Imagine that you’ve been in a car accident, and you’re waiting for your newly-hired attorney to arrive and discuss your case. You hear the sound of dress shoes click-clacking down the hallway, the murmur of voices in serious discussion, two figures round the corner…
…Your new lawyer is a woman.
Chances are, you were expecting a man – and with good reason. Men dominate the legal profession, while women fight desperately just to draw level. According to the American Bar Association, women constitute just 34% of practicing attorneys. You may wonder why, and the answer may alarm you.
It’s no secret that a career in law comes with long hours and a high stress-load. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for female attorneys to be forced out of the office when confronted with the unreasonable commitment to work that is expected of lawyers and their associates. A work-and-home life balance is just not possible, particularly for mothers.
Numerous female lawyers have admitted to experiencing prejudice when it comes to their work, not merely from other lawyers but even from bosses and judges. Ignorance of maternity-leave & labor laws may result in many female attorneys being fired once they become pregnant – which is VERY illegal – or earn a stubborn refusal from judges when it comes to rescheduling court dates that coincide with doctor’s appointments or delivery dates.
A quick online search of the term “female lawyer” unearths story after story about discrimination, rudeness, shocking ignorance of moral and legal obligations, and just plain old sexism.
Although this behavior seems to be widespread and is experienced by many women who simply desire a career pursuing justice, there is hope. The world of the legal profession is changing slowly, expanding gradually, and blossoming with a more diverse touch.
We at Montagna Law hope to be one of the pioneers of this expansion. We didn’t hire her because of her gender, but we are certainly pleased to have Amber H. Russo working with our firm. We knew she was powerful in the courtroom when we hired her, but after reading about the hardships facing female attorneys, we now recognize just how strong she really is.
Welcome to the team Amber, we’re so glad to have you here with us!
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.