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Erica YitzhakWomen in the law field make up about a third of the nation’s lawyers, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Some more statistics: In 2011 19.5% of women were partners and women make about 77% of men lawyer’s salaries.

The rate of change has been a slow one to roll out – It could take longer than an entire lifetime for things to get better in terms of equal partnerships and compensation.

So what can women in law do to help the situation move forward?

Unfortunately, Law schools don’t really account for this type of social dynamic, so women have to be super proactive in terms of advocating for themselves, retaining clients, and attracting partnerships. A major skill most Law schools overlook is being able to sell yourself – this is especially important in sales, but also, as an attorney.

If you think about how most people pick a lawyer, it’s mostly based on the lawyer’s personality and if the client likes them as a person. It’s up to women lawyer’s to have confidence in their abilities, and to present themselves as more than competent candidates for this client’s situation.

A few qualities that most people look for in a great lawyer:

–Personable
–Confident
–Loyal
–Able to give quality support
–Be someone clients turn to for advice

A few tips on how to be a successful women attorney in a private law firm:

1. Establish yourself as a leader. Promote yourself as such and looking for opportunities to be credible with your partners and also with your clients.

2. Expertise. This is a given, but it also takes time. The goal is to be an expert – be the best– in your field and area.

3. Get out and sell your services and book plenty of business.

4. Be a real team player. Be someone everyone goes to for help, advice, or support. Basically, be a great leader to others.

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