, Hong Kong
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Why women are leaving the legal profession 

About four in 10 lawyers have felt left out of career-building opportunities.

The “boys’ club” culture in Hong Kong’s legal sector has forced many women to leave the law profession, Mayer Brown has found.

In its survey, the law firm said female lawyers still face gender bias, with half saying that they have been treated differently to their disadvantage for being a woman.

About four in 10 (38.2%) female lawyers have also felt left out of career-building opportunities because of their gender or care responsibilities. 

In several cases, their commitment or competence was questioned because of being a caregiver. 

Women also receive unsolicited comments about their appearance or behaviour (26.1%) and patronising remarks about how they should behave.

“Alarmingly, women who do advance up the career path have found they are subject to more, rather than fewer, incidents of micro-aggressive behaviour, with 23.0% of female respondents in senior roles experiencing clients directing questions or queries to a more junior male colleague instead of them,” Mayer Brown reported.

The law firm also found that some women (23.7%) have been told to change their speciality in law or career path.

These are a few reasons why women choose to leave the legal profession, which then results in gender imbalance at senior levels of private practice and in-house teams.

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