We believe we cannot be a leading global business law firm without also being a global leader in the advancement of women lawyers. Throughout our regions, we aggressively pursue strategies to retain, promote and develop our women lawyers. And, to address many of the underlying causes for gender disparities in the legal profession, we promote initiatives to address unconscious biases and gender stereotypes, promote informal networks of support and development, and find ways to help all our lawyers balance work and family responsibilities.
Building on the good work of longstanding LAW initiatives throughout the US, UK and Australia, the Global Leadership Alliance for Women (Global LAW) was launched in early 2015. Global LAW harnesses the experience of colleagues engaged in local initiatives around the firm and leverages best practices among existing local mentoring, skill development and networking programs to support the advancement of our women lawyers worldwide. Priorities for Global LAW include:
- Retention and advancement of women lawyers
- Advancement and leadership opportunities for women lawyers
- Supporting internal and external business development opportunities
Growing external networks
The Global Women’s Leadership Summit is a dynamic networking and CLE event for women general counsel and other senior women in the legal departments of various global companies focuses on the relationships between the general counsel, the board, the C-suite and other stakeholders. Most recently, this award-winning event had more than 300 women in attendance.
Champions of change
We understand the important role that male colleagues can play in the promotion and advancement of female lawyers. Many of our male lawyers act as mentors and sponsors to our rising women lawyers. Serving as champions of change at the highest levels are the firm’s Global Co-Managing Partners, Simon Levine and Jay Rains, the executive sponsors of Global LAW.
Forging global networks
Global LAW sponsored networking receptions at five global firm conferences in 2015, attended by nearly 2,500 DLA Piper lawyers – women and men – from offices around the world. While state-of-the art technology enables DLA Piper lawyers to collaborate seamlessly across jurisdictions, the opportunity to meet in person helps to solidify internal peer relationships which translate to better client service.
In the US, the Leadership Alliance for Women (LAW) was launched in 2006 as an initiative to help retain and develop women lawyers in the firm’s global environment. LAW fosters internal networking, facilitates the flow of information and empowers women lawyers by developing leadership skills and creating business development opportunities. LAW advances the firm’s global competitive edge by developing and promoting women attorneys to maximize their opportunities for business generation and leadership.
Promoting careers in law
Developed as a pilot in 2014, the Women Emerging Leaders program provides tools, visibility and support to junior female partners to help them become strong business developers and firm leaders.
Developing internal networks
Twice a month, women lawyers are invited to participate in telepresence videoconference meetings designed to expand inter-office networking opportunities. Some sessions are topic-driven, while others are more informal open forum opportunities for women to get to know their colleagues from offices throughout the US and around the globe.
LAW regularly hosts national Speaker Series videoconference presentations focused on leadership and business development. While directed at women lawyers, Speaker Series presentations are open to all DLA Piper lawyers.
We recognize that there are unique barriers that women of color face in the legal profession that contribute to their high rate of attrition in the US. Through the Women of Color Forum, we work to eliminate these barriers and strive to provide our women of color with opportunities to excel.
Celebrating women in business
Since 2010, our offices have annually hosted a number of events in support of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Celebrations throughout the month of March are designed to strengthen relationships among women lawyers, promote our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, and celebrate women in law and business.
Launched in Australia in 2014, the Leadership Alliance for Women (LAW) forms a key part of our broader commitment to diversity. Its primary purpose is to empower our female lawyers by developing leadership skills and creating business development opportunities. The program has three key components: mentoring, skills training, and networking.
Leading national role model
For two consecutive years, we have been recognized as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Holders of the citation are designated as leading practice role models and innovative thinkers on issues of workplace gender equality.
Building external networks
LAW Australia hosts regular speaker events for women in business within its local markets. Recent events include a Meet the Leaders panel discussion in Melbourne and A Seat at the (Board) Table in Perth.
Sharing lightbulb moments
We recently hosted a special screening of Lightbulb Moments – a series of short video presentations produced by the Financial Services Institute of Australia in which top Australian business leaders share their perspectives on gender diversity and the moment where they began to understand the challenges faced by women in the workforce.
Debunking old myths
In ongoing collaboration with the Financial Service Institute of Australia we hosted the launch of FINSIA’s video series, They Say… , in which women executives at different stages in their career debunk commonly held myths that continue to stymie gender diversity among Australian companies.
Tapping internal networks
A quarterly internal speaker series event, Hour of Power, features DLA Piper female leaders from other parts of the globe who share their personal career stories, views on key issues, and tips for success.
Research tells us that there are four key areas that make a difference to gender talent development, and that is where we are focusing our energies and efforts: sponsorship; work allocation; flexible or agile working; and unconscious bias awareness.
Expanding the Global LAW network
The firm's Paris office recently announced the official launch of the French chapter of the Global Leadership Alliance for Women (LAW). Women are already well represented at DLA Piper in France, accounting for 66 percent of the associates and 36 percent of the partners.
WIN - a series of events, tools and forums addressing the technical, commercial and personal aspects of working in-house. Women's WIN is a new addition to the overall WIN program, which offers a range of knowledge, support and networking opportunities for women in-house lawyers.
Our mentoring program at DLA Piper is designed to support personal career development. For example, it can assist mentees with career guidance, professional skills development, business development and promotion preparation, and provide a source of guidance on how to deal with professional work issues such as work-life balance issues. Because any information shared within the mentoring program is confidential, the relationship between mentor and mentee is a safe and secure environment to discuss and address any career challenges. In 2014, our mentoring program won "best mentoring programme by an international law firm" at the Euromoney awards.
We are one of only a few international law firms with a license to hire women in Saudi Arabia. Our women lawyers regularly present at women's universities to inspire women into a professional career in law. We also provide internships to women law students from the Prince Sultan University in Saudi Arabia.