Forbes Seeks Advice from Manatt Partner on How Women Lawyers Can Succeed
"Women in Law Need to Advocate for Themselves to Succeed"
December 17, 2012 - In a special Q&A, Forbes interviewed Manatt's Timi Hallem, a partner in the firm's Real Estate & Land Use Practice, for an article addressing the challenges female attorneys face and what women can do to get ahead.
Forbes reports that women now make up about one third of all the nation's lawyers. Though there has been progress since the 1970s, when just 4.9% of lawyers were women, there is still work to do in terms of creating a level playing field for women in law, particularly with respect to equal partnerships and equal compensation.
When asked how female attorneys can advocate more for themselves to get ahead, Hallem, who founded and chairs the Manatt Women's Initiative, said, "Law school doesn't teach many of the skills that actually are important to lawyers. …the ultimate success as a lawyer in private practice will depend on their ability to attract and retain clients. And that involves being able to sell yourself."
"Most people pick lawyers because they like them," continued Hallem. "They are not necessarily looking at the quality of the contract or brief. They must, however, have confidence in their abilities. Therefore, it's up to lawyers, especially women, to present themselves as competent and confident and learn to advocate for themselves."
Hallem stated that clients "really need to see you as a lead lawyer who's able to work on your own and who is someone that clients trust and turn to. And so it's important that you not just be loyal, quality support for the lawyers you work with, but that you search out opportunities to be the lead lawyer on matters, so that you can prove that you can serve in that capacity."
Hallem also discussed with Forbes whether female lawyers need to promote themselves more, how gender affects the ability to get more opportunities, and how sexism has gone underground.
Read the article here.