March 10, 2011 Articles

Creating a Women's Initiative at Your Firm

A woman-focused mentoring program provides a platform for women attorneys to advance their professional development needs.

By Kathleen A. Flynn

According to the latest research, the number of women in corporate leadership positions is on the rise. More than 50 percent of all U.S. managerial and professional positions are held by women (Catalyst) and almost 100 of the Fortune 500's legal departments are run by women (MCCA). With that said, the number of women partners in law firms is still remarkably low—19 percent—when compared with the number of women law student graduates-47 percent (National Association of Law Placement).

The lack of women in leadership positions throughout the legal industry is due in some part to the work structure at many law firms. Women lawyers often face unique obstacles that involve balancing work and life issues—career versus family. While many women are achieving success, many others leave their practices, choosing to delay, or sometimes sacrifice, career advancement. Firms that support women attorneys in building their careers and at the same time balancing their personal lives will reap the benefits of retaining these talented and valuable resources and will provide them a platform to grow personally while helping the firm to prosper. A woman-focused mentoring and business development program provides a platform for women attorneys to advance their professional development needs. This type of program also fosters professional growth, networking, and business development opportunities.

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