to their legal secretaries, according to a separate report.

A survey of legal secretaries by law professor Felice Batlan – as reported in abovethelaw.com – revealed that 95% would prefer to work for a male partner rather than a woman. Their reasons? Because women get too emotional and stressed, they’re passive-aggressive, often act above themselves, and are perceived as too independent.

Analysis in the ABA Journal says: “Batlan suggests that women lawyers may be ‘in a double-bind situation’. If they don’t behave like men, they are perceived as too emotional, and if they do act like men, they are perceived as putting on airs.”

Seems like this is one case the female lawyers are destined not to win.


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