For Lawyers

Women in the Profession Committee

PURPOSE OF THE WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION COMMITTEE

In 1994, the Committee formulated its purpose as follows:

  • to assess the status of women in the legal profession
  • to identify barriers that prevent women lawyers from full participation in the work, responsibilities and rewards of the profession
  • to develop educational programs and materials to address discrimination against women lawyers
  • to make recommendations to the State Bar Board of Directors for action to address problems identified by the Committee

Chair
Elizabeth Marsh
Marsh Law Firm, P. C.
904 West Avenue, Suite A-104
Austin, TX 78701-2204
(512) 236-8200
emarsh@elizabethmarshlaw.com

Vice Chair
Jennifer Wang
Dallas City Attorney's Office
Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla Rm 7DN
Dallas, TX 75201-6622
(214) 670-3476
jennifer.wang@dallascityhall.com

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CONTINUING GOALS

  • To make women and men aware of the Women in the Profession Committee and to promote the status of women attorneys in the State of Texas
  • Work with the grievance committees to set up a system for monitoring grievance information by gender and to coordinate these activities with other State Bar committees and sections
  • Continue to update our study of disparity in academic ranking of women faculty in law schools, and publicize the results of that study
  • Continue to enhance our interface with Texas law schools to assist the administration, faculty and students with gender issues and to promote a speaker's bureau on the issues
  • Prepare an index of resource materials relating to gender issues as a resource to the Committee, law schools and other interested parties
  • Compile a listing of all current or proposed rules or recommendations dealing with sexual harassment and gender bias
  • Complete and conduct a survey relating to the status and/or experience of women in law firms
  • Examine the results of our initial study of women lawyers in the 100 largest Texas law firms as to the number of male and female lawyers in the firm, and the breakdown according to status
  • Interface with Texas law firms to discuss and assist on gender bias issues
  • Expand our study of women lawyers to include an initial study of the number of male and female members of the judiciary in the local, state and federal courts of Texas
  • Encourage and assist women attorneys to seek election or appointment to the judiciary and offices in local and statewide professional organizations, the State Bar, and State Bar committees and sections
  • Continue to work with the Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee to monitor and suggest changes needed in the Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct

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History

A new committee of the State Bar of Texas was formed in 1989 for a one-year term to study the role of women in the legal profession. The Committee circulated a survey designed to assess the status of women in the Texas legal community and to determine to what extent and in what areas women lawyers encounter gender bias. The survey, addressed to both men and women lawyers and completed in 1990, provided valuable insight into the extent to which gender bias continues to be a problem for many lawyers and the extent to which some issues that may have been traditionally viewed as "women's issues" (such as parental leave) are actually "lifestyle issues" that both men and women perceive as important.

Focused on increasing women's involvement in the profession and the State Bar, the Women in the Profession Committee became a standing committee of the State Bar of Texas. Its goals in the first year as a standing committee included the appointment of women to State Bar committees in numbers that reflect the number of women lawyers in Texas (at that time, 20 percent); the election of six women to the Board of Directors within three years (which would reflect the same 20 percent ratio); including representatives from the Committee in the process to select nominees for the Board's appointed minority positions; and encouraging the State Bar to view discrimination based on gender as a violation of ethics.

During the 1992-1993 fiscal year, the Committee developed a proposal to amend the Code of Professional Responsibility (since renamed the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct) to make discrimination based on race, sex, marital status, national origin, religion, disability or sexual orientation in a lawyer's professional or employment practices an act of misconduct. The Committee presented a proposal to the State Bar Professional Development Program (since renamed Texas Bar CLE) to promote the use of gender-neutral terms in its programs. The Committee also initiated a review of NALP forms to determine how women attorneys are affected when firms downsize, and provided members to serve on the State Bar Committee to Select Minority Board Members.

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Periodicals and Reports

Perspectives
The newsletter of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession

Annual Report on the Status of Women in the State Bar of Texas 
Produced by the State Bar of Texas Research and Analysis Department

Texas Journal of Women and the Law
Edited by students at the University of Texas School of Law

Guidelines for Practicing Gender Neutral Courtroom Procedures [PDF]
Based on findings and recommendations of The Supreme Court of Texas Gender Bias
Task Force

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POSSIBLE FUTURE PROJECTS

Continuing to monitor and publicize the National Association of Law Placement data most relevant to women

  • Studying the extent to which there may be disparate treatment of women in connection with disciplinary actions or grievance committees
  • A glass-ceiling study specific to women attorneys in Texas
  • An update of the 1990 Membership Attitude Survey

Contact Us

Committees
Committees
State Bar of Texas
P.O. Box 12487                     
Austin, TX 78711-2487  
Ph: (512) 427-1463, ext. 1516 or (800) 204-2222, ext. 1516
Fax: (512) 427-4276  
committees@texasbar.com

General inquiries for the State Bar Office of Minority Affairs should be sent to minorityaffairs@texasbar.com.

Office of Minority Affairs
Director: Caren des Vignes
State Bar of Texas
P.O. Box 12487     
Austin, TX 78711-2487 
Ph: (512) 427-1463, ext. 1538 or (800) 204-2222, ext. 1538  
Fax: (512) 427-4439
cdesvignes@texasbar.com

Office of Research and Analysis
State Bar of Texas
P.O. Box 12487
Austin, TX 78711-2487  
Ph: (512) 427-1463, ext. 1724 or (800) 204-2222, ext. 1724 
Fax: (512) 427-4100

Communications
State Bar of Texas
P.O. Box 12487                     
Austin, TX 78711-2487  
Ph: (512) 427-1463, ext. 1517 or (800) 204-2222, ext. 1517   
Fax: (512) 427-4104  

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