Strategic Actions to Elevate Gender Equity

Seek out mentor relationships based on personality fit and relevant experience, even if identifying them means stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.

Have multiple mentors, particularly outside of your practice area. The idea is that the person who advises you on client matters might differ from the person who educates you on the firm’s political landscape, or even the one who counsels on balancing work with motherhood, etc.

Do not shy away from being “cold-blooded” when it comes to pursuing the right people to have conversations with about career goals and how to attain them.

“Advocate stylistically:” Always use “I” when referring to wins – it doesn’t make you any less of a team player, tout your extra-curricular as having been conducted in the interest of “practice development,” “have a script” and “don’t hold back.” Women fear the label “pushy” at their detriment. You need not check all the boxes to put your name in the ring for that better job or promotion.

Develop a healthy sense of the differences between substantive legal work and corporate housekeeping. The latter of which could come at the expense of being successful at your day job. There is a fine line between being a collaborator who volunteers and overextending yourself with work that could impede your ability to succeed in your role. Women already in positions of power can help their fellow female attorneys, by running interference when they see the same women repeatedly getting tasked with busy work.

Go after the meaty assignments where success could pave the way to advancement.

Utilize your womanhood to your advantage.

Take a different approach to business development than your male cohort.

Become a specialist in an area. It is often the preference of clients for the law firms they retain to be one-stop shops for different facets of the law. To that end, it is much easier to generate more business from existing clients than it is to find new revenue streams. This is why it is always beneficial to build friendships, talk up colleagues in other practice areas, or partner with other institutions because paying it forward can often become reciprocal.

Lean in and embrace the realities of juggling parenthood with a highly demanding job.

Leopard Solutions has been reporting on gender challenges  in law. Get the 2023 Challenges of Women in Law Report here.

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