LAHORE - Out of around 1,500 total female lawyers in the City, only four to five hundred are actually practicing in various courts due to a number of problems faced by them, the most important being the discouraging attitude of their male colleagues at the very start of their profession. A survey conducted by The Nation revealed that female lawyers were finding it hard to continue in their profession due to numerous problems including transportation, odd working hours, lack of family support, discouraging attitude of male colleagues and harassment from rival clients, mostly in criminal cases. "In corporate and banking sectors, males encourage their female colleagues, but unfortunately, this is not the case in our profession", said Advocate Bushra Anwar while complaining about the discouraging attitude of male lawyers. "You are misfit in a profession, where you just go and do something else, as it's not the game for you to find the ground for it..... "ye machhli mandi hai....kurye taiynu ki pata qanoon da,  toon kis tarah lar sakani ae, toon kis tarah court dy wichh bolain gi",...such remarks are from passed by male colleagues, said Mariyum Ishaq, a young female Advocate in LHC. "When I joined the profession I really got disappointed by the attitude of male lawyers", said Maryam, who deals in criminal cases.   Talking about the attitude of male colleagues, Advocate Bushra Anwar, who is practising in Lahore High Court (LHC) for seven years said, male lawyers usually have negative opinion about female lawyers, as they highly doubt their professional competence and the required courage to deal with difficult criminal cases. "Our male colleagues are of the view that lady lawyers know nothing about intricacies of law and lack confidence", said Bushra who deals with criminal cases but infrequently appears in court. She told that females mostly go for family cases rather than criminal ones. She said criminal cases entail, bail, murder trials, murder references including appeals against death sentences and life imprisonment, which is quite a tough job for a female lawyer. But in family cases, one has to deal only with divorce and custody matters, whose handling is comparatively easy by the women lawyers.   Mian Muhammad Aslam, Vice President of LHCBA, said that lady lawyers mostly avoid taking criminal cases because of the harassment from the rival party and inappropriate questions put to them by the opponent lawyers during the trial.    "Three hundred and fifty female lawyers are enrolled with the LHCBA and around one hundred are practicing. Clients mostly approach male lawyers. There are a few established chambers of females as compared to male lawyers", he told this scribe. "We encourage females, but they should avoid criminal cases because it involves a lot of time making it extremely difficult for a female lawyer to maintain his family. By and large the legal profession is not suitable for females for varied reasons", said Shiekh Muhammad Naseem, senior Advocate Supreme Court having 50-year experience in the profession. "I think females are still in a grooming stage. It's fine if they go for family cases only to save time for their families, who may suffer as criminal cases consume a lot of time", he further observed.   Advocate Firdous Imtiaz, former Finance secretary, LHCBA said, out of some 1500 female lawyers, only four to five hundred were actually engaged in the profession mainly because of lack of family support.    Female lawyers usually leave the profession when they get married, as they are hardly encouraged by their spouse to carry on the profession. She said family environment aught to be conducive for this profession.                                "As far as I am concerned atmosphere was good when I entered the profession," she added. As there are a few female lawyers in the profession, many women have to face a lot of trouble as male lawyers despite charging high fees don't pursue their cases honestly, which remain unsettled for years.   Mehreen, 70, is fighting a case for her defence property since 1984, and during the period, she approached three male lawyers but the case is still pending. She is of the view that they swindled her by charging high fee keeping the case in limbo. "Now I have approached a female lawyer, who is cooperative and I am quite hopeful she would take the case to its right conclusion", she maintained.   Sumera, another victim of male lawyers' apathy, was twenty-five years of age when she approached the court for divorce and hired a male lawyer. Now she has turned thirty-seven, but her case is still pending with no hope of any break through in the near future.