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‘Great Expectations for Female Lawyers’

Florence Martin-Kessler writes, "On the bright summer morning of Sept. 9, 2001, I picked up the newspaper from my Brooklyn doorstep, just as I did every Sunday. I was 29, newly wed and relocated from Paris. One of the headlines in the magazine caught my eye: 'Great Expectations.'

"The article presented a series of portraits: 21 women, most just out of law school (where women graduate in roughly equal numbers as men) who were recruited to a big New York law firm. The article asked them to elaborate on the gender gap and on their life and work prospects. Yet the underlying premise of 'Great Expectations' was concise and blunt: Men ruled the world. I tore out and saved the article. I could relate to these women, many of whom, like me, were in their 20s, had graduated from elite schools and had landed a first job in a big corporate firm (I had spent a year as a junior consultant before walking away)."

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