For Women in Law By Women in Law

Life in Law (LiL) is a not-for-profit organization founded to provide a safe platform for women lawyers seeking help to balance life with a legal career. LiL hopes to reduce the exodus of women from the legal profession by providing them with opportunities to raise issues they face in a confidential environment. We offer open, honest, respectful, non-judgmental communication primarily through phone or online chat support and our Dear LiL blog.

Our objective in establishing LiL was to provide a solution that goes beyond traditional approaches to help lower the attrition rate of women lawyers. The following data underscores why a platform like this is so important.

The following data is based on the Mapping Her Path Data Collection and Analysis Report 2016, prepared by The Justice Education Society of BC.

37%

of lawyers in BC are women, even though women make up more than 50% of law school graduates.

71%

of women lawyers who quit their jobs cite work-life balance as the reason and 61% describe the work environment as a contributing factor to their decisions.

66%

of women called to the Bar in 2003 were still practicing in 2008 compared to 80% of men.

29%

of the women lawyers who have left practice, quit their law careers entirely.

There are a diverse set of issues that contribute to the high attrition rates of women lawyers from the legal profession. Of particular concern, is the mass exodus at the five-year mark, which is an inherently challenging time for women lawyers. Surveys indicate that it is at this juncture that women feel that they need to make a choice between partnership and parenthood.

We asked ourselves, “what can be done to help lower the attrition rate of all women lawyers and particularly young women lawyers during the high-risk time-frame?”

Strong mentorship has been repeatedly cited as a strategy that has most helped women stay in practice. Mentoring in the legal profession is not new. For women lawyers, mentors play a particularly significant role and can be an invaluable source of guidance on everything from practice development to work/life balance strategies. Many larger law firms now offer in-house mentoring programs and there are also a range of high-quality programs offered through various entities.

The challenge is that formal mentor programs require significant time commitment on the part of both the mentor and mentee. Also, as mentors are often asked to discuss and decide on career changes the necessary level of confidentiality can be difficult to find within a firm or a small community.

In 2019, Harper Grey partners, Kim Jakeman and Una Radoja, leaned into discussions around what resources could be provided to women outside of formal mentoring programs. Their discussions led to a lightbulb moment - creating a platform where women could easily connect, talk to each other and share their experiences - what they have in common, what they struggle with, or need advice about. That vision was realized through founding LiL - a free, confidential, industrywide and nationwide forum for women in law, by women in law.

Listen in as Kim and Una discuss how their passion led to establishing LiL.

Now that you know about us and what we have to offer, it’s important to outline the limitations of Life in Law in terms of how we can help.

Not a mentoring program.

Not designed to give substantive legal advice.

Not equipped to provide medical assistance for mental health and/or other health related issues.

Not a networking avenue.

Please visit our Other Resources page if you require further support.

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