August 2011 • Vol. 31 No. 7 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

LACBA Votes to Continue Its Work with WLALA on the Joint Task Force on Retention, Promotion of Women Lawyers

Trustees voted unanimously at their June 2011 board meeting to renew LACBA's partnership with Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles to support the work of the Joint Task Force on the Retention and Promotion of Women Lawyers.

Joint Task Force Co-Chairs Ellen Pansky and Tanya Forsheit explained to trustees that, while women make up more than 50 percent of law school graduates, the percentage of women who have attained partnership and leadership positions in major firms remains well below 20 percent. Women lawyers are leaving the profession in significant numbers, particularly from large law firms, many times due to the reality that women are not being promoted or compensated at rates equivalent to male peers.

Since its inception in 2007, the Joint Task Force (JTF) has focused its efforts on developing workable techniques and strategies to provide firms and lawyers with tools to combat the departure of women from the legal profession. To date, the JTF's formal Call to Action, which provides firms with detailed, workable programs and projects that can be adapted by each firm, and which constitutes a voluntary commitment to support the retention of women at the firm, has been signed by nearly 40 firms in the Los Angeles area.

Each year, the JTF has presented a summit that includes speakers and panels of in-house counsel of major corporations, law firm partners and associates, and other professionals such as lawyer coaches. In addition to the summits, yearly workshop-style conferences have attracted managing partners and other firm partners and associates to discuss successful programs at their firms as well as to receive feedback from women associates at larger firms. While the workshops provide attendees with information and insight into the continuing struggles for female attorneys, they also provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss with one another their strategies, advice, and perspectives on their respective positions in the legal profession.

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