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President's Message - October 2019 - Lawyers Club of San Diego
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Becoming a Leader 


Elvira Cortez, Lawyers Club President 2019-2020

Upon accepting the role as President of Lawyers Club, I challenged our members to assume leadership positions at their workplace, both in the private and public sector. It is no secret that the legal profession suffers from a lack of women in leadership positions. In the legal profession, women are 45 percent of associates but only 22.7 percent of partners and 19 percent of equity partners. This lack of representation mirrors other professions, like corporate management where women make up only 4.9 percent of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. While many are familiar with the obstacles women face including unconscious bias and lack of mentorship, among others, some of those obstacles are self-imposed.

In a 2018 study reported by Heather Murphy of the New York Times, when asked to draw an effective leader both men and women almost always drew a man. In another study conducted by Hewlett Packard, women were less likely than men to apply for jobs unless they were confident that they met all of the listed requirements. In other words, men were much more likely to apply for job openings even if they did not meet all of the listed requirements.

Despite the many obstacles, studies show that women excel in leadership positions. In a recent study conducted by Harvard Business Review, women in leadership positions were perceived by their peers as just as competent, and in some cases more competent, as their male counterparts. In this study, women were rated higher than men in taking initiative, acting with resilience, practicing self-development, driving for results, and displaying high integrity and honesty. This shows that once women achieve leadership positions, we not only excel but our peers recognize our contribution.

So how do women become leaders and begin to bridge the gender gap? For those experienced attorneys who have perfected their craft, it is time for you to step up.

Considering joining the bench? Apply.

Do you want an upper management position? Apply.

Do you want to make partner? Apply yourself to develop a book of business.

Even if you do not meet all the listed requirements, Apply. We need you to obtain these leadership positions to achieve true equity in the legal field.

For those younger and mid-career attorneys, the first step is to express interest and obtain leadership positions available within your own firms or organizations. Gaining the opportunity to display your leadership skills in front of your colleagues is invaluable. It is also crucial to get involved in local bar organizations. Become engaged in a Lawyers Club committee and become a committee chair. By being involved, your peers will recognize your leadership potential, and you will further your reputation.

Finally, if you want additional guidance on how to obtain a leadership position, JOIN US for Lawyers Club’s October luncheon to hear from our speakers who will discuss various strategies and provide inspiration for you to take it to the next level.

more Calendar

She Fest

SD Pride

Equal Pay Day Luncheon--Rescheduled to November 19, 2020

Lawyers Club of San Diego

402 West Broadway, Suite 1260
San Diego CA 92101

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