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ABA Grit Project: Expanding the horizons for women in law

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The Grit Project

According to an annual study performed by the National Association of Women Lawyers, in the past 10 years the percentage of women equity partners in law firms has risen from 15 percent in 2007 to 19 percent in 2017. Although this increase shows slow but steady improvements, it is especially disheartening since for the past decade “approximately 50% of law students nationwide have been women.”

In an effort to help women in law climb to the top, the American Bar Association strongly promotes the empowerment of women through its Grit Project. The Grit Project is an initiative that teaches women about the power of having grit in the workplace and of having a growth mindset. The project stems from the philosophy that one’s grit and growth mindset are not static but instead can be developed.

The Grit Project’s Toolkit provides discussion scenarios and other materials that focus on barriers that women may face in their studies and careers such as how to speak up in class, how to react when losing a pitch, or how to respond when passed over for an important assignment. These situations can often be overwhelming and discouraging. However, talking about these issues encourages women to empower each other to confront everyday obstacles without hesitation when they happen.

Since its start, the project has been presented and taught all over North America at universities, state bar associations, law firms and women’s leadership organizations. Whether with an organization or individually, participate in the Grit Project and use its resources to your advantage. If you are part of an organization that would like to use the project Toolkit, the ABA staff can help you organize your presentation.

Contact Cecilia Boyd at 312-988-5679 or cecilia.boyd@americanbar… or visit the website to review the information. Let’s get grittier and help more women to the top!

By Dominica Dul, GPSLD Intern, Spring 2018

Grit Project resources

The Grit Project educates women lawyers about the science behind grit and growth mindset—two important traits that many successful women lawyers have in common. By providing the tools to assess and learn these traits the Grit Project enhances the effectiveness as well as the retention and promotion of women lawyers.

Grit Project Toolkit
One of the Commission’s signature projects, initially developed in 2014, is the Grit Project. Discover why this toolkit was developed and how to use it.

Program Planning
Sample conference agendas for a 1-, 1 1/2-, or 2-hour program. Includes format, sequence of presentations, and segment options. Also customizable slides with talking points to use for programming and discussion.

Growth Mindset Quiz
The grit and mindset tests for program participants.

Discussion Resources
Program participants can read and discuss these scenarios that regularly come up for women lawyers.

Grit Project Speakers Bureau
Not sure whom to have speak or what materials to hand out? We have resources to help.

Video Scenario Library
You may want to present the scenarios in this toolkit in video form rather than as written discussion questions.

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ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division (GPLSD) provides publications, programming, and online resources of specific interest to public lawyers; voice their concerns and interests in policy deliberations throughout the American Bar Association; promote professionalism and recognize excellence within the public sector. We strive to share key information, discuss contemporary topics, and tackle tough issues to help public sector lawyers sharpen and expand their expertise.