Lauri Donahue, LawGeex Director of Legal Content on the importance of women within tech, law and legal technology.
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Women are under-represented in high-tech, in law, and especially in LegalTech. But here at LawGeex, things are different.
Women in Tech
In 2014, Google, which has about 62,000 employees, became one of the first tech companies to release stats on the race and gender of its workers. As of 2018, women make up about 31% of the company’s workforce. The share of women in technical roles at Google is only 21.4%.
Google is actually ahead of the curve when it comes to hiring women. Across the US, women fill only about 20% of tech jobs, even though they make up more than half the overall workforce.
In Israel, where LawGeex is based, the involvement of women in the tech sector is higher than in the US. About 35% of the Israeli high-tech workforce is female.
According to a study by Israel’s National Economic Council, the main obstacles to even higher employment rates for women in high tech include gender stereotyping, a lack of role models, and the need to balance work and private life.
Getting more women into high tech is a national priority, as Israel’s tech sector is facing a shortage of skilled workers.
Women in Law
Today, women and men attend law school in roughly equal numbers. But that hasn’t always been the case, and the disparity is reflected in employment figures.
According to the American Bar Association, in 2017 about 36% of lawyers were women. About 22% of law firm partners were women.
According to Bloomberg Law, only 25% of Fortune 500 general counsel were women in 2017. The numbers are slowly trending up because in 2017 38% of new Fortune 500 GC job openings were filled by women.
Women in LegalTech
It’s perhaps not surprising that the legalTech field — at the intersection of the male-dominated fields of law and high-tech — is even more dominated by men.
A study found that only about 13.6% of legalTech company founders were women.
Women at LawGeex
Thirty-six percent of LawGeex employees are women, which is about average for an Israeli tech company.
Strikingly, however, the majority (53%) of the company’s management-level employees are women.
This is much higher than is typical for Israeli high-tech companies, where only 15% of managers are women.
Strength in Diversity
For LawGeex CEO and co-founder Noory Bechor being diverse is a company value that makes the company stronger. He says: “Having women in every department and in management gives us a different way of looking at things. To make the best decisions, you need as many perspectives as possible. Working with women also makes the atmosphere and discussions calmer, more open, and less competitive.”
He feels that women can be less cynical than men and that they have a rounder, 360-degree view, whereas men can be more narrowly focused. He recognizes that not all companies value the unique contributions of women. He says: “It’s harder for women to get management roles in other companies. Or women managers may be expected to act like male managers. We want people to contribute their uniqueness.”
In Israel, unlike in the US, the government provides for 15 weeks of paid maternity leave and preschool is free starting from age three. The costs of prenatal care and childbirth are covered by national health insurance. Parents even get a payment to cover a newborn’s expenses — rather than a bill — soon after they leave the hospital.
LawGeex accommodates the special needs of parents. It’s common for parents to bring kids to the office during school holidays. (The rooftop ping-pong table is a major attraction).
Leah Rosenbaum Mali, a lawyer and a member of the data team (as well as a new mother), appreciates that LawGeex is flexible about work hours and options for part-time work and working at home so that parents can see their kids for more than just the hour before bedtime.
Onboarding director Nicole Arbiv also values the family-friendly environment at LawGeex. “As a mother, I have been given flexibility and consideration and that to me is priceless.”