Criminal defence lawyers face unique challenges, including the difficulties of sustaining viable
practices along with the nature of the work and stereo-typical assumptions about gender and sexuality.
Sixty-one percent of women working in criminal law reported to have considered leaving the
practice due to these issues. They cite lack of support, low pay and long, unpredictable hours
as the main frustrations fuelling such considerations.
Women say they need more support and have a desire for greater mentorship and connection
with more women in criminal law, including senior counsel. They also voice a need for
improved financial support with respect to maternity leave and child-care issues as well as a
need for greater education in order to end gender-based differences in the courtroom once and
For more information about the hurdles that women face in criminal law, and how they can be best addressed,
see The Criminal Lawyer’s Association Research Report