June 04, 2013 Articles

Getting Credit Where Credit Is Due

By Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., PCC, CMC

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.James B. Conant

Karen* had been working for two years to develop a relationship with the general counsel of a private equity group. A non-equity partner in the Washington, D.C. office and a member of her firm’s investment management group, she needed the support of a male partner in the firm’s New York office due to his expertise in a small aspect of a much larger matter she hoped to bring in to the firm. Her colleague in New York agreed to participate in a conference call. When the general counsel called to tell her he wanted her to move forward with the work and to have her manage the relationship, Karen went to open the matter. To her surprise, the partner in New York had already opened it himself and had taken 100 percent of the origination credit.

The issue of the distribution of origination credit is a hot topic this year, particularly in light of the ABA’s Presidential Task Force on Gender Equity. The gender disparity in compensation has been well established, as has the difficulty women attorneys face in receiving credit for their client––and matter––origination efforts. A survey of 700 women attorneys indicated that most had not received credit for their contributions to client development, and one third had been bullied and intimidated out of their claims to such credit.

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