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Harassment from clients can stunt women's careers, but few firms are trying to stop it

Caroline Spiezio of the National Law Journal writes, "Risk-averse by trade, most attorneys easily recognize the line between appropriate and inappropriate professional conduct. But when dealing with clients, law firms are sometimes willing to blur that line.

Numerous women told Corporate Counsel that sexual harassment by clients is not uncommon in the legal industry, with stories ranging from uncomfortable comments to repeated unwanted propositions to assault.

Women often don’t report these incidents, fearing retaliation or lack of support from their firms, many of which do not have policies against client harassment.

Women who did tell someone at their firm about business development-related harassment often had their concerns dismissed. That’s what happened to one female lawyer, who preferred to remain anonymous, when she reported an experience of inappropriate conduct to a firm colleague.

She was a midlevel lawyer at a large law firm, interested, like most associates pursuing partnership, in building a book of business. He was a senior attorney at an out-of-town firm who had referred a client to her and, based on her performance, said he looked forward to referring more work. The two met for drinks at his hotel to discuss additional business opportunities." READ MORE>>

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