Overlooked and Undervalued: Women in Private Law Practice

Posted: 18 Nov 2016

See all articles by Joyce S. Sterling

Joyce S. Sterling

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Nancy Reichman

University of Denver - Department of Sociology; University of Denver

Date Written: October 2016

Abstract

This article examines the durability of gender inequality in private law practice since Kay & Gorman published their comprehensive review in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science in 2008. We begin with some of the changes in legal practice that intensified during the Great Recession and help to contextualize women's lack of progress. We turn next to a contemporary profile of women in private practice that demonstrates empirically where women stand. We look at some of the organizational mechanisms that seem to perpetuate inequality. The challenges of integrating work and family dominated the discussion of women's lack of progress in earlier reviews of women in the legal profession and continue to matter greatly. We assume the persistence of these challenges and instead focus on ways that the mechanisms or strategies for determining compensation systematically overlook and undervalue women's contributions. We consider the different social science frameworks that explain women as overlooked and undervalued for their contributions. We conclude with proposed suggestions for changes aimed at remedying the problems discussed here.

Suggested Citation

Sterling, Joyce S. and Reichman, Nancy, Overlooked and Undervalued: Women in Private Law Practice (October 2016). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 12, pp. 373-393, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2870901 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-120814-121705

Joyce S. Sterling (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States
303-871-6309 (Phone)
303-871-6378 (Fax)

Nancy Reichman

University of Denver - Department of Sociology ( email )

2201 S. Gaylord St
Denver, CO 80208-2685
United States

University of Denver ( email )

Sturm Hall, Room 446
2000 E Asbury Ave, MSC 0942
Denver, CO 80208-0942
United States

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