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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