Breaking the Glass Ceiling:
Exploring the Continued Existence of Gender Bias in the Legal Profession and Understanding How it Can Change
The New York University Law Women invites you to attend its inaugural annual symposium, titled “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Exploring the Continued Existence of Gender Bias in the Legal Profession and Understanding How it Can Change.” This symposium will address contemporary legal developments and issues affecting women in the law. We aim to examine the reasons why gender bias stills exists in legal private practice, to offer potential avenues of reform, and to empower women to achieve their potential in the legal field. The discussion will focus on the striking statistics of high-level women in private practice, especially women with children, and will explore the role of gender discrimination law, the economic downturn, and the choice by women and firms to promulgate the status quo. This all day event is comprised of three panel discussions, featuring several prominent practitioners and academics, as well as a keynote speaker. The first panel, “The Ground Floor: The Interaction between Employment Law and Law Firm Policies,” will seek to show how employment, anti-discrimination, and sexual harassment law interact with law firm policies in creating pathways and impediments for women in the legal field. The second panel, “Bridging the Divide between Firm Expectations and Women’s Choice,” will explore the interaction between the glass ceiling and the expectations law firms place on their attorneys-specifically focused on review of work product, billable hour requirements, and promotions. Finally, the third panel, “Gavel to the Glass: Strategies for Reform,” will illustrate ways in which law firm policies can be reformed, including the potential success of modified affirmative action and employment law initiatives.