Parenting v. working
With her three children approaching school age, lawyer Sarah Hyndman
Fitzpatrick felt an urge to resume her career.
She ran smack into the same professional brick wall that has stopped
numerous female lawyers before her. "There was absolutely nothing for me,"
Ms. Fitzpatrick recalled. "Nowhere to go. Nowhere to network. No way to
understand what opportunities there were."
It's a familiar story in a profession that has lagged behind most others
when it comes to retaining women. The culture of law firms remains firmly
rooted in punishing hours, a dominant male hierarchy and a suspicion of
women who crave a balance between work and family.
While Ms. Fitzpatrick caught a lucky break - an acquaintance who was
winding up her small law practice in estates and wills offered it to her -
many others are less fortunate.
"Women are still leaving private practice in higher numbers than men," said
Laurie Pawlitza, co-chair of a Law Society of Upper Canada group that recently
studied the problem. "We have a long way to go. It is a significant problem, and
we have to be smart about responding to it."
In a sign that a change is coming, 52 Ontario law firms have just signed on
to a detailed commitment to better accommodate women. Inspired by Ms. Pawlitza's
committee, the firms will produce written policies for maternity leave,
part-time and flex-time work for women. "We were gob-smacked by the number of
firms that wanted to participate," she said. "At least law-firm management is
going to be thinking about it."
The law society is also pioneering a policy for granting benefits of $3,000
to sole practitioners who need help paying office rent and overhead while they
are on maternity leave, as well as a "locum registry" of lawyers who can take
Simultaneously, the University of Toronto law school will launch a novel
program in June aimed at helping women who are planning a return to the legal
world. A moving force behind the program, law dean Mayo Moran, said many female
lawyers view returning after rearing children as the equivalent of starting out
all over again as articling students.
The program, entitled Women In Transition, will emphasize networking and
learning new technological skills. Some sessions will include a series of
10-minute, speed-dating-style encounters with female lawyers who succeeded in
making the jump back to law, and others will be on updating one's deportment and
sense of fashion.
"Men can just buy a decent suit," Ms. Moran said. "But for women, the choices
are more complicated. And people notice women a lot more and evaluate them based
on whether, for example, they look too feminine or too masculine."
Why do women find law such an inhospitable profession?
Ms. Pawlitza said that it begins with the fact that lawyers tend to be 30 or
31 when they are called to the bar. "If a woman is going to have children, they
will be doing it at exactly the time they are entering and learning about
She said most large firms also have no policies for filling in while woman
are gone, let alone to attract them back: "It's as if every time a woman has a
baby, it's the first time."
Women who practise alone or in small firms lack unemployment benefits or
someone to step in and service their clients, Ms. Pawlitza said. "There's a
woman in Kingston who had to take her brand-new baby to the office to meet with
clients the same day she got out of hospital," she remarked. "She was a sole
practitioner and had no supports in place."
Another lawyer, Carrie Hardie, said she resigned from a large Toronto firm in
2005 to have children. Attempting to return to the profession almost three years
later, she was frank about her unwillingness to work the sort of killer hours
that big firms expect of their associates.
"After a few months of being short-listed and not picked for jobs, I started
to think that maybe I should just tell people: 'Okay, I'm ready to go back
hardcore,'" Ms. Hardie said in an interview.
She stuck to her guns and eventually found a position at the University of
Toronto where she can work from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. "At a law firm, it's all
about billing," she said. "I didn't think that I would be able to progress
through the ranks like other lawyers who didn't have to leave at all."
Ms. Moran said shifts in attitude may soon transform the old firm mentality.
"A lot of male lawyers have told me that they were extremely unhappy about
losing these really high-calibre people. Another thing is that lots of senior
partners have daughters who are now trying to work out these same, anguishing
work/life choices. They feel keenly their daughters' talent, and how wasted it
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Male Lawyers are Parents Too - More propaganda from the feminist camp that
alludes only female lawyers are parents and suffer disadvantages of parenthood.
Notice that there was no mention of Father Lawyers? This article simply alludes
that only mothers care for kids. When are we going to hear the Father's side of
Male lawyers also take paternity leave, they also return to work and "have to
start over again" except, male or female, there is no difference in the
difficulties encountered and, after some time practicing law, its not that
difficult to 'return to work' and to suggest that its like "articling again" is
Many lawyer parents, male or female, choose to work part time, and their law
firms accommodate them.
Law firms that demand standard high "billable hours" have little real interest
in clients or ethics.
Lawyers who believe in being parents tend to have higher ethical standards and
make better lawyers and provide better service who end up with better clients.
Good lawyers of any gender are always in demand, they turn away clients in
droves and there is no real reason why their law firms cannot accommodate part
In family law, female lawyers are sought after by both genders, both men and
women are frequently under a delusion that having a female lawyer is some kind
Posted 12/04/09 at 2:33 PM EDT
Source - Male
Lawyers are Parents Too - More propaganda from...
Hyndman Fitzpatrick will be laughing to the bank.
Notice that in the space of a few weeks, Sarah Hyndman Fitzpatrick has got
herself TWO very valuable bits of FREE advertising in the Globe and Mail, both
giving herself a plug as a Feminist Lawyer.
Kirk Makin is one of the best journalists around, its rather sad that in the
interests of Gender Equality that one female lawyer ends up getting so much free
publicity to launch her latest business, thats really family law while claiming
to have "retired from $450 an hour".
No doubt, with all the free publicity in the Globe and Mail her effective net
income will probably sky rocket.
Perhaps Kirk can give us a story on the Male Gender Policies of the Ontario
Family Court that deprive children of their fathers without any legal
justification, just feminist political correctness.
Check out the research by Peter Roscoe on Gender Bias by the Ontario Judiciary.
"She pushed the child out of her body"... Wow, you mean she did not choose a
C-section? You mean that women are incapable of returning to work days or weeks
after what is commonly called "child birth" that you call "pushing out of her
If you think the groans of the pain of labour are painful, they are next to
nothing when compared to the never ending grief that fathers suffer when a
mentally ill violent woman gets a feminist lawyer who will personally fabricate
evidence who calls up her friendly judge to issue an order for "summary
judgment" when a string of other judges ordered a trial.
Ontario Family Law is a facade, with a very thin portrayal of justice and equity
when in fact its a sick, corrupt system that gives generally mothers anything
and everything they ask for and, sends men in their droves to jail for failing
to pay imaginary astronomical figures of income that never existed or will never
It also attracts Feminist Lawyers like Lesley Kendal, now a partner at
Cunningham Swan of Kingston who have no hesitation of providing false and
misleading evidence, to obstruct justice, to the courts to give them what they
could not get in a fair objective impartial hearing which we all know is
entirely unlikely in the Corrupt Family Courts of Ontario. Lying Feminist
Lawyers personally fabricating evidence makes those odds even more remote.