Women in the Legal Profession
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.
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.
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?
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