Female partners and in-house counsel discuss juggling work and personal demands
Law Week on April 6 gathered a group of women from inside and outside counsel positions to talk about issues facing women in the legal profession. The group included Chris Allyn, SVP and general counsel at Quiznos and vice president of the Colorado chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel, Sarah Chase-McRorie, senior legal counsel at Matrix Financial Solutions and president-elect of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, Allison Nelson, director at Fennemore Craig, and Julie Walker, founding partner at Kelly & Walker. Law Week editor Tony Flesor moderated the discussion, and Hunter + Geist reported it. The following is a partial transcript of the conversation.
LAW WEEK: I really like these discussions as well as our diversity discussions because I think it’s a little more purposeful. The first question that I have on my list has to do with some of the reports that have come up from time to time. The most recent numbers that we’ve seen show that women make up about 17 percent of partners, and as far as general counsel, I think it’s about 20 percent. But I am curious as to how you would account for this as far as what you see in your careers.
What have you seen as far as personal experiences that either are something different from what those numbers show or that support that? How would you assess the path to partnership or to those high-level positions?
CHRIS ALLYN: It’s interesting. I would say this seems consistent with what I’ve seen. And I think what I find really interesting is it’s certainly not a pipeline problem. There are as many women coming out of law school and going into the profession as there are men, but certainly as you get higher and higher and higher, that attrition rate just seems to pick up. I definitely think that that’s consistent.
I see in the GC groups that I’m in, and certainly on boards, in the boardroom I’m often one of the only women in there. But the voices are the same. We get heard, I think, to the same degree as we move up there, but it’s certainly interesting.