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 Featured Title
Bar Codes
Women in the Legal Profession
Jean McKenzie Leiper  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 11/14/2006
ISBN: 9780774813198    

$32.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2007
ISBN: 9780774813204    

256 Pages

Law and Society series


About the Book

Bar Codes examines women lawyers' attempts to reconcile their professional obligations with other aspects of their lives. It charts the life courses of women who constitute a first wave -- an avant-garde -- in a profession designed by men, for men, where formal codes of conduct and subtle cultural norms promote masculine values. A thorough analysis of women’s encounters with this culture provides some answers and raises more questions about the kinds of stresses that have become extreme in the lives of many Canadian women.

This book adds to mounting evidence of marked gender differences in opportunities for advancement, demonstrating that many men still enjoy freedom from domestic responsibilities while women continue to face multiple barriers in their quest for career success. As this study shows, change is under way in the legal profession and women can succeed in reaching high levels within it, but the law remains, in many ways, a masculine institution.

About the Author(s)

Jean McKenzie Leiper is Professor Emerita at the Department of Sociology, King’s University College, University of Western Ontario.

Table of Contents


1 Introduction: Recognizing the Codes
2 “The Portia of Our Chambers”: Voice, Robes, and Reputation
3 Educating Women in the Law: Becoming Gentlemen?
4 Caught in the Time Crunch
5 Choreographing Daily Life: Clocks, Calendars, and Cycles
6 Careers and Curricula Vitae
7 Cracking the Codes

Appendix: Where Are They Now?


Bar Codes offers compelling insights into the balancing act of career and family among professionals, specifically how the careers of women lawyers are shaped, undermined, or even derailed as personal biographies confront rigid professional structures. Jean McKenzie Leiper challenges the elitist and exclusionary culture of law practice through rigorous and nuanced interpretation of in-depth interviews with over one hundred lawyers. This book will be of wide interest to scholars of the sociology of work and occupations, legal education, and feminist theory, as well as deserving of serious attention by lawyers, law professors, and law society and bar association leadership.
– Fiona Kay, co-editor of Social Capital, Diversity, and the Welfare State.

This is a fascinating study, based on two sets of detailed, lengthy interviews with each participant at different stages of their careers. The complexity of the issues canvassed and the richness of the responses provide a wealth of data. Deftly ser within the pervasive sociological literature and sophisticated theoretical frameworks, McKenzie Leiper’s study brilliantly comes alive when she quotes from the transcripts of her taped interviews. Women lawyers provide remarkably candid, often poignant, and sometimes hilarious comments about their experiences. […] This is a major piece of sociological research that will lay a baseline against which historians and future generations of women lawyers can measure their lives and careers.
- Constance Backhouse, University of Ottawa, Histoire sociale/Social History, Vol.XL, No.80, November 2007

The book offers rich descriptions of the difficulties women face as they try to integrate their personal and professional lives. Although readers may find familiar themes from the growing body of research on professional women, the survey responses and qualitative quotes reported in Bad Codes offer compelling empirical examples and insight into both the tensions between women’s personal lives and the professions they aspire to join, and the discrimination women continue to face.
- Nancy Reichman, University of Denver, Canadian Journal of Sociology, 2008, Vol. 33, Issue 4

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

Women's Studies
Gender Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Bar Codes from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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