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Gender Diversity in Law Firms Impacts Success

Gender Diversity in Law Firms Impacts Success

Achieving gender diversity at all levels of the legal field is essential for creating an equitable and prosperous law firm. The advantages of gender-diverse associates, management, and board members cannot be ignored in the hyper-competitive law industry.

Research shows that gender-diverse law firms achieve 10% higher client spending and are 15% more likely to earn above-average financial returns. Given the numbers, firms must take action to increase their gender diversity. However, firms seeking a gender-diverse workforce face several challenges on their path to diversity.

To counteract the unconscious bias and domestic responsibilities that most frequently block women’s advancement to positions of power, firms need to create a culture of inclusion, hire ESG (environmental, social, and governance) consultants, and codify hiring and advancement quotas.

How to Build Gender Diverse Legal Teams and Leadership

The key to building gender-diverse legal teams and firm leadership is attracting women with a gender-inclusive culture, offering flexible work options, and countering unconscious bias. Women make up over half of current law school graduates, so there is no reason for lack of representation at every level of a firm.

Build a culture of diversity and inclusion

Company culture is hugely important in attracting and retaining women in the workforce. Start creating an inclusive culture by giving your workers anonymous and non-anonymous ways of providing feedback.

Consider hiring an ESG expert to assess your firm. They can determine which departments lack gender diversity and provide guidance on implementing gender-inclusive practices to promote company growth.

Start a woman-to-woman mentorship program where women in higher positions meet with newly hired women to discuss and advise on careers. The most critical action in creating a culture of diversity is hiring and promoting more women.

Hiring, retention, and advancement quotas

Hiring quotas are legal if they are meant to fix a gross imbalance, do not unduly harm others, are temporary, and are regularly reviewed. Many firms have a gross inequality of gender diversity in their management, equity partners, and board of directors.

Setting goals or quotas to match the gender makeup of the labor pool in these areas is an excellent practice to implement.

Counteract unconscious bias and cultural obstacles

Gender biases are usually unconscious, but they are undeniably detrimental to gender diversity. Simple fixes like removing gender indications from application materials and gender-based hiring and advancement goals can counteract unconscious bias’ adverse consequences.

Women’s disproportionately large domestic and caregiving responsibilities are often cited as the most significant obstacles to career advancement. Providing women with flexible work alternatives, like remote work, helps overcome this cultural obstacle.

Many companies already recognize the importance of alternative work options, so offering flexible work may already be part of your business structure. Expand it further with childcare benefits and flexible work hours.

Culture of Diversity

Creating a culture of diversity is essential to attracting and retaining high-quality talent. It acts as a magnet for talent because satisfied workers are a company’s strongest recruiting tool. Improving worker morale through an inclusive work culture also increases employee retention, which allows your firm to advance women to management positions.

A diverse work environment shows continual benefits as women move into leadership positions. It creates an even more inclusive space that attracts high-achieving women to the firm.

To create a culture of diversity, begin by hosting allyship seminars, setting hiring goals, and asking for continuous feedback from your current employees. As you implement these strategies, you can watch as your firm grows more diverse.

Women in the Legal Field

Most firms have been focusing their diversity efforts on entry to mid-level positions, with women well represented in junior to senior level partners. Firms’ biggest challenge is retaining women to advance them to management and board of directors positions.

It is beneficial for firms to overcome this obstacle because clients primarily want women in positions of power. Always ask your clients about their opinions on your firm’s gender diversity because client feedback is a strong influencer in favor of more gender inclusivity.

Top Firms are Leading the Way

Some of the world’s largest law firms, including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters, are leading the legal industry in gender diversity in positions of power after appointing women to be executive leaders. The legal field is creating a pipeline for the best women to overcome the obstacles and get a fair chance for the top positions.

Many firms are also working with ESG experts to lead gender diversity. ESG factors provide legal firms with helpful guidelines regarding building a gender-diverse workplace. By partnering with an ESG expert candidate, your firm can adhere to socially progressive hiring criteria.

Given the advantages of diverse workforces in legal firms, it is to every firm’s advantage to make this advancement pipeline a reality. A change toward gender diversity in law firms is occurring across the industry, and being a leader in this change is financially advantageous and morally correct.

Hire Qualified Women Through Collier Legal Search

While there are some obstacles to overcome to increase gender diversity in law firms, finding qualified women to hire does not have to be one. At Collier Legal Search, we take a consultative approach to connecting the best candidates for every open position.

While your firm focuses on creating an inclusive culture, we send highly qualified candidates to uphold that culture and advance to positions of power. Contact us for more information on how we can help you increase gender diversity by providing ESG experts and offering smart candidate placement.

Collier Legal Search founded by Kellie Collier and Kay Egger is a Woman-Owned Business.