At Drinker Biddle we don't select leaders who "fit the profile.” We select and cultivate accomplished lawyers who can shape our future and ensure that those within our leadership ranks—and throughout the broader firm—reflect the diversity of our clients and our communities.
Over the past few years we have made significant strides in this important regard and achieved several notable milestones. We have been particularly successful in attracting, retaining and promoting outstanding women attorneys.
This is not by chance. The cadre of women leaders at Drinker Biddle and the “pipeline” of those being readied for leadership are the result of an enlightened philosophy that starts at the very top of the organization and infuses and informs all of our key initiatives.
Women hold positions at the highest reaches of the firm. Benchmarked data from Yale University and McKinsey & Co., among others, shows that Drinker Biddle outperforms the legal industry at large in several related categories. The statistics are compelling. From a pool of more than 200 women attorneys, many have assumed significant leadership responsibilities. Many more are poised to follow.
Today, women represent:
With respect to key statistics calculated and reported by the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), Drinker Biddle consistently outpaces the industry. For instance, the percentage of women currently sitting on the firm’s most senior committee far exceeds the industry average of 25 percent.
Moreover, Drinker Biddle is recognized by reputable outside entities for its women-oriented and family-friendly practices. We are consistently included on the list of the “60 Best Law Firms for Women” by Working Mother magazine, most recently in 2018.
The rise of women through the ranks at Drinker Biddle is a function of their talents and tenacity combined with an environment that encourages their growth as lawyers and leaders.
- Managing Partners. Elected by the full partnership, managing partners sit on the firm’s Board of Directors. Fully half of them are women.
- Management Commitment. Our four-member Executive Management Team—two of whom are women—“walk the talk” with respect to implementing initiatives that attract women to the firm and facilitate their rise to leadership roles. Management has generously given its time and talents to support diversity initiatives, marshal the involvement of appropriate others and ensure the availability of sufficient resources to allow Drinker Biddle women to thrive.
Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC). Comprising Drinker Biddle’s chairman, chief operating officer, a representation of current and former managing partners and current partners and associates, the WLC is charged with “attracting, retaining and advancing” women in the firm and spearheading the development and implementation of all related programs.
The WLC enjoys leadership’s commitment, a robust budget and access to resources throughout the firm. It facilitates business development and marketing opportunities for women and provides a culture and workplace environment hospitable toward all employees. Under its auspices, women attorneys throughout the firm convene for professional development and networking opportunities that have included a two-day firmwide retreat and more-frequent gatherings at our various offices. The WLC has worked closely with the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee on many initiatives, most recently the firm’s launch of a Pilot Sponsorship Program led by the D&I Committee to pair diverse lawyers with influential partners as sponsors to engage in meaningful work and networking opportunities, thus helping them further hone the skill sets they’ll need for successful legal careers.
- Work/Life Balance. Drinker Biddle is committed to supporting all types of families and lifestyles. Our lawyers are able to build significant practices, meaningfully participate in firm leadership and play important roles in their communities, all while starting and supporting families. Our policies support alternative work arrangements—including reduced-hour schedules and remote working accommodations—competency-based promotions and a generous gender-neutral paid parental leave policy.
- Mentorship & Sponsorship. Drinker Biddle partners create opportunities for women attorneys through lead roles in deals and cases, introductions to key clients and inclusion in various business development events with prospective clients. Women attorneys also are encouraged to take advantage of business development coaching programs and “rainmaker” forums.
- Diversity & Inclusion. Drinker Biddle places the highest premium on fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. It starts at the top. Our leadership is actively involved in identifying and, in several instances, initiating best practices to be applied both firm and industry-wide. Chairman Andy Kassner has participated in the Diversity Lab Hackathon, an idea incubator comprising lawyers and law students, with strong support from the Women’s Leadership Committee. Andy’s Hackathon team helped give rise to the “Sponsorship Key” program designed to more effectively match sponsors and protégés in law firms and strengthen their collaborations.
- Mansfield Certification and Commitment. Another initiative stemming from Drinker Biddle’s involvement in the Diversity Lab is the firm’s status as a Mansfield Certified Plus firm. Named for Arabella Mansfield, the first licensed woman lawyer in the United States, the program is designed to boost the representation of women, LGBTQ+ and lawyers from diverse backgrounds in law firms. Notably, Drinker Biddle has long adhered to most if not all Mansfield criteria and proudly championed a variation of this worthy program. In 2019, Drinker Biddle was one of only 50 law firms nationwide to receive the “Mansfield Certified Plus” designation, not only for meeting the pipeline requirements but also for successfully reaching at least 30 percent representation in a notable number of current leadership roles. The firm is pleased to be participating in 2020’s Mansfield 3.0, which adds lawyers with disabilities to diverse candidate pool targets.
- Influence in the Broader Legal Community. Several of our women partners chair or otherwise lead legal organizations; all are members of one or more. Thought leaders in their respective practice areas, these attorneys are much in demand as speakers in prestigious forums and contribute to important publications. Drinker Biddle also supports organizations and events that promote the advancement of women lawyers and that honor all those who exemplify enlightened leadership.
Accomplished attorneys, WLC members are also proven leaders—within the firm and throughout the broader legal, business and governmental communities. Drinker Biddle is proud to claim so many who have succeeded in these important endeavors, especially considering their dedication to extensive personal responsibilities. We’re equally proud of those coming up right behind them, ascending the ranks, making meaningful contributions and destined to appear in their distinguished company in due course.
Featured Insights & News
News | October 9, 2019
Corporate Counsel Features Mercedes Meyer’s Work on the IPO’s Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit
The publication spoke with Meyer about her efforts to help close the patent gender gap through the development and launch of the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s “Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit.”
News | September 3, 2019
Drinker Biddle Achieves Mansfield Certification Plus for its Commitment to Diversity in Leadership
Drinker Biddle recognized by Diversity Lab as a Mansfield Certified Plus firm.
News | July 31, 2019
Helen Tuttle Most Influential Women
The annual list recognizes African American women who have made a significant impact in corporate America.
News | July 26, 2019
Yodi Hailemariam Named a Rising Star by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association
Hailemariam was one of only 13 attorneys from across the country chosen by the MCCA "who are leading the charge for change in their communities and the legal profession."
News | July 19, 2019
Drinker Biddle Named a Top Firm for Women for Seventh Year
Working Mother magazine has once again named Drinker Biddle one of the top law firms for women in the country.
News | July 10, 2019
Cheryl Orr Named in Daily Journal's Top Labor & Employment Lawyers 2019
The annual list recognizes California's top attorneys who have made significant contributions in labor and employment law.
News | July 9, 2019
Drinker Biddle Life Sciences IP Partner Mercedes Meyer Elected to Board of Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation
Patent partner Mercedes K. Meyer has been elected to the board of directors of the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation (IPOEF).
News | June 18, 2019
Maria Lewis Featured in The Legal Intelligencer as a Best Mentor
Maria featured in a Q&A article with her thoughts on mentorship.
Event | May 9, 2019
Jessica Abrahams, Cheryl Orr and Courtney Wylie to Attend Daily Journal’s Women Leadership in Law Forum
We’re proud to be a platinum sponsor for the Daily Journal's third annual Women Leadership in Law event.
News | May 8, 2019
Cheryl Orr Named One of California’s Top Women Lawyers
The annual list recognizes women lawyers who demonstrate excellent lawyering and leadership skills in the state.
News | April 10, 2019
Josephine Cicchetti Named a Top Author on Insurance, Cybersecurity in Readers Choice Awards | JD Supra
From a group of more than 50,000 contributors to the platform, Cicchetti was the third most read author on Insurance topics, and the ninth most read on Cybersecurity issues in 2018.
News | March 8, 2019
Jill Bronson and Judy Reich Recognized for "Women in Commercial Finance 2019" by The Secured Lender
Jill and Judy have been recognized by the Commercial Finance Association and interviewed by The Secured Lender for its 2019 Women in Commercial Finance issue as women who have distinguished themselves within the commercial finance industry.
News | February 15, 2019
Jennifer Criss Named Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
American Bar Foundation Fellows are recommended by their peers and elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation.
News | February 14, 2019
Andy Kassner and Lynne Anderson Discuss Career Advancement for Women in a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Article
Andy and Lynne discussed what it takes to effectuate change and advance more women into leadership roles in law firms.
News | January 28, 2019
Maria Lewis Recognized for Advancement and Equality in the Legal Profession
Maria recently received two prestigious awards: the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Woman of Distinction Award from The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Champions of Social Justice and Equality Award from the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) of Rutgers Law School-Camden.
News | January 23, 2019
Drinker Biddle's Executive Women's Forum Hosts Jean Case for Discussion on Being Fearless
Jean discussed how everyone can find that inner spark to create change in the world.
News | January 16, 2019
Sandy Grannum Noted Among The Network Journal's Annual 25 Influential Black Women
The award recognizes professional women for their distinguished careers and dedication to serving their communities.
News | January 1, 2019
New York Partners Named to Crain's 2019 Notable Women in Law
Bonnie Barsamian, Kristin Going and Stacy Louizos were recognized by Crain’s New York Business as 2019 Notable Women in Law. The annual list recognizes the top New York City lawyers for both their outstanding legal achievements and their civic and philanthropic engagement.
News | December 21, 2018
Drinker Biddle Recognized For Innovation in Fall Diversity in Law Hackathon
Andy Kassner participated in the national event.
News | November 29, 2018
Partner Sandy Grannum to be Honored with New York State Bar Association Award
Sandy will be recognized for her dedication to mentoring other female lawyers and her efforts in ensuring a more diverse legal community.
News | November 5, 2018
Susan Sharko Named Among 2018 Top Women in the Law by New Jersey Law Journal
The New Jersey Law Journal honored Susan Sharko in its November 5 Special Supplement Issue.