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Best law firms for women take on gender gap

Photo by Daniel Oines via Flickr Creative Commons.

Working Mother Media has issued its annual report on the best law firms for women, each recognized for taking gender gap issues and diversity seriously. (Working Mother Media)

One hundred firms took part, with one of the weightiest elements being the number of female equity partners at a given firm. The national average is 18 percent for legal organizations in the U.S. It’s 20 percent for those on the Working Mother list.

Notably, 38 percent of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, a New York City-based firm’s equity partners is women. Women hold 75 percent of the spots on the management committee.

At San Francisco-based Hanson Bridgett, women make up 37 percent of equity partner roles and 26 percent  of the non-equity slots.

And there’s especially good news for female lawyers in Atlanta. Ten of the top 50 have Atlanta offices. (See the Atlanta list @ Daily Report.)

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Early typewriters, marketed to women, lead to Hollywood's fascination with stenographers

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One of the later incarnations was “Public Stenographer” (1934) with a cast of B-list actors (or maybe D-list) and a plot that revolved around the Sexy Stenographer. (The only credit of note is for the writer Ellwood Ullman, who wrote 100 of the 190 Three Stooges shorts.)

In one scene, a client engages the stenographer to write a letter to his sweetheart, telling the stenographer, “You don’t have to write it. You just tell me what to say.” Raise your hand if you’ve heard that before.

The story, according to IMDB, involves a “wisecracking and attractive public stenographer” who “spends much of her time fending off the touchy hands of her employers”

In The New York Times story about stenographers, the author asks the question, “How did we come to have sexy stenographers in the first place?” Here’s her answer:

The world's first commercial typewriter was invented in a Milwaukee, Wis. machine shop. It took another six years before E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, N.Y. manufactured the Remington No. 1, and several years more for what Mark Twain called a ''curiosity-breeding little joker'' to catch on, but once the public finally adopted the typewriter the workplace was forever changed.

Decorated with floral decals and mounted on a treadle table, the original model looked not unlike a sewing machine -- a resemblance which inspired savvy promoters to declare it tailor-made for a woman's ''nimble fingers.'' And women were not only dexterous, according to this way of thinking, but easy on the pocket. In 1870, 4.5 percent of stenos and typists were women. By 1880, this figure had quadrupled. By 1900 it had climbed to nearly 80 percent.

While the Sexy Stenographer character has faded away, some things associated with it haven’t. A recent NCRA survey found 89 percent of court reporters are women.

Next time: The Sexy Stenographer makes a big-screen comeback.

Huseby court reporters Huseby offices offer litigation services, including court reporting, Web conferencing, video conferencing, video depositions, and more.

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Legal news roundup: Women's roles in law firms lags, analytics helps bottom line, shutdown directly impacts attorneys

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The Post reports the ratio of women to men in law schools is nearly 50/50, but that number drops in the professional world. Four percent of law firms are led by women.

Women make up 46 percent of associates, 35 percent of counsel, 26 percent of non-equity partners, 15 percent of equity partners and, 4 percent of managing partners.

Pay for women legal professionals also lags behind men, the report says.

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Law firms’ move to hire analytics professionals have come in response to clients who want lower bills or have set legal budgets to help control costs. One example in the story involves developing ways to work profitably on a set project basis, a form of risk analysis.

As the story’s profiled analytics professionals says:

"The work we've been involved with beats the firm average on profitability."

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Firms that work with the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Government Accountability Office are especially impacted, the story says.

That said, there is an upside, according to one attorney who noted furloughs in the Justice Department have given private defense lawyers an advantage in some litigation because government lawyers are now incapable of working on cases.

Has the shutdown impacted you or your firm? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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Huseby is your career partner husebyhHuseby continues to be deeply engaged in legal issues of the day. Through that engagement, Huseby can better serve all of your litigation support needs. Anywhere you need us in the U.S. or internationally, our schedulers are available and ready to assist.

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