In the past two decades, the gender composition of the legal profession in the United States has changed dramatically. While women comprised less than five percent of the nation's lawyers in 1970, the proportion of women lawyers had increased to more than 19% by the end of 1988, and roughly 40% of new lawyers each year are now women. However, the movement of women into the legal profession has not been easy. As a consequence, considerable commentary has been focused on the significant problems of sexual harassment, discrimination, and other forms of gender bias, and on such issues as the challenges of combining career and family for both women and men in the law. Far less attention has been devoted to understanding whether the entry of larger numbers of women into the profession has altered lawyer behavior, legal ideology, or legal practice. Carrie Menkel-Meadow has suggested how women may bring new assumptions, values, and voices to lawyering, possibly transforming current legal practice. Others have cautioned against underestimating the power of law school and the legal profession to homogenize orientations toward practice. In a national survey conducted more than 25 years ago, James White found that 49.8% of all female lawyers worked in domestic relations law, in contrast to 38.6% of the male lawyers. The recent increase in legal specialization has lowered that figure for both women and men (as fewer attorneys accept divorce cases as part of a general practice), yet women remain disproportionately over-represented in the divorce law field. In this Article we explore some gender-based differences (and similarities) among divorce lawyers.
Richard J. Maiman, Lynn Mather & Craig A. McEwen,
Gender and Specialization in the Practice of Divorce Law,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol44/iss1/12