We are deeply committed to attracting, retaining and advancing women in the firm. As part of our efforts to achieve this goal, we have a vibrant Women’s Leadership Committee that has the full support of the firm and senior leadership to spearhead sustained and ongoing programs to foster the development of great women lawyers.
Women’s Leadership Committee
Our Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC) helps ensure that the firm attracts, retains and develops great women lawyers and leaders. The WLC is diversely composed and includes Drinker Biddle’s chair, executive partners and current and former managing partners. The committee recognizes and supports women lawyers’ practice-building contributions, meaningful participation in firm leadership and influence in our communities.
The WLC’s mission is threefold:
- To hire, keep and promote excellent women lawyers
- To facilitate business development and marketing opportunities for women
- To advise and collaborate on issues and policies of concern to women attorneys at Drinker Biddle
The WLC helps us build a culture and workplace environment that are hospitable to career and home-life balance for both women and men. Our efforts have attracted notice: the firm is regularly named to the prestigious 50 Best Law Firms for Women by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers. This ranking recognizes our firm for its exceptional family friendly policies and career and business development initiatives that allow not only for the retention of women in law, but also for the opportunities for women attorneys to advance in leadership positions.
Progress and Commitment
In 2015, 66 percent of Drinker Biddle lawyers promoted to partner were women. Our percentage of female equity partners has steadily risen over the last three years to nearly 20 percent. Women comprised 50 percent of our partner-track associates in 2015—a significant leap from five years prior, when that same statistic was just 12 percent.
One-third of our elected managing partners are women, as are 36 percent of our regional partners-in-charge (heads of office) and 40 percent of our practice group chairs and vice chairs.
To help benchmark our success, the firm is a signatory to the Chicago Bar Association’s Call to Action on Women’s Leadership in the Legal Profession and to the Statement of Goals of Philadelphia Law Firms and Legal Departments for the Retention and Promotion of Women. We are also a sponsoring member of the Chicago Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law firms.
Some of our career and business development initiatives that support women at our firm include:
- Our gender-neutral paid parental leave policy, which grants all lawyers up to 12 weeks of time with their new baby following birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The leave doesn’t have to take place immediately, which allows lawyers flexibility to stagger their leave at any time within six months after a child joins the family.
- Our business development training program for all attorneys that teaches lawyers key skills to advance in their careers. The WLC furthered this program with rainmaking forums and other initiatives that are open to all female attorneys.
- Our draft Parental Leave Mentoring Toolkit and Program, which is a one-stop guide to the firm’s parental and family leave benefits as well as best practices for client hand-off and return to work. The developing program will offer counseling and advice to attorneys at any stage of their leave, including preparation for, during and upon return from leave.
In addition to these groundbreaking initiatives, the WLC tracks the hiring, retention and advancement of all of the firms’ attorneys, including female and diverse attorneys, and routinely brings those results to the attention of firm management and partners.
The WLC also coordinates business development programs and holds informal breakfast meetings to create career development and networking opportunities.
Featured Insights & News
News | February 7, 2017
Cheryl Orr's Webinar on Paid Sick Leave Featured in Bloomberg BNA
Cheryl's webinar outlined newly enacted paid sick leave laws and best practices for ensuring compliance.
News | January 5, 2017
Parimah Hassouri Featured in Reactions Among Women Leaders in Insurance
Parimah discussed practicing insurance law at a big firm and how to empower women in the legal industry.
News | March 7, 2017
Maureen Donahue Hardwick featured in Washington Lawyer
Maureen discussed the firm’s family friendly leave policies.
Event | January 12, 2017
Mediation Advice from 100 Years of Judicial Experience
Lynne Anderson spoke at a NJICLE mediation seminar, with a focus on employment cases.
News | December 13, 2016
Lynne Anderson Featured in NJBIZ Regarding BioNJ’s Inspiring Women in STEM Conference
Lynne Anderson was featured in an article highlighting BioNJ's Inspiring Women in STEM Conference.
Event | December 2, 2016
Building a Culture of Empowerment in a Multigenerational Workplace
Lynne Anderson moderated a panel at the BioNJ conference discussing strategies for developing a culture of empowerment for women in STEM.
News | November 1, 2016
Drinker Biddle Adds Tracy Gregar Ferak as Products Liability Partner in Chicago
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP has strengthened its products liability and mass tort litigation capabilities with the addition of partner Tracy Gregar Ferak in Chicago. Ms. Ferak is a trial lawyer who focuses her practice on complex products liability litigation and commercial disputes.
News | October 26, 2016
District Policy Group President Ilisa Halpern Paul Named One of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists of 2016
Ilisa Halpern Paul, president of the District Policy Group at Drinker Biddle, was recently named one of the top federal lobbyists by The Hill. The 2016 list highlights the lobbyists who have shown the ability to get things done and have stood out as “movers and shakers” in the industry. Ilisa was also named to The Hill’s top lobbyists list in 2015.
News | September 19, 2016
Mercedes Meyer and the IPO Women in IP Committee Recognized with Several Honors at IPO Annual Meeting
Washington, D.C., partner Mercedes Meyer and other members of the Women in IP Committee were presented the 2016 Outstanding Committee of the Year Award by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) during the keynote session at the organization’s annual meeting on September 13.
News | September 16, 2016
Partners Meredith Slawe and Elizabeth Diffley Named 2016 “Top Women in Law” by The Legal Intelligencer | The Legal Intelligencer
Meredith and Beth were recognized as outstanding leaders in the legal industry and advocates for the advancement of women in the profession.