When Pres. Obama announced Attorney General Eric Holder’s pending retirement Thursday, our friends on the right seemed to lose their composure. The Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro posted an article on the organization’s website – which has since been removed – in which he compared Holder to noted segregationist George Wallace: “Holder, according to Shapiro’s column,…
From the “guess what, big law firms are still playgrounds for clueless white men” files: a memo circulated through Clifford Chance’s U.S. offices that gave women helpful tips for public speaking. Some of these tips:
- You’ve got to lose the “Um” and “Uh,” “You Know,” “OK,” and “Like.”
- Use a relaxed, open throat, breathe from the abdomen, and keep your mouth open.
- Think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe.
- Don’t giggle, don’t squirm, and don’t tilt your head.
- Practice hard words.
- Wear a suit, not your party outfit.
- No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage.
The tips are, of course, sexist.
You know what else is sexist? The fact that a mass e-mail from a “Women’s Committee” member to all the female associates in the U.S. is what passes for effort to retain and promote women in Big Law. As my friend @LedaGaytrix pointed out upon learning of this memo, “Firms direct advice to women to make up for lack of mentors, not because only women need the tips.” Patronizing, arms-length “mentoring” like this probably has something to do with why women don’t stick around in Big Law: they’re rare among power players at the most influential firms, despite outnumbering men among law school graduates. Maybe firms like Clifford Chance should do more than simply set up a Women’s Committee and fail to monitor the members’ e-mails. If they really care about retaining and promoting their female associates, that is.