From Law.com comes an article about a law firm trying to "include" women attorneys: Mayer Brown Associates Take a Grassroots Approach to Networking.
Will it work? Only time will tell.
From the article:
When the firm's New York office formed its Women's Forum, the group found an almost universal desire for access to the keys to success that often are not equally shared with women attorneys in major law firms: opportunities for networking, strong relationships with mentors, opportunities for business development and consideration when leadership roles are delegated. Thus, the mission of the Women's Forum -- composed of women associates, counsel and partners -- emerged: Promote the success of our women lawyers by creating networking and marketing opportunities both internally and externally...
The lessons learned here are important for developing successful women attorneys:
- Women need to ask for such opportunities. If we don't, you can be sure that nothing will happen.
- Women should ignore the myth that networking is an innate talent or requires pre-existing connections.
- The key to successful networking is careful planning and strategic thinking.
- Rainmakers and networking coaches alike emphasize the need to follow up.
- Providing early networking and client development training to women associates will give them the tools they need to take advantage of every opportunity.
Mayer Brown believes that in order to begin to change the cultural fabric of a law firm world in which there are inherent obstacles in the path of female attorneys, law firms must be willing to empower their women associates and counsel and to view those efforts as a benefit to the firm -- not simply a favor to women lawyers. Events like this one have the potential to hasten the slow process of changing those cultural obstacles. At Mayer Brown, that process is well under way.