Legal professions’ attitude drives off women lawyers

Women lawyers are deterred from returning to work after career breaks because of the profession’s perceived lack of support for working mothers.

A report by the Association of Women Solicitors, the Young Solicitors Group and the Law Society show that law firms need to be more flexible if they are to retain women solicitors.

More than 400 female lawyers responded to a questionnaire which revealed that only 23 per cent of women were partners in 2002, compared with 53 per cent of men.

Of respondents, 59 per cent said that child-related reasons had prompted them to leave the profession, while 67 per cent said they were deterred from returning to work as a solicitor by the problems of balancing work and home. A further 44 per cent said they would not go back to work because of the legal profession’s attitude towards returning women.