High-profile gender bias lawsuits like the one former Fox News Network anchor Gretchen Carlson settled this week with the network for a reported $20 million are a boon to lawyers because of the fees and media attention they garner.
But a handful of lawsuits filed against law firms this year are drawing attention to the legal industry's own record when it comes to how women are treated in the workforce. Legal recruiters and consultants say these suits come at a time when talented female lawyers are already seeking out firms that have women in leadership roles, and will only intensify a recruiting problem for law firms where that's not the case.
Sheri Michaels, a partner at the recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, agreed that female partners looking to switch to a new firm want to know whether there are women leading the firm's most significant practice groups and committees, such as the compensation and management committees.
"When you look at that next generation of young rising stars, they've been brought up networking and building books of business and now they're looking to capitalize on it," Michaels said. "They want to be at a firm that's going to support and reward that."