The lack of women in power positions represents a poor return on investment for law firms, and could be costing them far more than they think in both economic and cultural terms. Quite aside from the widely accepted understanding that more diverse teams perform better, research shows that it actually costs more and takes longer to replace female partners than their male colleagues. Moreover, the scarcity of women mentors could be having a long-lasting effect on up-and-coming female associates.
The problem is far from new but law firms’ usual answers – business development training, diversity programs, investment in “women’s initiatives” – doesn’t seem to be having much of an effect, despite the collective millions firms are spending on these. The numbers of women attaining power positions in law firms have remained static for decades. By contrast, the percentage of women holding GC positions in Fortune 500 companies is growing, and women are increasingly likely to be found in in-house roles.
Packed with fascinating insight, experience, and research from a broad range of lawyers, coaches, academics, thought leaders, and consultants, Beyond Bias: Unleashing the Potential of Women in Law considers just how much firms are costing themselves by failing to promote and retain talented women, the reasons their efforts have so far seen so little return, and the practical steps they can take to start to move the needle. We’ll also consider what women can do more of to create and seize opportunities, claim credit where it’s due, and get the most out of their business development efforts, wherever they practice.
About the authors
Chapter 1: Cheaper to Keep ’er – The economic impact of losing female talent at law firms
By Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, behavioral economist and chair of Harvard Law School’s Executive Leadership Research Initiative for Women and Minority Attorneys at the Center on the Legal Profession
- The power of big data to quantify the loss
- What’s included in the cost of turnover?
- Women leaders: Expensive to replace
- The implications
Chapter 2: Fix it, not them – How to increase the number of women in positions of power
By Patricia K. Gillette, keynote speaker and former law firm partner
- The Mansfield Rule
- Enhancing opportunities for building client relationships
- Scanning performance reviews and feedback for gender inequities
- Implicit bias training
Chapter 3: Getting rid of mindless barriers to advancement
By Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., PCC, CMC, founding principal of Lawyers Life Coach
- Psychological inflexibility
- Psychological flexibility
- Acceptance and commitment training (ACT) to reduce biased responding
- Research evidence
- ACT for women lawyers
Chapter 4: Balance – A radical new “B word” for the powerful woman
By Janice P. Brown, founder and senior partner in the Brown Law Group
- What is power?
- What does a powerful woman look like?
- What is true power?
- When do you become “powerful beyond measure?”
Chapter 5: Reclaiming the next generation – Understanding and leveraging millennials in your workplace
By Katherine M. Larkin-Wong, associate at Latham & Watkins LLP
- What defines “millennial”?
- Are millennial lawyers the same and what can law firms do to keep them?
- Millennials are here to stay – How will you engage them?
Chapter 6: Getting down to business development – What works for women?
By Carol Frohlinger, founder of Negotiating Women Inc.
- What should women keep doing?
- What should women do more of?
- What should women do less of?
- Appendix A: Summary of “Business Development in the
- ‘New Normal’”
Chapter 7: Striking the self-promotion balance
By Debbie Epstein Henry, founder and president of Flex-Time Lawyers LLC and co-founder and managing director of Bliss Lawyers
- Be great
- Be prepared
- Observe others
- Credit others
- Benefi t others
- Get help
- Own it
- Take risk
- Make the ask
- Show initiative
- Pay attention to the details
- Understand you will mess up
- Develop a signature
Chapter 8: Does size really matter?
By Cathy Fleming, partner at Fleming.Ruvoldt PLLC
- Mistake #1: Always believing what Big Law managers tell you
- Mistake #2: Not marketing on a daily basis
- Mistake #3: Targeting the wrong clients
- Mistake #4: Not making sure you are happy
- Mistake #5: Thinking Big Law is the only source of excellent lawyers
- Mistake #6: Believing that clients will come to you just because you are a good lawyer
- Mistake #7: Not respecting adequately the referring source of business
Chapter 9: Using personal interests to help make it rain
By Audra A. Dial, managing partner, Atlanta office of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
- Social outings
- Vision boarding
- Book club
- Gift giving
- Celebrating anniversaries of success
- Monster jam
- Holiday lights at the botanical garden
- Final thoughts