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 has been named to the prestigious 50 Best Law Firms for Women by Working Mother in 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2011 and 2009. 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 2017, 57 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 22 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.

Fifty percent of our elected managing partners are women, 50 percent of our firm's appointed Executive Management Team is 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.

In addition, Chairman Andrew C. Kassner and managing partners Cheryl Orr and Judy Reich attended the American Bar Association and Harvard Law School’s National Summit on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law. The invitation-only event focused on the issues and career dynamics facing women lawyers in practice for more than 20 years and also discussed best practices to retain senior women lawyers. In the upcoming year, the firm will also attend and support the Diversity Lab Law Hackathon, a joint program of law firms and corporations involved in developing new programs on diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. 

Groundbreaking Initiatives

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.
  • Our Alternative Work Arrangement policies for non-partner lawyers and senior professionals codify the firm’s commitment to supporting lawyers who would like to utilize alternative work arrangements, while still providing opportunity for advancement.

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 | July 31, 2018
Drinker Biddle Named a Best Law Firm for Women by Working Mother 
The prestigious list recognizes law firms with exceptional family-friendly policies and career and business development initiatives for women lawyers.

News | July 18, 2018
Cheryl Orr and Kate Gold Named in Daily Journal’s Top Labor & Employment Lawyers 2018 
Cheryl and Kate have been named in the Daily Journal’s list of the Top Labor and Employment Lawyers in California.

News | July 1, 2018
Helen Tuttle Recognized in Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Black Lawyers of 2018 
The listing showcases African-American men and women who have been recognized for their legal leadership and expertise in national and global-leading corporations.

News | June 28, 2018
Mercedes Meyer Recognized in the 2018 Edition of IAM Strategy 300 
IAM Strategy 300 ranks lawyers who lead the way in strategies that maximize the value of IP portfolios.

News | June 1, 2018
Cheryl Orr Discusses Opportunities and Challenges for Practical Law with Columbia Law School Classmates 
Cheryl joined Paul Greco and Tod Eggenberger to discuss their connections and career trajectories following law school.

News | May 30, 2018
Lora A. Brzezynski Joins Drinker Biddle’s Intellectual Property Group 
Experienced trial lawyer expands the firm’s IP and trade secret litigation capabilities in the life sciences and electronic areas.

News | May 18, 2018
Judy Reich Recognized by Executive Women of New Jersey 
Award honors most accomplished and influential leaders in business, government and academia.

News | May 2, 2018
Andy Kassner, Jane Koehl and Cheryl Orr Attend Daily Journal’s Women Leadership in Law Conference 
We're proud to be a platinum sponsor for the Daily Journal's second annual Women Leadership in Law event.

News | May 2, 2018
Cheryl Orr Selected as One of Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers in California
Cheryl Orr has been honored for the third consecutive year, celebrating her successful defense of wage and hour class action cases and promotion of women leadership.

News | April 18, 2018
Kate Gold Named One of Los Angeles Business Journal’s Most Influential Women Attorneys 
Kate has been named to the list for her professional achievements, community leadership and career milestones.

News | April 16, 2018
Tracey Salmon-Smith Joins Drinker Biddle’s Litigation Group
Continues expansion of financial services capabilities in broker-dealer, FINRA areas.

News | April 11, 2018
Drinker Biddle Receives 2018 Promotion of Women in Law Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association
The award recognizes the firm for providing mentoring and other opportunities that support the advancement of women lawyers.

News | February 12, 2018
Jen Breuer Serves as Editor of AHLA Telehealth Law Handbook
Jen serves as the editor for the second edition of the AHLA Telehealth Law Handbook.

News | February 8, 2018
Cheryl Orr and James Sawyer Honored with Client Choice Awards
Cheryl and James were recognized for the quality of their client service.

News | February 6, 2018
Drinker Biddle Announces New Managing Partners and Executive Partners
Achieves milestone as women now comprise 50 percent of senior management.

News | February 6, 2018
Jennifer Dean, Darren Cahr and Drinker Biddle’s IP team Ranked in World Trademark Review 1000 for 2018
The World Trademark Review 1000 recognized Drinker Biddle's Intellectual Property Practice Group for its depth of experience and dedication to customer care.

News | February 1, 2018
Drinker Biddle Names Five New Partners
They reside in three different offices and span four of the firm’s practices.

Event | December 1, 2017
Making the Most of a Women’s Network
Lynne Anderson moderated a discussion about women’s employee resource groups at the annual conference, which is designed to encourage and support women in STEM.

News | November 2, 2017
District Policy Group's Ilisa Halpern Paul and Jodie Curtis Named to The Hill's 2017 Top Lobbyists List
The Hill’s annual list recognizes prominent lobbyists who have made their mark on Capitol Hill and in the administration.

News | October 20, 2017
Andy Kassner, Cheryl Orr and Judy Reich to Attend National Summit on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law
The invitation-only summit will be held at Harvard Law School and will examine the high rate of attrition among women lawyers.

News | September 28, 2017
Beth Diffley Featured in Intelligent Insurer
Intelligent Insurer’s Women in Re/insurance recognizes the most successful female executives working in re/insurance globally.

Publication | September 22, 2017
Carrie DeLange Authors Piece Honoring Judge Harry D. Leinenweber
The Federal Lawyer article celebrated the Northern District of Illinois judge and his 31 years of influence from the bench.

News | July 25, 2017
Drinker Biddle Named One of the 50 Best Law Firms for Women
The prestigious list recognizes law firms that successfully retain and promote women lawyers, and that are actively committed to improving the status of women at work.