Nancy Conrad Discusses Trial Bar Diversity Stalling Out Under Pandemic Stress
After years of slow growth when it comes to adding women and minority attorneys to the notoriously homogenous trial bar, plaintiffs-side civil firms have seen net losses of both women and minority attorneys over the past year, according to The Legal Intelligencer's annual survey of diversity in the plaintiffs-side civil bar.
Partner Nancy Conrad, Pennsylvania Bar Association's Woman Governor and chair of the bar's Diversity Team, said the pandemic also appears to be exacerbating a longstanding trend for women lawyers.
"If you track the numbers there is a definite concern about retaining women in law firm practice," she said. "Now there is an even greater concern as a result of COVID and the remote working issues."
According to Conrad, there is a nearly even split between men and women attorneys in the first few years out of law school, but the percentage of women in the profession begins declining several years out. Now, with so many attorneys working remotely, women are increasingly taking on the child care or parental care duties, making retention potentially even more challenging.
"Caring for children, greater monitoring of young students, or caring for aged parents, there simply isn't enough time in the day for it, and decisions have to be made about whether one person can do it all," Conrad said.
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