Student Surveys Views of Women In Law Practice

A female Harvard Law student is polling women graduates of the Law School concerning alleged sex discrimination in the highly competitive and male-dominated legal profession.

Dorothy Glancy, a third-year law student, is sending the questionnaire to the 235 women who have graduated from Harvard Law School since the institution first admitted women as degree candidates in 1953. In the survey, she is seeking to determine the attitudes of female attorneys towards their success in the legal profession.

Miss Glancy said that the idea for the study originated among members of the Women's Law Group who were dissatisfied with alleged sex discrimination in law firms and in the Law School.

Hostile Environment

"Many of the women law students feel that the environment is hostile to them. They also discover that no one really believes that discrimination exists in the legal fields," she said.

Miss Glancy decided to prepare the survey to determine if, in fact, women are doing nothing with their legal careers.

"Many people say that after they leave law school, women get married and soon drop their practice. Personally, I don't believe this." she said.

Derek C. Bok, dean of the Law School, became interested in the project and has agreed to finance it with Harvard funds. "This is a preconception that may be fallacious. The career patterns of women in the legal profession is a question that is important to our students and to a lot of women contemplating a legal career," Bok said.

Assisting Miss Glancy in the survey's preparation is Matina Horner, lecturer onSocial Relations. Other studies completed by Mrs. Horner show that when women are in a competitive situation with men, they lose their motivation for success, performing more poorly than their male counterparts. This loss of achievement motivation is especially true in a field marked by aggressiveness.

In her survey, Miss Glancy also seeks to determine the extent of the psychological conflict toward competition that she says characterizes woman by asking the female attorneys the difference between women's aspirations and their achievement in a field largely dominated by men.

Miss Glancy hopes to finish and mail the questionnaire within several weeks and is now improving the wording of the wording of the survey. "We have had a lot of trouble wording this because it is going to lawyers," she said.