Lafayette Women in Law Society connects current and future lawyers

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The executive board of the Women in Law Society hopes to create a community for students interested in law to support and learn with each other. (Photo courtesy of Bryn Cranswick ’23)

Isabella Gaglione, Contributing Writer

As one moves up the ranks of American law firms, fewer female faces appear. The Lafayette Women in Law Society hopes to do its part to change that in the future. 

According to a survey by the National Association of Women Lawyers, women make up only 47% of associates, 30% of non-equity partners and 20% of equity partners. 93% of firms reported that their highest-paid attorney is a man. Lafayette College’s Women in Law Club is working to overcome these barriers by providing a space for female students interested in law to build helpful connections.

Jules Bernstein ‘22, the club’s president, has been a part of the society since its inception in 2018 and its official establishment as a club in 2019.

“At first it was really small. It was just a bunch of seniors who wanted to create some sort of space,” Bernstein explained.

Now, three years later, the club has expanded to over 50 members interested in the issues facing women in the legal profession.

“We are trying to make it more of a community,” Bernstein said. “With covid, it was really hard to get people involved over Zoom, but hopefully this year we can make it more of a community than simply just a networking club.”

In lieu of weekly meetings, the club hosts events such as panels featuring alumni with a career in law, discussions with professors and LSAT prep. Most events take place at night to comply with the class schedules of Lafayette students. Last year, the club hosted three panels with recent female alumni who now work in the law field.

Networking is a large aspect of the club and, according to Bernstein, important when dealing with the sexism that women going into the law field experience.

“Having a space now where we can network with each other, especially with alumni but also with just current students, and forming these connections now—I think that would be really helpful for our futures,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein emphasized that the club is not exclusively for women, as its members also include non-binary people and men.

“I think some of the opportunities we provide could be great opportunities for anyone interested in law, so I don’t want it to be an exclusionary club,” she explained.

Bernstein also encouraged students outside of the Government & Law department to participate.

“College is the place where you can have those opportunities to try different things out, so even if you’re not a Government & Law major and maybe just have a small interest in law, I think we could definitely provide you with certain opportunities to network or just understand more about different fields within law. I think Women in Law could provide different avenues.” Bernstein said.

In the future, the club is looking to collaborate with similar clubs on campus, such as the Kirby Government and Law Society and Lafayette College Democrats. Additionally, Women in Law club officers are in the early stages of planning a trip to New York City for the Spring Semester 2022, a trip last done in the club’s inaugural year of 2019. The trip aims to connect Lafayette students with alumni who are either attending law school or actively working as lawyers.

The next Women in Law event will be on Monday, Oct. 25 in Kirby Hall 106 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Students interested in joining the club can connect with Bernstein at [email protected] or follow the club on their Instagram, @lafayette_womeninlaw.