Annual Analysis of Glass Ceilings at HLS

  1. Introduction

There is a long history of discrimination against women in the legal profession. In the 19th century, courts denied law licenses to women on baseless reasons such as women’s delicate health, the inability of females to engage in analytical thought, and the risk of a jury being unduly swayed by feminine appeal. While the first women finally gained admission to the bar in the late 1800s, female law school graduates still found it virtually impossible to obtain jobs as late as the 1970s. Even the indomitable Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was famously rejected from every single law firm that she applied to despite being first in her class at Columbia Law.

Even today, women constitute only 35% of the the legal profession and face significant disadvantages within the industry. According to the American Bar Association, women represent only 25% of managing partners at the 200 largest law firms, and female lawyers make only 77.6% of their male counterparts’ salaries on average. Women are also underrepresented in academia (comprising only 32.4% of law school deans) and in the judiciary (comprising only 27.1% of federal and state judges).

Continue reading “Annual Analysis of Glass Ceilings at HLS”