November 18, 2022

New Study Finds Sexual Harassment Pervasive in the Legal Professions

Taking a break from the wall-to-wall imperative that is coronavirus, we wanted to highlight a new study about workplace cultures in the legal practice. Conducted by the Women Lawyers on Guard, the study Still Broken: Sexual Harassment and Misconduct in the Legal Profession shows that sexual harassment plagues women at all levels of the legal profession, from early-career lawyers to judges, and everyone in between. 

The study draws on a survey distributed in the summer of 2019 in which people were asked several questions about their experience with sexual harassment in their legal careers. Of the 2,100 respondents, 92% identified as women, and of that cohort, 75% responded that they had experienced sexual harassment firsthand.

The WLG’s executive summary of the study highlights six important takeaways from the findings with the most prominent that sexual harassment appears to be deeply rooted in the legal professions, whether it is at firms, in government, or in academia. The findings also demonstrate the paucity of effective courses of action for people who have experienced harassment or assault and highlight the distinct lack of consequences for such institutionalized behavior. According to the survey, race and ethnicity as well as gender identity are seen as compounding factors. 

In addition to highlighting the survey results, the WLG calls for far-reaching recommendations and the study also provides information on what the respondents believe would be effective ways to combat workplace harassment.

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