On "The Good Wife," Alicia has a shot at partnership, at least the plain-vanilla kind. Diane is mentoring her. But, as a new study by the NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL points out, the odds of her becoming an equity partner in BigLaw aren't good. NLJ found that only 15% of equity partners are female.
However, the really interesting part of the study is that a law firm such as Fragomen has 42% of its equity partners female. That reality can be very useful for females in planning their careers. Instead of waiting for the "system" to change, they should make it their business to join firms which seem to be gender blind.
Maybe that won't be possible as they begin their careers. At the get-go, all that matters is gaining experience. Developing contacts would help too. Then, from a position of strength, they can hunt for places in female-friendly firms.
Let's face it. Succeeding in just about any career is tough in the brutally competitive 21st century. Burnout is so common, even in the high tech world of Generation Yers, that new Yahoo head Marisa Mayer has addressed the issue in public talks. Current edition of THE ECONOMIST reports that Mayer recommends the "rhythm" method to prevent losing drive because of the impact of too much work on ourselves. The rub is that we have to discover our own unique "rhythm." For women in law that pacing might rule out being a reformer. Instead, hunt for a home where that battle for gender equality has already been fought and won.
For Alicia, the question is if Queen Bee Diane will let her rise all the way to equity partner or peak at plain vanilla. An interesting research question could be to find out from female equity partners, who do they perceive had helped them most: Women or men.