We’re Outta Here:
Why Women Are Leaving Big Firms

Malaika Costello-Dougherty
February 2007

Genevieve S. Orta is the type of young attorney firms want to hire and keep: sharp, wellspoken, charming, self-assured-and looking the part of the capable attorney, in her crisp, tailored clothes. But like many other young female associates, Orta, 38, recently left a large law firm and is now self-employed. At the Conference on Work/Life Balance and Answers held last year in San Francisco, Orta spoke on a panel of Gen X attorneys about her decision to flee her firm. She said she felt the firm was asking her to neglect her family, and that no amount of money was worth that.

Think Smarter. Lead Better.

  • Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.

    Isaac Asimov
  • Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

    Walter Lippmann
  • I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.

    Woodrow Wilson
  • America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.

    Louis D. Brandeis
  • There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.

    Michel de Montaigne
  • Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.

    Mikhail Gorbachev
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.

    James Surowiecki
  • Controversial' as we all know, is often a euphemism for 'interesting and intelligent.

    Kevin Smith
  • One must even beware of too much certainty that the answer to life's problems can only be found in one way and that all must agree to search for light in the same way and cannot find it in any other way.

    Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.

    Malcolm Forbes
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity.They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.

    Audre Lorde
  • Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.

    Theodore Roosevelt
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • Diversity creates dimension in the world.

    Elizabeth Ann Lawless
  • It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

    Albert Einstein
  • Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.

    Thomas Jefferson
  • The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship.

    Deborah Tannen
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

    Albert Einstein
  • Differences challenge assumptions.

    Anne Wilson Schaef
  • Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.

    Leo Tolstoy
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.

    Charles Evan Hughes
  • To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

    Tony Robbins
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.

    Madame De Stael