How to Recruit Women in Legal

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For International Women’s Day 2023, Amberjack have released four blogs exploring four different industries which struggle with gender diversity. Today, for our last blog, we’re focusing on how to recruit women in the Legal sector. Find out how to recruit women in STEM, Sales and Business Development, and the Finance sector in blogs from earlier this week.

Legal 

Finally, as our last industry exploration for this gender diversity deep dive, we discussed the Legal sector, which has made a lot of steps forward in the last few years. 

Megan currently works as a Neighborhood Enforcement Officer for Local Government and has previous experience in both private Corporate Law and the public sector. We spoke to her about what made her want a career in law, and what her own experience has been like. 

Megan was attracted to her current role as she gets to use the law in action. She gets to see the “impact that the law can have on an individual and how it is designed to protect people”. “Law is such a massive part of our society; it governs acceptable behaviour and is involved in nearly every aspect of what we do. Law seeps into so many aspects of our lives, and there are so many varied career options within the subject, that it felt like a natural fit for someone with an eye for detail and who liked to use logic in problem solving.” 

Some branches of law struggle more with gender diversity than others. In Corporate Law, where Megan worked previously, 46% of lawyers are women. Personally, she thought this statistic was quite admirable and that successfully recruited people in law have to demonstrate confidence. “You need to be calm, able to think quickly, work well under pressure and speak and act with confidence. To me, there’s nothing stopping a woman doing that – it’s just your personality! Despite this however, I do remember attending the work Christmas party, mingling with clients and other colleagues in the profession, and I was one of the few women in the room. This can be intimidating, ultimately law is a competitive and intense industry, perhaps men are sometimes raised to be more confident personalities who thrive in situations like that?”. 

However, as we explored higher up the seniority ladder in Law Firms, we stumbled upon the same issue affecting other sectors; home life and caring responsibilities. “As seniority increases, so does responsibility and accountability. I suspect that there are fewer women up the top because of the pressures of running a home life alongside the professional demands. For example, the nature of the deadlines you can experience don’t lend themselves to a job share or part time position”. 

To attract more women, society is looking at the implementation of flexible working and good maternity (and paternity!) policies. If women can more flexibly work alongside their home lives, then they are likely to be more visible across firms. If men were able to take Paternity Leave with more considerable time off, and had increased flexibility, not only do they reap the benefits, but you also help women share the caring with men more equally, and so also become more visible across levels. 

Of course, even after implementing such policies, much needs to be done to increase awareness and acceptance. According to the Government’s Gender Equality Roadmap, 20% of mothers said they experienced harassment or negative comments related to pregnancy or flexible working. If the policies are in place but utilising them results in being shunned, then they won’t be utilised. 

What Now? 

It’s clear that a lot of the issues affecting the recruitment of women run deep. They need changing at a societal level for changes to filter through to organisations across sectors. From more inclusive policies to general awareness and acceptance, perhaps one of the most impactful things your organisation can do is get together the women in your workforce and ask them about their experience. 

Ask them what holds them back, ask them how you can best support them, ask them what changes they would make… and listen to their responses! Create action plans to help your business become more inclusive based on what you learn.  

From a recruitment perspective, the more inclusive and supportive your business is, and the more visible this inclusivity is, the easier women will be to recruit. 

Discover our blogs exploring how to recruit women in STEM, Sales and Business Development, and the Finance sector, too.

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