Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Norma C Noonan

Second Advisor

Bradley W Hanson


This study presents an analysis of the obstacles that women lawyers face in advancing from the early stages of their careers into equity ownership or other leadership positions in law firms. It will also examine the issues that affect the advancement opportunities of women into key leadership positions in law firms. In addition, the paper will examine gender bias, societal pressures and the requirements associated with the profession and how those pressures have an especially adverse effect on women. This paper will suggest what women can do for themselves and for other women to effect change to the system. Finally, the paper will demonstrate why it is also important to the law firms to retain their women lawyers and will suggest steps the law firms and law schools can take to improve the retention of women lawyers.


SC 11.MAL.2008.Winter.DR