Originally posted on the Colorado Women's Bar Association "Under Pressure" blog.
“We’re interested in what you want to do. What you’re doing is an act of hope. You understand that?” - Nora Fanshaw, Marriage Story
In Marriage Story, viewers met Nora Fanshaw, a powerhouse female divorce lawyer who fiercely advocates for her client by building a true, genuine connection. In this scene, she encourages her client to think about her own best interests and pursue her own dreams, highlighting the sincerity of the connection they share.
Therein lies one of the secret powers of women lawyers. Research on gender differences in professional settings shows that women treat relationship development as a worthwhile endeavor on its own, while men establish professional relationships with an end benefit in mind. As women, we can tap into our natural tendencies and strengths and use them in the professional world to advance our legal careers. Here are some ideas on how female relationship marketing can take place in a male dominated industry.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of networking with other legal professionals. However, it is important to take this one step further and devote time specifically to connecting with other women, both inside and outside of the legal profession. Numbers have shifted in recent years, and women law students now outnumber men. Still, old power structures remain in law firms. Partnership and leadership roles within law firms are largely held by men.
Overcoming this type of imbalance requires intentional effort. It is vital to engage in legal organizations, such as the CWBA, that empower women and create safe spaces where we can share our experiences, failures, and successes.
Women are significantly underrepresented in other industries, including engineering, technology, and finance. Many large metropolitan areas now have networking associations that connect women from a variety of industries, allowing members to benefit from each other’s resources and connections. As a Colorado female lawyer, regardless of your practice area focus, consider becoming involved in these groups to build new connections and explore new business development opportunities.