Easier To Exit Than Return

It’s no secret: women attorneys leave the legal industry at a much higher rate than men do. Despite making up nearly half of law school classes, women comprise only 34 percent of the attorney population. Reasons for that differential abound but the primary one remains the clash between professional work and family life.

Two years ago, in her departure memo, a Clifford Chance associate laid out in exhausting detail what it was like to work full-time while taking care of a toddler and newborn. Tired of waking up at 4:00am and falling asleep at 1:30am, she described her final decision: “I have not been able to simultaneously meet the demands of career and family, so have chosen to leave private practice … (at least for now).”

“At least for now,” she predicted. But what happens when “at least for now” becomes 5 years, then 10 years, then 20 years? For one Chicago attorney, that’s exactly what happened.  READ MORE

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Michelle Silverthorn

Michelle Silverthorn

After spending seventeen years living in the Caribbean, Michelle undertook a number of around-the-world detours before ending up at the doorstep of the Commission, including four years as a general litigator in New York and Chicago. She remembers pretty much everyone she’s met in her travels but she would especially like to meet again the passengers on a January 2001 flight from Miami to JFK. At the pilot’s request, they donated enough money for Michelle, who had her wallet stolen, to get back to college safely. She would very much like to tell them all thanks.
Michelle Silverthorn

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