Advice for Women Lawyers: How to Succeed in a Mostly Male-Dominated Field
Follow these tips instead of making trade-offs!
Females who choose to become lawyers often find themselves outnumbered, and that’s because 64 percent of attorneys nation-wide are male. And though many of them are strong and confident enough to hold their own, there are some ways that women attorneys can accelerate their level of success—even when you’re the only gal in the firm. Take a look:
Always be professional
When surrounded by men, it may be tempting to use charm and wit to win over colleagues, judges, and others, but in order to be taken seriously, it’s critical to act professionally at all times. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being warm and friendly, but professionalism is also very necessary in the industry.
Advocate and support other female attorneys
Some women (and don’t get us wrong, men too!) can be difficult—no doubt. But many times it’s because they feel threatened by others; especially in the legal arena that is so heavily inundated with men. No matter what, aim to steer clear of the drama. Senior female attorneys should mentor younger women entering the business and peers should help each other out whenever they can. Lifting each other up benefits everyone, and shows how classy, professional, and competent you are.
Understand that not everyone thinks like you do
Men are from Mars; women are from Venus. And no matter how alike you may feel to the men in your law firm, the very fact that you’re a woman sets you apart. And that’s really ok. But it’s also important to remember this fact when you’re working with male attorneys, judges, and others in the field. While you may expect glowing praise or a certain type of feedback from a senior in your firm after winning a difficult case, there are many who would only want a simple “thanks”. That’s not to say that there aren’t men who are looking for praise, but the key is that men and women think differently and it’s something to be aware of at all times.
Be good to yourself
It’s a tough job. Attorneys spend most of their time fighting against adversaries, which can be emotionally and physically draining. To be successful, remember to take the time to eat right, exercise, and get the sleep you need.
While you can expect to work long hours, ensuring that you take time to stay healthy and set aside to spend time with your family is key to your success (if not, you could burn out before you even get going).
Feel free to carve your own path
Everyone has their own definition of success. For many men and women, it may be working their way up to becoming a partner, while others may only wish to become a leader in their niche or would be happy to only practice part time. You can create your own successful career based on whatever your aspirations are and as long as you are determined, professional, and have perseverance, there’s nothing to stop you but yourself. Even if you’re the only woman in your firm!
Being a woman in a male dominated industry can be challenging, but your talent, skills, and knowledge will take you wherever you wish to go if you follow these tips.
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