September 20, 2005
Stay-at-Home Lawyers
Posted by Gordon Smith

From the NYT:

Cynthia Liu is precisely the kind of high achiever Yale wants: smart (1510 SAT), disciplined (4.0 grade point average), competitive (finalist in Texas oratory competition), musical (pianist), athletic (runner) and altruistic (hospital volunteer). And at the start of her sophomore year at Yale, Ms. Liu is full of ambition, planning to go to law school.

The article is striking in many ways, but I was surprised by the number of women interviewed who were planning to combine family with a career in law. I count five.

Is this just sample bias? Or does law -- which has been cultivating a reputation for job dissatisfaction -- hold some special appeal for women who aspire to have a career and a family?

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Comments (6)

1. Posted by Christine on September 20, 2005 @ 8:36 | Permalink

Although the article doesn't use this term, I have heard it said that the J.D. is today's M.R.S. degree. As has been noted in the blogosphere lately, the J.D. is a general, liberal arts degree. In a culture where women in a certain socioeconomic class didn't get married at 18, college was a good thing to do to get some education and meet some nice people before marrying at 22. Now, maybe women don't always marry at 22, so law school is a nice thing to do to get some education and meet some nice people before marrying at 26 or 27. I'm not saying this to be mean; I have many good friends who went to law school who never intended on practicing law once they had children. But, they didn't want to get married and have kids at 22. In fact, few of the women that I started practicing with in 1993 work now.

2. Posted by David T on September 20, 2005 @ 11:01 | Permalink

At least certain aspects of law (notably research and writing) lend themselves especially well to working at home--you can find practicaly all the cases you need on your home computer by subscribing to services like Westlaw or Lexis.

3. Posted by Barb W. on September 20, 2005 @ 12:15 | Permalink


4. Posted by Laura G. on September 20, 2005 @ 14:01 | Permalink

Ahhh. Stay-at-home (women) lawyers. My favorite topic. Possibly because I am one. My take is that women entering law school DESIRE to combine family and law, but have no idea what that means. My experience is that this is very difficult to do and many of my women friends from law school have left private practice (and law all-together) after having kids. So, do law school classes consisting of 50% women mean that, in the future, 50% of firm partnerships will be held by women (as many folks so desire)? Not unless firms become more progressive with job-share, part-time and other flexible work policies ... and law students/prospective law students are educated about what will be expected of them in private practice.

5. Posted by Bob on September 20, 2006 @ 23:20 | Permalink

Have no fear! I happen to personlly know a good friend of Cynthia Liu's mom, and this friend raised two children while working full time throughout motherhood. How'd her two kids turn out? Her daughter is a dentist (and married to a dentist!) and her son started med school this year. Both have equal or better SAT scores than Ms. Liu, both are musicians, playing piano from ages 6 to 16, and both to this day attend Sunday church services. The mom has a Master's in Computer Science and a Master's in Biochemistry, and is published several times in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Her career as a computer programmer (after several years in biochem research on cancer, that led to being published) has been rewarding. True, she hasn't become a director or VP in her IT world, but she is very successful and does aok, and her two children are well-grounded, successful, outgoing charismatic types who light up a room.

6. Posted by legalsupport on March 24, 2010 @ 7:25 | Permalink

Hi I have read your article It's quiet impressive.Nowadays choosing law as career is an int resting options, dealing with legal matter some times make life miserable .the only one who can help you to get out of this situation is lawyer.
For more details visit Legal Support

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