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Commonwealth Review of Political Science

Commonwealth Review of Political Science

Abstract

Historically, the legal profession has been dominated by white men (García-López 2008). Over time, the barriers hindering diverse participation have been somewhat lifted. In recent years, law schools enrolled equal percentages of men and women, and the number of minority students has also increased. So, how has the legal profession adapted to these changes? The hiring of women and minorities in the field of law does not reflect the increasing diversity seen in law school. Today, only 36% of lawyers are women. While existing research shows discrimination present in the field of law, few studies have examined the relationship between an attorney’s practice area and experiences of discrimination. It is expected that masculine-typed areas of law create less inclusive work environments; therefore, I expect that women working in masculine-associated areas would report more gender discrimination as well as lower job satisfaction relative to attorneys in feminine-associated areas. Using an existing data set of practicing attorneys in North Carolina, we explored the degree to which reported levels of job satisfaction and perceived gender discrimination varied across gendered areas of law.

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