On November 17, 2022, Kirsten Scheuer Branigan led an important discussion for the NJSBA Women in the Profession (WIP) Section about women in the legal profession, the continued roadblocks to equality, and how to navigate them. As of 2022, most law schools have achieved gender equality in enrollment and law firms and courts have seen some increasing female representation among their partners and judges. Despite these important advances, women in private law firms continue to face significant challenges.
While women are entering law firms in greater numbers than ever before, many women are later choosing to leave their law firms and/or the practice of law. Studies show that, even though there are more women in the legal profession, their rate of advancement is the same as it was in the 1990s—over 30 years ago. Attracting women into private practice is not enough. Law firms need to find ways to retain and promote women and to compensate them equally. Without change, progress will continue to be slow and will disadvantage another generation of young women lawyers.
The program was designed to be a meaningful discussion about the current data, challenges, best practices, and strategies for equality and progress.