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Access to power: Dethroning the Queen Bees of law firms

Patricia Gillette considers how firms can break free of the hive structure by eliminating the problem of 'Queen Bees'

29 March 2016

The Queen Bee. She is the most powerful female in the hive. And, if another Queen Bee is born, that female either leaves the hive or the Queen Bee kills her. That is how
the Queen Bee maintains control; that is how
she keeps her power. She has to act this way because the structure of the hive will not allow more than one Queen Bee.

As in the bee hive, in most law firms there
are only one or two women who have risen to positions of power, and, like Queen Bees, they think they should be the only women in the room and have pulled the ladder up behind them. While they have the power to allow other women to enter leadership positions, they choose not to do so. Instead, they sit comfortably at the table where decisions are made and do nothing to advance other women - or, even worse, they oppose or sabotage efforts to change policies that might increase the power
of women coming up through the ranks.

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