Institutional bias holds women back, says senior lawyer

June 14, 2013 Stephanie Haladner, a former Clifford Chance lawyer and now a diversity consultant to the UK top law firms has described an institutional bias against women: "There is an unconscious bias that is stopping women from getting promoted in law firms. We have to look at a culture change. The majority of law firms are acknowledging that they have an issue and would like to take steps to make a change.

"When it comes to unconscious bias, it means [law firms] recruit and advance people in their own image.

Earlier this year, Britain’s most senior female judge, Baroness Hale of Richmond, aimed criticism at the British legal profession for failing to hire talented women in senior positions, blaming a culture of “unconscious sexism”. Baroness Hale said that often interviewers were most comfortable hiring men, and that certain legal recruiters were allowing long-held prejudices to influence their decisions regarding gifted female candidates. “I suspect they’re not very good at assessing people who have come from different backgrounds,” she said.

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