Women lawyers are extremely underrepresented in partnership, legal academia, and leadership positions in the law. We regularly face gender communication issues and are not well-served by industry norms and the business culture in which we work. We also struggle with typical time, financial, family, and other pressures.
Fortunately, there are many organizations, resources, and people dedicated to the advancement of women in the practice of law and to bettering the lives and careers of women lawyers. Unfortunately, too few women lawyers are aware of these great resources, so we are here to help!
Below are a number of resources which we hope you will find helpful. We continue to add to these resources – please be sure you join our email community so you receive announcements of any major additions to this list.
- The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession is a group appointed by the ABA president with mission of “secur[ing] the full and equal participation of women in the ABA, the legal profession, and the justice system.” The Commission has a number of committees, regularly hosts programs, and has a number of very helpful resources.
- The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) is well over 100 years old and is “devoted to the interests of women lawyers and women’s rights.” The organization hosts annual and mid-year meetings, an annual General Counsel Institute, and various programs throughout the year. The NAWL Foundation conducts the NAWL Annual Survey of the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms.
- Ms JD is “dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers” in addition to offering a new prelaw program. The group hosts a variety of online and in-person programming and its resources include a blog as well as scholarship and fellowship programs. This is a great resource for law students and new lawyers!
- The National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations brings together women’s bar association leaders from across the country and provides resources to those associations.
- The National Association of Women Judges seeks “to promote the judicial role in protecting the rights of individuals under the rule of law through strong, committed, diverse judicial leadership; fairness and equality in the courts; and equal access to justice.”
- The Military Spouse JD Network is an international network of legal professionals including military spouses and partners from all branches of the US military. The organization is dedicated to supporting military families and its work includes advocating for state licensing and bar membership accommodations.
- You can also visit the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Directory of Associations for Women Lawyers to see additional national associations.
STATE, LOCAL, AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
- For a list of state, local, and other women’s bar associations, see the list of NCWBA members. See the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Directory of Associations for Women Lawyers for additional state, local, and other women’s bar associations as well as international organizations.
ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN GENERALLY
ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING LAW STUDENTS
WOMEN ON BOARDS
- DirectWomen wants to see more women represented on the boards of corporations. The organization “identifies leading women lawyers from around the country who are able to provide the experience, independence, business judgment and diversity required for board effectiveness and good corporate governance” and “serves as a resource for companies seeking qualified women-attorney board candidates who will improve corporate governance and increase shareholder value.
- 2020 Women on Boards is a “national campaign dedicated to increasing the percentage of women on corporate boards to 20% by 2020.”
- Self-Evaluations: Dos and Don’ts by Andrea S. Kramer (Page 6)
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING
- Read our Business Development and Why it Matters Right Now to learn why lawyers should pay attention to business development and marketing as soon as they start practicing.
- The Woman to Woman Lawyer Referral Network was founded by Kathleen Balthrop Havener in 2012 as a tool to assist women lawyers in finding each other for referrals or local counsel assistance, and to assist clients in finding women lawyers. The website is a free, online, searchable database that allows women lawyers to list themselves and/or look for other appropriate counsel in particular areas of the world and areas of concentration. Since 2012 it has grown from one to over 2000 members in50 states, the District of Columbia, and 11 countries. It is free to join and free to use.