‘Unusual’ legal industry structure heightens sexual harassment risk

Grace Ormsby for Lawyers Weekly writes:

Shine Lawyers Christie Toy said the majority of sexual harassment claims involve a power imbalance, and this is prevalent within traditional law firms due to the “hierarchy of seniority – based on experience and financial involvement in the firm.”
She cited recent research from Shine Lawyers that demonstrated “almost half (49.9 per cent) of those who had been harassed had been harassed by a boss, superior or supervisor,” and while this study was not specific to law firms, Ms Toy said “this to too frequent an occurrence across the legal industry.”
The power balance creates challenges for young lawyers, she said, as well as for the firms that are dealing with sexual harassment allegations.
“This feature was quite clear in the #MeToo movement, where the majority of women coming forward had been sexually harassed by a someone who was their senior, or had the ability to make our break their career.”
“It is a significant factor in almost all the cases we see.”

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