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We're Not on the Same Page

Vivia Chen

October 18, 2010

Fotolia_26160930_XS Men vs. Women on Corporate Boards

Is it time to dust off Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus?

Certainly for the men and women on corporate boards. Apparently they see the world through different-colored lenses, according to a newly released survey of board members conducted by Heidrick & Struggles, Women Corporate Directors, and Boris Groysberg of Harvard Business School. Reports Crain's New York Business.com:

By a margin of more than 20 points, more women than men believed that increased diversity (65 percent to 35 percent); new compensation regulations (45 percent to 22 percent) and new proxy access regulations (38 percent to 17 percent) would be required to rebuild the public's trust in corporate governance.

But the biggest gap between the sexes was on the issue of enhanced risk management systems: "While 40 percent of the women directors favored their adoption, only 1 percent of the men surveyed believed that such [measures] would effectively rebuild trust."

The poll results show that "women do bring different perspectives to the board," says Simpson Thacher partner Marissa Wesely, who's also a director of Direct Women, an organization that aims to increase the number of women lawyers on corporate boards. But getting women--especially women lawyers--on boards "seems the hardest," even harder than making partner at law firms, says Wesely: "People don't seem to want to move beyond their comfort zones."

For now, it seems that men are pretty comfortable with the system, while women are clearly ready to roll up their sleeves to do some heavy cleaning.

More Women Want Prenups

Maybe it's a sign of women's stronger economic power, or maybe it's the whole cougar phenomenon (older women who date younger men)--for whatever reason, women are increasingly asking for prenuptial agreements. Reports The National Law Journal:

Prenuptial agreements are on the rise, according to a poll by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Of the divorce lawyers polled, 73 percent reported an increased number of prenuptial agreements during the past five years. Significantly, 52 percent reported an increase in the number of women initiating such agreements.

All this could also be a sign that lovebirds are more cautious these days. Or that there's just more mistrust: "Prenuptial agreements aren't the only things changing on the marriage legal landscape. An earlier academy poll of divorce attorneys found that 80 percent had seen an increase in the amount of evidence collected from social networking sites."

And you lawyers out there--are you doing prenups for yourself?

Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.

Photo: Fotolia


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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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