Resources Newsletter Archive Special Issue, August 2003

Special Issue, August 2003

  • Important New Book

Making The Hours of Your Life Worth More™

Special Issue
Gender on Trial: Sexual Stereotypes
and Work/Life Balance in the Legal Workplace
By Holly English Law Journal Press, 2003

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Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., Editor: Ellen is the founder of™ Personal and Career Coaching for Lawyers Determined to Achieve Professional Success AND a Fulfilling Life


Most attorneys -- especially women -- live impossibly busy lives. Finding a balance between work and life without sacrificing professional success, deciding on the best practice area or work setting, and making career transitions can be a daunting task, even for the most gifted and accomplished lawyer.

Just as every person deserves the best possible legal counsel, every attorney deserves professional, dedicated support in accomplishing her most important goals. You know how hard you've worked to get where you are -- you serve others, both personally and professionally. You've earned the right to both career success and a fulfilling life.

This newsletter is intended to help you create a satisfying life -- within, or outside of -- legal practice.



by Holly English. Law Journal Press, 2003.

Holly English, Esq., a former practicing attorney and founder
of the Values at Work consultancy, has written an important
book that should be on the "must-read" list of every attorney
interested in work/life balance for women and men.


In this post-sex discrimination era, what plagues men and
women in legal workplaces are intractable gender
stereotypes. Scenes they thought were on the ash heap
of history - executive teams and management committees
with no women; women who resent ambitious females;
men unable to take reduced hours; sexist jokes; a
hesitancy to hire women because they may get pregnant
and leave - remain stubbornly alive. A compelling and
important new book reveals the tenacious grip these fixed
stereotypes retain on our cultural imagination -- and what
can be done to loosen their hold.

In Holly English's Gender On Trial: Sexual Stereotypes and
Work/Life Balance in the Legal Workplace, nearly two
hundred lawyers from around the country - as well as
psychologists, consultants and recruiters - testify to
what life is really like for men and women who work
shoulder-to-shoulder in legal workplaces. With a focus
on law firms, along with in-house legal departments,
government offices, and public interest organizations, the
book creates an indelible oral history of a profession still
struggling with persistent stereotypes governing sexuality,
competence, ambition, personal style, leadership, honesty,
motherhood and fatherhood.

The book describes how people react to prescribed roles:
some by conforming, others pushing the boundaries, and
a few flouting them all together. Original concepts such as
" genderation gap," "underground harassment," "story
making," the "wishful thinking trap," and the "expectations
gap" shed new light on an area that's been examined at
length but foundered for lack of innovative insights and

Uniquely for this genre of books, the male viewpoint is as
prominent as the female's. The author tells how lawyers
combat rumors in the workplace to avoid speculation about
sexual wrongdoing. She explores how women can "be the
boss" in the face of hostile attitudes, and questions why shy,
deferential men are marginalized, suggesting ways to
achieve greater workplace acceptance for them. She also
chronicles why even seasoned female practitioners face a
" second glass ceiling." The book explains why full timers
and part timers find so little common ground, and why
people working reduced hours while raising children are
considered "slackers" lacking "commitment." On these
issues and many more, Ms. English presents a 360-degree
picture of where we stand.

Practitioners share specific tips, with hundreds of eye-
popping anecdotes, about how they handle the confines of
gender roles. They explain how individuals can be change
agents within their workplaces, working to help a colleague,
change a policy, and in the end, make a difference.

Written about lawyers, but accessible for people in all
professions and industries, Gender on Trial tells how to
increase options, so that people can act according to their
individual personalities and attributes, and less because
society expects men to act one way and women another.
In meticulously illuminating the cultural evolution of gender
politics in the legal workplace over the past generation,
Ms. English prescribes innovative new models to help
realize the vision of a workplace free of gender bias.



"Gender on Trial is a welcome addition to the literature
on women lawyers. Holly English effectively combines
material from her extensive interviews with both women
and men throughout the profession with an impressive
array of data from a wide range of disciplines to
effectively illuminate the complex stereotypes that
continue to define women's advancement in the workplace.
The book is destined to be an important resource for law
students, practitioners, and scholars."

Prof. David Wilkins, Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law
and Director of the Program on the Legal Profession,
Harvard Law School

" Holly English has written an indispensable handbook,
both for the beginning female practitioner and the legal
profession as a whole. If women are ever to occupy
more than a token presence among the leaders of the
country's biggest law firms, lawyers everywhere need
to engage in the kind of soul-searching English advocates.
She makes a convincing case for the benefits and economic
feasibility of part-time lawyers (even within the large law
firm model) and gives practical, solid advice for women
looking to improve their career trajectory. If the leaders
of our profession can - as English recommends -
constructively examine ways to improve the status of
women in the profession, the result will not only be more
women in positions of power (a plus for all of us soldiering
in the trenches), but also more profitable, efficiently run
law firms."

Kathleen Wu, Esq., partner and former managing partner,
Andrews & Kurth, Dallas, and workplace columnist,
Texas Lawyer

"Finally, an alternative to angry polemics. Any lawyer
interested in healing the rift between men and women
lawyers will want to read this comprehensive and
absorbing book. Through extensive interviews and
intelligent analysis, English has written an illuminating
examination of gender issues in the legal profession
and has provided a much needed starting place for real
dialogue - and real change."

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., Owner, Lawyers Life Coach LLC



Order your copy at

or at



VoiceAmerica will be airing a discussion of Gender on Trial.
The author, Holly English, will be joined by Kathleen Wu, a
partner at Andrews & Kurth in Dallas and a columnist for
Texas Lawyer.

The program will air on July 28th at 5:00 PM Eastern time.
The show can be heard online by going to



Please join us for a stimulating and informative live
discussion with the author of Gender on Trial, Holly English.

This is a FREE event. Holly will join Ellen on our state-of-the-art
teleconference bridge line to talk about her book and answer
questions from participants. All you need to do to
participate is to dial in at the scheduled time and you'll
be connected with Holly, Ellen and the other participants.

This will be a "virtual book signing." It's the same as other
in-person book signings you've attended, but you don't
have to travel. All you have to do is to pick up your

If you've already purchased Holly's book and would
like it inscribed by the author, come on the call and
we'll tell you how you can obtain your personal inscription.

You can buy Gender on Trial now at
and read it before our virtual book signing, so you can
ask Holly all the questions the book raised for you and
exchange ideas with other readers.

Or, you can meet Holly, hear about the book and listen
to the reactions of other readers before you decide you
must have this book in your library.

- - - - - - - - - - - -


This virtual book signing is scheduled for early Fall, 2003.

Further details will be announced in
" Beyond the Billable Hour" TM and posted on
our website:

If you're not already subscribed to
" Beyond the Billable Hour" TM and would like to receive
notice about this event, you can subscribe at


BEYOND THE BILLABLE HOUR™ is published monthly by Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., founder of She brings 20 years of experience assisting women attorneys to her work in Lawyers Life Coach™. is a professional and personal coaching firm specializing in working virtually (by phone with email and fax backup) with women attorneys interested in developing strategies to find greater satisfaction in their careers within the law or in exploring career alternatives for lawyers.

Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D. established to coach busy lawyers who might benefit from the insights gained from 20 years as a psychologist combined with her experience and familiarity with the legal profession.

Ellen holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester and is a managing member of Metropolitan Behavioral Health Care, LLC., a multispecialty, multidisciplinary psychotherapy practice in Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland.

She is a member of the International Coach Federation and a graduate of the MentorCoach Program™.


NOTE: BEYOND THE BILLABLE HOUR™ is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a personal consultation with a mental health professional and should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, or other psychological service.



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