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LACBA and WLALA Call on Law Firms to Commit to Gender Equity

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The Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles are calling on the legal industry to redouble its commitment to programs and policies that aim to retain and advance women lawyers.

The Call to Action 2021 comes out of the LACBA-WLALA Joint Task Force on the Retention and Promotion of Women Lawyers and includes measures to promote the advancement of women, institutionalize gender parity, and invest in mentorship, professional development and training.

The task force’s recommendations include:

• Adopt the Mansfield Rule which requires firms to “consider at least 30% women, LGBTQ+, and attorneys of color for all leadership and governance roles, senior lawyer hiring, and equity partner/ leader promotions.”

• Create sponsorship programs that pair senior partners with senior associates, counsel and junior partners to help them develop individualized business plans and open doors with clients.

• Ensure accountability by maintaining current and accurate data on hiring, training, opportunities, promotions, compensation, and departure by gender, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+, and disability.

• Increase the number of women equity and non-equity partners by 25% over the next five years to reflect that women now represent the majority of law school graduates.

• Offer flexible work schedules - especially during the COVID-19 pandemic

• Training for all employees to root out biases and spotlight harassment. As part of the campaign, the LACBA-WLALA Joint Task Force on the Retention and Promotion of Women Lawyers presented a panel on the impact of COVID-19 on the women workforce in May.

Entitled, “‘Shecession’: Combatting the Crisis of Women Leaving the Workforce,” the program included speakers from the University of Southern California and the University of Arkansas discussing the latest economic data and underlying causes of gender disparity caused by the global pandemic.

Launched in 2007, the Joint Task Force addresses the need to increase the number of women in partnership and leadership positions in major law firms. The Call to Action 2021 helps institutionalize many policies and structures to make that goal possible, such as parental leave policies, flexible work schedules, partnership equity and implicit bias trainings.

“We need firms to step up and take the lead in championing diversity in the field of law,” said Patricia Egan Daehnke and Roxanne M. Wilson, co-chairs of LACBA’s President’s Advisory Committee on Women in the Legal Profession.

Jessica Kronstadt, president of WLALA added, “The Call to Action 2021 contains measurable goals that will have long-lasting impacts in retainment and advancement of women lawyers at all stages of their careers. Importantly, these policies will build a foundation for tomorrow’s leaders to have the skills and support they need to succeed. We urge law firms to set an example and join us in this important work.” Several firms have already committed to the Call to

Action 2021, including:

Clark Hill PLC

Crowell & Moring LLP

Clyde & Co.

Collinson, Daehnke, Inlow & Greco

Daniels, Fine, Israel, Schonbuch & Lebovits LLP

Fedida Law Firm

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Kaplan Marino

Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP

Littler Mendelson P.C.

Major, Lindsey & Africa

O’Melveny & Myers

SeltzerFontaine

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP Steptoe & Johnson LLP

White & Case LLP

Established in 1919, WLALA’s mission is to promote the full participation of women lawyers and judges in the legal profession from diverse perspectives and racial and ethnic backgrounds, maintain the integrity of our legal system by advocating principles of fairness and equality, and improve the status of women, including their exercise of equal rights and reproductive choice. WLALA’s 1000+ members actively work toward these goals through WLALA’s committees, sections and activities.

The LACBA President’s Advisory Committee on Women in the Legal Profession dedicates its time and energy to promote the full participation of women lawyers in the legal profession, supports women in both their professional and personal growth from entry-level to partnership or general counsel, advises on issues related to the careers and advancement of women in the practice of law in Los Angeles, considers matters and engages in activities related to the overall status of women in the legal professions, monitors existing conditions and trends, conducts special programs and makes recommendations that aid in the achievement of its goals.

These goals include but are not limited to: gender pay equity and retention of women in the legal profession; coordinating efforts with the committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession, and other appropriate committees and affiliated associations; and soliciting and evaluating nominations for the Elizabeth Kenny LACBA Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

To commit to the Call to Action 2021 or for more information, visit www.wlala.org.


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