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Lawyers of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We will be using this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs, and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the author and not Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to respectfully participate in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog, and guest writers are welcome.

 

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Guest Blog: "Clean Slate Clinic"

Posted By Kristen Fritz, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Clean Slate Clinic"

In just a few hours, you can help to drastically change someone’s life for the better.


Like most people, I hope that my life will have meaning and that I will positively impact those around me. In short, I want to make a difference and I seek out opportunities to do so. I am compelled to write about a recent experience where I did a small task that made a huge difference in someone else’s life. Two weeks ago, I volunteered for the second time at the San Diego Clean Slate Clinic. The Clinic is held once a month, staffed by volunteer attorneys, law students, and members of the community. Training is provided, so no experience is needed. The Clinic provides free legal information, NOT legal advice, to help individuals reduce or expunge their criminal records. Although the law makes provision for this, the process is complex and confusing, and most people seek help from the Clinic. In recent months, they have had nearly 50 participants in a given day. 


At last month’s clinic, I worked with a woman who was a mother of three. She had a felony conviction that was preventing her from getting employment, housing for her family, credit, and education. Although I cannot discuss the specifics of her matter, I can tell you that the facts that lead to her conviction (for which she pled guilty acknowledging her wrongs) would leave you shaking your head, and I know that you would be in awe of the wonderful and giving woman that she is. It is clear that she is not a “criminal,” but a person who committed a crime and she deserves a “clean slate.” 


In a few hours, we assisted her in the preparation of court forms and a declaration to have her felony reduced to a misdemeanor, and then to have the misdemeanor expunged. We made the copies she needed, gave her an instruction sheet on where to go, confirmed she understood what she would need to do to file the petitions, and sent her on her way to change her life. Throughout the hours we were together, she repeatedly thanked us for being at the clinic, for giving of our time and ourselves, and for helping her to get back on the path to achieving all that she wanted to in her life. I assured her that it was truly my pleasure to be there with her.

 

I left the clinic feeling elated that I could make a difference in one person’s life, but I began to wonder how many people the Clinic could help if they had more volunteers. I learned that the Clean Slate Clinic has had to turn away 10-15 participants each month over in the past few months, simply because they did not have enough volunteers to assist them. It shocks and saddens me that something can be done to help people and the only thing standing in the way is not enough people to do it. 

 

The Clinic’s co-founder, Keiara Auzenne, told me that they could easily scale up the Clinic to serve more participants if they could count on a specific number of regular volunteers each month. Therefore, I encourage—and implore—you to sign up and join me at the next Clinic on November 5, 2016, just after Pro Bono Week
(October 23-29)
, and/or to commit to volunteering at the Clinic on a regular basis. 

 

Together we can make an exponentially greater difference in the lives of so many people! 


Kristen Fritz wrote this on behalf of the Lawyers Club Community Outreach Committee and hopes you are inspired by Pro Bono Week. 

Tags:  clinic  COC  community outreach committee  expungement  LCB  pro bono  pro bono week  san diego clean slate clinic  volunteer 

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"Stories to Solutions"

Posted By Jamie Quient, Monday, October 24, 2016

 

“Stories to Solutions”

 

Lawyers Club’s Enough is Enough campaign continues with launch of “Stories to Solutions” blog series – a safe space to share your stories and work towards solutions.


     
In response to the sexual assault and harassment allegations that emerged in the Presidential election, First Lady Michelle Obama declared “enough is enough.” Mrs. Obama’s speech struck a chord with me (along with millions of others) as she took on the issue that so many women and men face in their personal and professional lives. This discussion goes far beyond partisan politics - it strikes at the heart who we are as a country.

 

     Since its founding in 1972, Lawyers Club has led the community in the fight against sexual harassment. Forty-four years later, we are still fighting this pervasive problem through our “Enough is Enough” campaign to end sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace.

 

     We kicked off the campaign last July with a sold-out luncheon on “Stories to Solutions: A Candid Conversation About Sexual Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace.” The next step in this campaign is to give our members a safe space to tell their own stories and identify solutions through anonymous blog posts in a special blog series called “Stories to Solutions.” These blog posts can be on topics such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, rape culture, street harassment, bullying and/or any type of gender-based harassment or aggression.

 

     The purpose of this initiative is to empower women to speak up and to highlight the prominence of these issues in the workplace and in society. We need to remove the stigma associated with those that report these incidents and eliminate shame and self-blame that victims of harassment often feel. We can also help ensure victims are believed when they report these incidents by raising awareness of the prevalence in our community.

 

     These blog posts will also inform our efforts to develop solutions to these issues and address the larger systemic problems that continue to disrupt women’s safety and overall advancement. To that end, bloggers are encouraged to share not just their experiences, but what they learn from them, what they would do if this happened again, advice for others in similar situations, what Lawyers Club can do to address this issue and/or any other take-away you want to share.

 

     All Lawyers Club members are invited to share their personal stories anonymously (or not) by emailing them to Rhianna at Rhianna@lawyersclubsandiego.com. Rhianna will remove all names and identifying information upon receipt and then post the stories to our “Stories to Solutions” blog series. Blog posts can also be submitted by anonymously mail by sending them to Lawyers Club of San Diego, 402 West Broadway, Suite 1260, San Diego, CA 92101 Attn: Stories to Solutions.

 

It is time we all stand up and say “Enough is Enough.” So join us – share your story and be part of the solution!

 

Jamie Quient is a civil litigation attorney at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP and President of Lawyers Club of San Diego.

Tags:  bullying  enough is enough  gender discrimination  LCB  sexual assault  sexual harassment  stories to solutions  street harassment  StS 

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Chasing the Last Wave: "Finding Hope in a Tee Shirt...And in the Next Generation"

Posted By Molly T. Tami , Tuesday, October 18, 2016
"Finding Hope in a Tee Shirt...And in the Next Generation" 


Over a decade ago, I gave a presentation on the topic of “Women in the Law: How Gender Shapes the Experience” to the women’s network group of a large Midwest law firm. The audience included women of various ages, from the first woman partner in the firm (who boasted of how she played the men’s game), to mid-level women attorneys who had negotiated their own creative work arrangements with the firm, to the young women associates who expected the firm to address and meet their needs for flexible work arrangements and family-friendly policies. During the “sticky” discussions that followed my presentation, I was reminded that the language of feminism is not embraced by many women, and I experienced firsthand how the perspectives and expectations of women lawyers of different generations are not necessarily aligned and may at times be at odds.

Many of us have benefited from the enormous gains of the feminist movement while recognizing that gender barriers still exist for women in our profession, and for women generally. Given that perspective, we naturally get discouraged at times when we perceive that some women (lawyers and others) do not see the need to embrace the feminist cause and continue the movement to ensure equal opportunity and advancement for women. We may even find ourselves losing hope for future generations of women.

Nowadays, we often hear young women eschew the importance of feminism and decline to identify as a “feminist.” They say they don’t see the need for the movement or the relevance of the label. Although I don’t have poll results to prove it, I suspect that many women law students today do not see their gender as a potential obstacle to their advancement in our profession, nor do they see an urgent need to continue the fight for gender equality. Notable exceptions include members (male and female) of women law student organizations across the country. The USD Women’s Law Caucus student organization at USD Law is a perfect example.

The USD Women’s Law Caucus recently tabled at our law student organization fair and sold tee shirts to support their events and activities. I excitedly purchased one for myself!  The front side is branded with the group’s logo while the back has the following in bold lettering:

Feminist:/Fem-en-ist/: A person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

Simple but powerful language. I hope to see many USD Law students sporting this shirt and spreading the message. 


Given the recent climate on gender issues and the sexist rhetoric we've heard during the current presidential campaign, my fervent hope is that many young women and men will realize that we are clearly “not there yet.” We have a long way to go and we must fully commit ourselves to chasing the last wave of feminism.  I have hope that all generations will join the chase, and now I have the tee shirt to prove it.   

This blog was authored by Molly Tami. 
Molly Tami serves as the Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development at USD School of Law.  She previously designed and taught a course on Law, Gender and the Work/Family Conflict and is passionate about advancing women in the legal profession

Tags:  Chasing the Last Wave  equality  feminism  feminist  gender  generation  hope  law student  LCB  legal profession  movement  organization  women  women’s law caucus 

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Confessions of a Litigator: "The Pineapple Dress"

Posted By Jaclyn A. Simi, Tuesday, October 11, 2016
The Pineapple Dress

Summer ‘16

Riverside, California

Like most Americans, I look forward to Friday night all week long. For me, Friday night means that I am free to stop compulsively checking my email every 2 minutes. It also means that I can finally set up my signature bed picnic (i.e. beach towels on my bed, take out, and Bachelor In Paradise, or whatever show I’m currently binge watching). In my opinion, if you’ve never had a bed picnic, then you’re not living.

As you can tell, I have Friday nights on lock. However, on this particular Friday night, I was in Riverside and had just finished preparing a witness for his deposition the next morning. Sometimes, on Saturdays, I trade boot camp and avocado toast for a Theory suit and objections.

As I stepped out of my hotel’s lobby, the sun was setting on the hottest Friday in the I.E. known to man. I had one thing on my mind – a vesper martini at The Mission Inn (obviously). I decided to walk 2 sweltering blocks in 110 degree heat to the Inn because driving would have been tragically lazy, and not to mention, rude to the environment. After one scorching block, I was approached by 2 men in their 40’s.  The first man leered at me and said in a gravelly, aggressive voice, “Smile for me, baby.”

Back in my people-pleasing days (pre-2015), I would have placated him with a sweet smile while quickening my pace. Not today, and probably never again, will I have that reaction. Today, I raised my chin, looked ahead, and acted like these men didn’t exist. However, I would have liked to say “I’m not your baby” or an expletive-laden phrase, such as, “Go f* yourself,” but I held back.

They didn’t like my non-reaction. Man number 2 came towards me yelling, “You’re a stuck up, b*. F* you! I could have you right now if I wanted you, b*!”


My stomach dropped in shock and fear. Please God, let them leave me alone. There were only a few people around and I could have easily been mugged, or worse. I kept walking and gripped my mace like it was the very last pair of rare Louboutins in a 6.5 at Saks. I didn’t look back until I reached the Inn’s gloriously air conditioned lobby.

I sunk into a table near an oddly soothing gargoyle fountain with equally odd statues staring down at me from the balconies above. Still in shock, I pondered what had just happened. I mean, we’re all familiar with catcalls on the street and offers of drinks from creepy men that can’t take a not-so-subtle hint, but this was next-level.


I called a friend and relayed my story to him. He asked, “What were you wearing?”


“My pineapple dress,” I answered.


“Oh, that’s why. That wouldn’t have happened if you were wearing workout clothes,” he mused.


“Excuse me?” I asked, not looking for an answer.

I lashed out, “Why does everyone blame the victim? Why are you adding insult to injury? Do you know how ridiculous I would have looked in long sleeves and Lululemons in this heat…at this restaurant?”

I angrily hung up the phone and took a swig of my martini. I tried to focus on finishing China Rich Girlfriend (btw, so good), but I couldn’t get my mind off the men on the street. Why should I regularly have to tailor my wardrobe and transportation choices to whether I might encounter a misbehaving man?

           
I contemplated walking back to my hotel because I shouldn’t have to take a car service on a beautiful summer night (by this time, it had cooled down to a tolerable 90 degrees) as a result of a couple of losers. All I ask, in this post at least, is that men treat women with respect, and that women aren’t blamed for what we’re wearing (or aren’t wearing). A bikini, high heels, or a pineapple dress doesn’t give anyone license to harass, assault, gossip about, or rape us.


Eventually, I gave in and made the smart decision. I tapped away at my iPhone screen and ordered up an Uber…to go 2 blocks.


P.S. If you’re wondering how (not) risqué the pineapple dress is, here you go: https://is4.revolveassets.com/images/p4/n/d/SHOW-WD131_V1.jpg

 

This post was authored by Jaclyn Simi. Jaclyn is an employment litigator who loves animals, far-flung beaches, and Jimmy Choos. 

Tags:  blame the dress  cat call  Confession of a Litigator  harass  lawyers club  LCB  Louboutins  misbehaving men  pineapple dress  riverside  smile  stories to solutions 

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Chasing the Last Wave: "What's Diversity Got to Do With It?"

Posted By Molly Tami, Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What’s Diversity Got to Do With It? 

  

      Throughout the history of feminism, women as a group have been the “other” gender fighting for equal rights and equal opportunities. While women make up almost half of total law school graduates, the data confirms that women are not equally represented in law firm partnership, in corporate counsel offices, on the bench or in other leadership positions in our profession. We are all familiar with the explanations and reasons given for this, and we continue to struggle to change this reality.

 

     Our hope for change is fueled in part by the notion that legal employers want to boast of a “diverse” workforce to attract diverse candidates as well as to meet their clients’ expectations and demands for a diverse group of people to work on their legal matters. The arguments for diversity are indeed compelling. But isn’t it perplexing that women, particularly those with family responsibilities, feel at times that they have to stake their claim to executive positions or positions of leadership in the name of diversity rather than equality?

 

     I’ve been thinking about that question since spending a weekend with five corporate lawyers, all working in the auto finance field in the mid-west (a male dominated arena). These women are all very accomplished and successful. One of the women in her mid-forties was struggling with a decision about whether to pursue an even bigger job at her company. In reality, she felt that she was already doing most of the duties of the elevated position but not getting the recognition or pay for it. At the same time, she values her current work arrangement which allows her to leave in the afternoons to pick up her child at school, and then return to work either at the office or at home. And on Fridays, she works remotely from home. She wanted to pursue the new position, but did not want to lose this flexibility and ability to manage and enjoy both her work and family life.

 

    She was discussing with our group how she might approach her boss about taking the new position/title while keeping her current work arrangement. Her proposed argument to the boss went like this: the company wants and values “diversity” in executive roles and as a working mother she provides that diversity. My immediate reaction to that argument was this: why do women who have both proven their worth in the workplace and value their family role have to pitch their worthiness for a promotion in the name of diversity? What’s diversity got to do with it? Women are at least half the population in this country, and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 70% of women with children under 18 participate in the labor force. So why do we still view the ideal worker norm as an individual (male or female) whose work life exists in a vacuum void of consideration of family responsibilities?  

 

    This is a difficult issue that I will attempt to explore in subsequent posts. For now I raise it to bring awareness to it as a major obstacle that we must address. When it comes to women being equally represented in leadership positions within the legal profession, we are definitely still “chasing the last wave.”

 

This blog post was authored by Molly Tami. Molly Tami serves as the Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development at USD School of Law.  She previously designed and taught a course on Law, Gender and the Work/Family Conflict and is passionate about advancing women in the legal profession.              

Tags:  bias  Chasing the Last Wave  diversity  family responsibilities  feminism  feminist  gender  LCB  leadership  legal profession 

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My So-Called First-World Problems: "When Opting Out Is Not An Option"

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

When Option Out Is Not An Option            

           Remember Lisa Belkin?  Writer of “The Opt-Out Revolution,” which the New York Times Magazine published in October 2003? The article went viral before going viral was a thing. Belkin examined why so many women armed with Ivy League degrees were “opting out” of the workplace. “Why don’t women run the world?” “Maybe,” she explores, “It’s because they don’t want to.”

            I won’t rehash the flood of commentary the article generated but will leave it to your fertile imaginations (if you missed it, Google it). Thirteen years later, women continue to “opt out” of law and other competitive careers in concerning numbers.[1] We take on less demanding assignments, to better cater to our babies. I did it–I knew I could not breastfeed, try cases, and care for a two-year-old and an infant. For me, the calculus changed when the babies turned one and three, and breastfeeding fell out of the equation.

            I sat down recently with Mahira[2], a new mother who recently “opted out” of her job with a progressive non-profit following a year of trying to make it all work. I wanted to know the extent to which her opting out was an affirmative choice, or whether circumstances drove her to it. 

            Mahira’s husband enjoyed some flexibility after the arrival of their child. He took two months of paternity leave, and initially he returned to work part-time, to ease Mahira’s transition back to work. The firestorm hit when they each received significant promotions - in the same week! Their day care situation was not working well; the baby slept poorly. In addition to work and the baby, Mahira comes from a close-knit family and helps to care for a disabled relative. Her husband’s promotion meant constant travel, so Mahira was flying solo during the workweek. Mahira’s non-profit was incredibly flexible, allowing her to experiment with part-time and work-from-home days. 

            But in the end, Mahira came to a conclusion: “My sanity is not for sale.” She’s been home for a couple of months now, and she remains active with two non-profits on a volunteer basis. For Mahira, the financial dependence on her husband’s income has been one of the hardest parts of “opting out.” This is the first time in her adult life that she not earned income. Quitting her job has made Mahira’s life saner, and she feels tremendous peace with her decision. 

Belkin’s subjects decided that their own work lives were too demanding to be sustained along with any kind of a family life. Mahira’s decision mirrors theirs. When her husband’s job became all-consuming, it was Mahira who bowed out of the workforce. To be fair, finances played into her decision–her husband out-earned her. But here’s the thing: My son’s school is filled with kids whose mothers also opted out, probably the result of hundreds of individual decisions. It is not the individual decision of any particular woman that is of concern, but the pattern. 

           We women fill the lecture halls of elite colleges and law schools. Yet, when life as a dual-career family becomes unsustainable, it’s rarely husbands who step away from their earned income. And, when gender appears to be the common denomination among those opting out, is leaving the workforce really an individual choice, or is it more appropriate to deem it a sociological phenomenon? And, how does this model, (where the female takes on the lion’s share of responsibility for home and family), teach our children where women and where mothers, belong?



[1] In 2012, the ABA released statistics bearing this out. Although women held 45% of associate positions, only 20% of partners and 15% of equity partners are women.

[2] Mahira is not her real name.

This blog post was authored by Rebecca Zipp. Rebecca Zipp currently has a sink full of dirty dishes.

 


Tags:  balance parenting  LCB  My So-Called First-World Problems  working mom 

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Perspectives from the Periphery of Family Law: "The Magic Numbers I Wish I’d Known as I Started My Own Firm"

Posted By Anna Howard, Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Magic Numbers I Wish I’d Known as I Started My Own Firm

            I started my own law firm largely because no firm was doing the types of law I wanted to practice: What I’ve come to call periphery family law and estate planning, excluding probate. Those specific interest areas spurred my curiosity about setting out on my own, but what cemented the idea was the support and encouragement of friends and mentors. One said quite plainly, “You will never regret working hard to put profits directly into your own pocket,” and she was absolutely right.

            These mentors gave me check lists and must-dos that they found from other solo practitioners who had gone before them. I looked over their lists, ignored the items that were cost-prohibitive (like hiring a full-time secretary), and got underway. I dove in based on another gem of a tip, “Get busy finding clients and doing the work, set up your systems later or you’ll never end-up taking your first case.” 

            Now in year three and with more than one hundred cases under my belt, I have been approached by newer lawyers asking me for tips. This is still a learning process and the chief piece of advice I give is to make sure you have mentors who will answer your questions and lend you their keen insight. My other chief recommendation? Know your numbers.

            80/20. This is the proportion of time you will want to allocate between working on client matters and growing your business. I heard it broken down like this:  Mondays are for working on internal-systems and administrative tasks to keep your firm organized; Tuesdays through Thursdays are devoted to client matters; Fridays are for marketing to find new leads.

            6 months. This is the length of time it took me stop using savings to support myself. I wasted considerable time mapping out monthly goals and what minimum payments I needed to stay out of the red, but back then I had no idea what my case load was going to look like. While it was important to know exactly how much I needed to earn each month to keep the lights on, I should have been more patient with myself. Give yourself six months to see where the tide takes you, and map your yearly goals and future projections only after you have done at least half-a-year of work.

            1/6s. Six slices to a pie-chart is an easy visual. This pie-in-the-sky is what I mentally picture when I am considering spending money on a form of advertising. It helps put my marketing budget (or in the beginning, my credit card charges) in some semblance of order. Many of the networking events I attended crammed social-media down my throat. I felt panicky about not posting on facebook at a high-traffic times or not blogging on Avvo. Thankfully, I calmed down and got real. We are in a referral-driven industry, and only some of lawyers’ leads are generated from social media. Luckily, word of mouth costs nothing but elbow grease and a steadfast dedication to your professional reputation. 

            Here is my pie-slice marketing budget: 1/6 on announcements to family and friends–I chose the post-card route, other friends kicked-off their solo practice with a ribbon cutting. 1/6 on online-presence and social media. 1/6 on traditional ads such as yellow pages, with and understanding that the return is low. 1/6 on bar associations and MCLEs. 1/6 on complimentary industry groups like financial advisor lunches and meetings of CPAs.  Finally, the last 1/6th of my marketing budget is devoted to a structured weekly, category-exclusive, business referral group (these include Rotary, Kiwanas, Lions, BNI, Le Tip, TEAM, and some Chamber of Commerce small-groups). Spending too much money or time in any one slice is not healthy for the overall stability of my firm.

            1 hour. I religiously devote one hour in the morning to working out or at least taking a walk around my neighborhood every morning. I also devote one hour before I go to sleep to not check my email or do anything work related. This sounds intuitive, and these precious personal hours are not easy to carve out as a solo. I’ve learned that I do a better job helping my clients if I am refreshed and alert when I am working on a case. 

            I would love to know what magic numbers help guide other veteran solo practitioners out there! Please share your tips and suggestions for other topics below!

This blog post was authored by Anna Howard. Anna Howard, improving the lives of Californian families, one well-crafted legal document at a time.

 

Tags:  LCB  Perspectives from the Periphery of Family Law  solo budget  solo firm  solo numbers  solo practice  solo time management  solo tips 

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Is Pay Secrecy the Enemy?

Posted By Anonymous , Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Is Pay Secrecy the Enemy?

 

Equal pay for women has been a hot topic recently. Equal Pay Day is marked annually (recently in April) and marks how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. The U.S. women’s soccer team made news by filing a wage discrimination lawsuit against U.S. soccer (addressed in a wonderful LCB entry by Daphne Delvaux). Because this is an election year, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have raised this issue of wage disparity more often. Ivanka Trump even discussed equal pay for women during her speech at the Republican National Convention. The State of California addressed this issue by passing the Fair Pay Act going into effect on January 1, 2016. This law strengthened existing laws by requiring men and women to be paid equally for “substantially similar” work.

 

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that female attorneys at Farmers Insurance filed a class action lawsuit because they were getting paid significantly less than their male counterparts. One female attorney learned a male co-worker was making $185,000 while she was earning $99,000. This was true even though they had the same position and he earned his law license a year later. After facing some retaliation for complaining, this attorney quit and hired San Francisco attorney Lori Andrus to represent her in a lawsuit. Eventually a class action suit was brought on behalf of 300 Farmer’s attorneys with nearly 200 of them current employees.

 

It was learned the greatest disparity at Farmer’s Insurance occurred at higher pay levels where women were much more likely to be in a lower salary grade. This was true regardless of their bar date. Men were being promoted at higher rates “It’s not that women were being demoted,” Andrus said. “But a man would get groomed and promoted. Basically, there is male favoritism, which is probably unintentional. It’s a vestige of the good old boy network.” This matter has settled for $4,000,000. As part of the settlement, Farmers agreed to some reforms. These included increasing the number of women attorneys in its higher salary grades. The settlement also requires Farmer’s to reform its policies, including increasing the number of women attorneys in its higher salary grades.

 

The situation at Farmer’s is far from a unique one. Law firms, corporate offices, and government agencies across California operate in the same manner. These issues are usually swept under the rug or go undiscovered because of pay secrecy policies. There is also a general understanding that employees should not discuss salary with their colleagues. Those with a higher salary are likely aware of it and are going to be less willing to share the information publicly. Legally, employers cannot prevent their employees from discussing salary information. However, this could lead to additional retaliation (as in the Farmer’s case above) if the wage discrepancy issue is then raised with the employer.

 

Leave your opinion in the comments. I’d love to hear what others have to say. Is full disclosure of salary information the answer to pay discrimination? Should salary information be shared among co-workers? 

Tags:  class action  equal pay  Farmer’s Insurance lawsuit  LCB  off the beaten partner track  pay discrimination  pay secrecy  salary retaliation  U.S. Women's Soccer  wage discrepancy 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track: "Can We Have It All?"

Posted By Jillian Fairchild, Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Can We Have It All?

The question of whether work/life balance is possible is a constant one. Anne-Marie Slaughter famously determined that the answer was “no” in her article titled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Since the birth of my own daughter, I have been wondering more and more - is it possible to have a full-time career, children/family, and keep your sanity?

 

Women everywhere are fighting to balance work lives with home life. My own struggle has been made more difficult by the fact that I recently joined a very busy litigation defense firm. My hours have gotten longer and I am not always home by the time my daughter is asleep. On those days, my time with her is limited to the hour I see her in the morning before I drop her off at daycare. When I have to go out of town, I am frequently gone before she gets up and do not get home until after she is asleep.

 

This dilemma is not limited to women. I see some of my male colleagues also struggle for balance. My own husband faced similar issues. He is a chef who worked for 10 years before being promoted to executive chef. What he quickly learned is that his new position required working 6-7 days and 70-80 hours a week, all evenings, weekends, and holidays. Once our daughter was born, he felt he was missing everything at home. He eventually refused to work in restaurants and hotels and is now a chef in a corporate office. He works dream hours (6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) and is home in the evenings and weekends to see his family. 

 

Of course, consideration must be given to the fact that the “all” is different for everyone. Ms. Slaughter referred to having children and a high-powered career. Like her, some strive to be at the top of their profession. Others simply strive to pay their bills, but their real goal is to make time for the PTA. My husband decided that his “all” was time at home and his family was more important than the long hours that came with a more prestigious chef position.

 

It seems as though it is important to determine what your “all” is. Every person has to look at their life and determine what is most important to them. Is it spending time with your kids? Having a dream job/career? There are also financial considerations impacting these decisions, including daycare and student loan debt. The “all” is a deeply personal decision that is different for everyone and will likely change over time. 

This blog post was authored by Jillian Fairchild

 

Tags:  Ann-Marie Slaughter  having it all  LCB  off the beaten partner track  work-life balance 

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Celebrating Two Decades of Outreach Through Reading

Posted By Michele Macosky , Monday, August 29, 2016
Celebrating Two Decades of Outreach Through Reading
 

It is amazing to think that it has been 20 years since the first Read-In at Central Elementary School in City Heights. LC member Jan Atkinson launched a Career Day Read In event and established Lawyers Club’s formal “Partnership in Education” with Central in the 1996-1997 school year. A few months later, as the new chair of what is now the Community Outreach Committee, I was tasked with further developing and overseeing this partnership. At a meeting with the school, we brainstormed plans for the first Halloween Read-In.

This was before email really took off, so organizing meant long cold calls to everyone I knew asking them to participate—and then individually faxing confirming information. I would describe the intense need at the school, where even today, every student qualifies for free breakfast and lunch and must overcome daunting economic disadvantages. The children are in need of role models to encourage things like a love of reading, staying in school, going to college or considering a dream career. 

For twenty years, I have humbly watched our volunteers flood the school at read-ins to be these role models. It didn’t take long for us to add a Spring Read-In. After the first few years, La Raza Lawyers Association joined us to recruit Spanish/English bilingual readers for bilingual-designated classrooms. Our volunteers have brought books, treats, school supplies, and most of all themselves—with many dedicated readers returning year after year, and new readers always joining in. I have watched firsthand as our volunteers—from city officials to first-year law students—inspire the kids to fulfill their own potential.

Still, the needs at Central remain great. I was told by Central staff that there is no money in the budget for basic school supplies this year. The kids return towards the end of August, and they are missing things like paper, pencils, markers and items needed for the school to open. I know the families are not in a position to make up the difference for each child. Even worse, kids in the 4th and 5th grades are in non-air-conditioned trailer-classrooms where temperatures rise to the point that teachers have to stop lessons to ensure the students are okay, despite the heat. High temperatures will persist through the October Read-In, and teachers in these classes asked me to see if our members would help donate fans. Sooooo, the COC created an online wish list through which our members can donate. I am truly hoping that the wishlist link goes viral and people forward it to everyone they know who might donate. Every little bit helps and in the aggregate, we can make a huge impact on the 800+ small children at the school who have so many obstacles to overcome.

Helping kids is a passion for me. I believe that to change society we must outreach to the next generation. If we empower and teach our values to the children, we change the world. Twenty years later, organizing the read-ins is one of the most important and fulfilling things I do. This year, we celebrate two decades of Read-Ins at Central Elementary School on Monday, October 31, 2016 (Halloween) from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Mayor Kevin Faulconer will speak and read to kids. I am always grateful to the returning readers who continue to make such a difference and excited to welcome new volunteers to what has become my favorite and most meaningful Halloween tradition. Join us by emailing me at Macosky@san.rr.com.

This blog post was authored by Michele Macosky. Michele Macosky practices employment law and is a Harry Potter fan.

Tags:  anniversary  COC  Community Outreach Committee  Halloween  read-in  reading 

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