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This corporate law firm’s 1956 guide to recruiting ‘lady lawyers’ is slightly terrifying

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“If the paper records are the same, the man is given preference, barring some personality defect”

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A document (reproduced in full below) has appeared on the internet purportedly produced by a corporate law firm in 1956 as a guide to hiring women lawyers — and it’s very, very sexist.

It begins rather ominously:

The firm desires to be candid about its preference for male applicants…

Admitting that it is “true that the firm does not rate a girl applicant on equal terms with the men applicants”, the document — unearthed by US legal blog ATL Redline, which did not name the firm behind it — goes on:

If the paper records are the same, the man is given preference, barring some personality defect, on the grounds that being a man, he has probably had extra-curricular experience in the business world which will be of greater use to the firm than the experience open to most girls.

For the avoidance of any doubt that the firm much prefers men, it adds:

Where grades disqualify a lady applicant it is preferable and quickest to terminate the interview on this ground. If, however, except for her sex the applicant deserves an ‘8’ or better, the firm’s preference for man should be candidly faced.

These days, approaching 60% of trainees at the top corporate law firms are female, but men continue to dominate the partner ranks at a ratio of about 80:20.

Read the 1956 ‘Lady Lawyers’ recruitment guide below

Lady Lawyers, Memo Excerpt, 1956