AHLA's Speaking of Health Law

Women in the Law: Practice in the Pandemic and Beyond

March 01, 2021 AHLA Podcasts
AHLA's Speaking of Health Law
Women in the Law: Practice in the Pandemic and Beyond
Show Notes Transcript

Delphine O’Rourke, Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP, speaks to Roberta Liebenberg, Partner, Fine Kaplan and Black, and Stephanie Scharf, Partner, Scharf Banks Marmor LLC, about their pioneering development of surveys dedicated to evaluating the experiences of women lawyers. They analyze the factors that have impacted the careers of women lawyers, such as how the current pandemic has disrupted their careers; the strategies legal employers need to develop to retain and enhance a diverse group of lawyers, including ways to assess and revamp their cultures, policies, and practices; and strategies for women lawyers to self-advocate. From AHLA’s Women’s Leadership Council. 

To learn more about AHLA and the educational resources available to the health law community, visit americanhealthlaw.org.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Law Practice in the Pandemic and Beyond. I'm Delph your host for today's podcast, and I'd like to thank the American Health Law Association and the Women's Leadership Council for sponsoring this very important podcast and for hosting two of the nation's leading experts on the area of the legal profession. I'm a partner with the law firm of Goodwin out of New York office, and I focus on representing healthcare companies, investors, and founders with a particular emphasis on women's health. It's a pleasure to be here, and I'm gonna introduce my panelists, who and , and good friends Bobby Leibenberg and Stephanie Sharp. And Bobby and Stephanie. Thank you so much for joining us. I can't tell you how excited I am , uh, to be having this very important conversation. Bobby is a partner at Fine Kaplan and Black and is a principal with Red B and Stephanie is a partner with Sharf Banks and Mar Moore , l l p, and is also a principal with the Red B . So thank you, Bobby . Thank you Stephanie. And I'm gonna hand it over before we dive into the substance of today's podcast so that you can share just a little bit more about yourselves so we can get to know you. For those of you who don't have not yet , uh, been familiar with your work.

Speaker 2:

Thank you Delphine, and thank you to the A H L A for , uh, facilitating this pod podcast. I graduated from law school in the mid seventies when women , uh, were just beginning to enter the legal profession in greater numbers. And I started practicing in Richmond, Virginia when at the time there were only about 20 licensed women lawyers. So we had no senior women role models to look up to, and so we banded together. I was one of the first presidents of the Metropolitan Richmond Women's Bar Association to help us network with one another and helping women lawyers to advance and to succeed and to be in positions to develop business has always been a passion for me. Um, I chaired the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. I actually chaired it twice. The first chair of the ABA Commission on Women, just for historical perspective, was Hillary Rodham Clinton, who performed the first , um, national study of the status of women in the legal profession in 1987. And unfortunately , uh, if you look at her findings in 1987 and compare them to today , you will see that we have only made , uh, glacial progress . And this has fueled my passion to help , uh, women lawyers. So subsequent to , um, chairing the A b A Commission on Women, I co-chaired the gender equity task force for the A b A , where we focused on how women could address and law firms could address the longstanding paid disparity that exists between male and female lawyers, how they could negotiate for better compensation, what clients could do to ensure that the women lawyers they used were , um, getting origination credit , credit and allocation credit, and getting paid commensurate to their male colleagues. Um, Stephanie and I then co-chaired the , uh, a b a presidential initiative where we examine the factors that impacted the careers of experienced women lawyers, meaning lawyers that had been practicing for 15 plus years while women in their thirties and forties in the legal profession comprised about 40% of lawyers. Um, by age 50, there's actually a stampede out of the profession with women over , uh, 50 comprising just 27% of all lawyers. So Stephanie and I wanted to examine weather experienced women lawyers were getting the same opportunities to succeed as their male colleagues, and , uh, what were the factors that determined whether or not they would stay in the, their law firm or leave. Stephanie and I are also principals in the Red B Group, a women consulting group, which focuses on data-driven solutions to d EI issues. And as part of the , um, red B Group in March, we conducted the first survey , um, that looked at the impact of the pandemic , um, on the legal profession that then follows , uh, with the survey, Stephanie and I have just completed for the American Bar Association with a , uh, the first of its kind national survey of the impact of the pandemic on the legal profession with a survey of over 4,200 a b a members. And we're gonna be discussing the findings of both the , our early , uh, survey in March, and then some of the findings , um, that will be coming out , uh, in the new practice forward survey.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and Bobby , what made, and , and thank you for that introduction, and you know, a couple of points that I think you're highlighting , um, is it , you know, when we talk about progress, there are areas where we've seen significant advancement of women in certain industries. Um, big law firms law in general is just not one of those industries. And when we look at the data , um, you know, you , you mentioned , uh, Hillary Rodham Clinton's work, and we look at the data today, it's not particularly inspiring. And when the women walking out the door survey came out or a report came out, you know, I think it debunked one of the longstanding assumptions that the reason why women were not as represented in the partner ranks is because they were all leaving when they were having child bear , or , you know, not all, but the majority of the, of the, the retention issues were caused by childbearing. And once we saw the results where you saw, you know, women age 50 leaving, you raised the question of, well, there's has to be much more. It's not just about wanting to raise your kids. There's something inherent in the profession that is causing women to leave. And I think hopefully we're gonna have an opportunity to talk about that. And then lastly, before I ask Stephanie to, to introduce herself in the work that she's been doing both separately and collaboratively, is we were already in a crisis state , um, as far as women in the legal profession before Covid , and what's now being termed the SHE session, you know, 25% of women leaving the profe leaving work at the workforce overall during Covid. You know, I've, I've heard statistics that 20% of lawyers are leaving the profession. We went from crisis to whatever, you know, emergency and very much hoping that this conversation, because this is not just an issue for the individual women, it's an issue for our legal profession. It's an issue that goes well beyond our profession into, you know, gender equity in the us . Um, so , uh, again, the importance of the work that you and Stephanie have been doing to shine a light on this problem that existed pre , uh, covid. And then what are we gonna do? And we're gonna focus on, so what can women and what can men who are listening , um, what are proactive steps? How can they manage their career? Um, so Stephanie, can't wait to hear about your history and what brought you to today.

Speaker 3:

Thank you Delphine. And I also am very happy to be here today speaking to , um, a H L A . Um , I have , uh, a , a similar but also different line , uh, of interest than Bobby described. Uh, I graduated from law school in 1985, and I went immediately to being an associate in a very large firm, Kirkland and Ellis, where I stayed for a number of years after becoming a partner. But almost from the beginning, I saw women were dropping out and dropping out and dropping out. So by the time I was a young partner, I had literally lost all of my women friends in my class from the firm. And , um, before, as I became a lawyer and graduated from law school, I also had a PhD in social science. And I was interested in figuring out why women were leaving. And it wasn't the anecdotes that were interesting to me. Oh, she wants to go home and take care of her kids. Oh, she wants to do do that. Because the backstory always was, well, she actually didn't go home and take care of kids. She took another job in another place that was more friendly to women. And so I started to develop surveys about this. I designed the first Nall annual survey about women in the law. I did that for , uh, about 10 years. Bobby , and I did some of that as well. Um, I did the first , uh, ever national survey of women's initiatives, and Bobby and I also worked on and, and developed and wrote about , uh, first chairs at trial, which was another survey about women as trial , uh, lawyers. So that led to walking out the door in the latest a b a survey about how people are generally fearing during the pandemic and what to expect going forward. Um, I absolutely agree with you. This is an issue for our profession. The whole issue of diversity is a major issue for the profession. And I think that we now are entering an era where for law firms, they are no longer, they no longer undergo the mythology that will, we are our partnership. We are a partnership. I think law firms are moving towards the position that they are a business, and if they want to do well as a business, they have to have the best talent and the best people. And the way to do that is through hiring and retaining and advancing a very diverse array of people. So I know you have a whole , a bunch of questions you wanna talk to us about Delphine , and I'll, I'll turn it back to you.

Speaker 1:

Well, Stephanie, thank you. And you just teed it up for, for my first question. Um, you know, first it would be great if you could just give us some context and, and data on, on Covid, what's been the impact? Again, this, this 20% numbers thrown around , um, recently there was a McKenzie report , uh, but yeah, sure . Where are we, where do the facts indicate , um, with I without hyperbole or a sort of downplaying of the situation? And then let's talk about the business case. Um, we know it's a moral imperative. We know that having different perspectives in a team , uh, lowers risk increase productivity, it increases outcome. Um, so let's go, you know, start with Covid and then, so how do we in this particularly challenging time , uh, make sure that we're keeping our eye on the business case?

Speaker 2:

So our walking out the door survey, which was the study of experienced women lawyers, and this new practice survey also , uh, demonstrates to us and that both pre pandemic and post pandemic women lawyers were significantly more likely than men to have , uh, personal responsibility for childcare . And the , this increase in childcare responsibilities obviously took place at a time when there was a decrease in the availability of daycare from grandparents and third party providers and women lawyers supported that work was more often disrupted by family and household obligations. And that also came at a time, by the way, when most legal employers, so both law firms and corporations, did not reduce billable hour requirements or minimize workload. So our study showed that actually mail lawyers were able to increase their billable hours as compared to women. So as a result , uh, women lawyers generally were more worried , uh, more often than men, about advancement, receiving a salary reduction, getting furloughed or laid off, feeling less heard in meetings. And women lawyer with children significantly more often felt that they were being overlooked for assignments or client opportunities, and they were not viewed as significantly committed to their firm or employer. And this, this , uh, this data was particularly important to Stephanie and me because in our walking out the door study, 63% of experienced women lawyers as these are lawyers who've worked 15 plus years, reported that they had been perceived as not sufficiently committed to their career as compared to 2% of men. And this has significant consequences for women because as a result of this misperception about their commitment, about their, their ambition, they get more negative evaluations, fewer opportunities to work on important matters with significant client. So given this data, it was also not surprising to us that women lawyers, especially those with children, were more likely to think that it would be better to work part-time , um, or not work at all. And again, our walking out the door study found that the top reason for experienced women lawyers leaving their law firms was the time needed to devote to caretaking commitment. 58% of women respondents reported that. So as you mentioned, Delphine, our survey results are completely consistent with McKenzie lean in findings where they found one in four women in corporate America were considering downsizing their careers or leaving their workforce. And this was also true , uh, in our study with respect to lawyers of color. And I think the , this data, the data that McKinsey and other studies have shown , um, should be raising alarm bells for all legal employers. And it is incumbent upon them to remain laser focused on the strategies necessary to develop a diverse group of lawyers and to reexamine and revamp their culture, their policy and practices in order to successfully recruit, retain, and promote them. And I just wanna speak a little bit about the business case because this , um, potential exodus of talent by women and diverse and diverse lawyers comes at the exact same time when clients are increasingly demanding that their law firms have women in diverse lawyers who can be first chairs at trial and manage deals. And that if they don't have a pipeline of women and diverse lawyers, there are going to be serious consequences. And I would just point to the two diversity initiatives, one by Koch , which demands that at least 30% of time billed for their new matters has to come from attorneys who are diverse by gender , race, L G B Q T or disability status, with 15% of that work billed by black partners, by black attorneys. And black lawyers must make up 15% of new relationship partner candidates. And a failure to hit these targets for two quarters will reserve , will result in firms having their fees reduced by 30 30%. Likewise, Intel has a , uh, has a , um, uh, just past their diversity requirements requiring 21% of the firm's US equity partners of the law firms they hire have to be women, and 10% have to be , um, underrepresented minorities. And just finally, in the context of litigation , um, the business case is clear. We know that, for example, juries are comprised of more than 50% women. And there is research by do the jury consulting service that shows that women jurors actually have a demonstrated statistically strong preference for women lawyers and all jurors perceived female lawyers to be more credible. A 2018 AI premonition study, which found that women partners prevailed in their cases over 70% of their time. If that's not the business case, I don't know what is. And finally, clients understand that trial teams have to mirror the diversity of the jury, the bench, their employees and their shareholders.

Speaker 1:

Bobby , I wanna come back to a couple points that you made, and also for clarification , um, did you say that the , in the group of women who are over 50, that one of the reasons that they gave for leaving was also caregiving?

Speaker 2:

Yes,

Speaker 1:

It was. Okay , so interesting. So are we talking

Speaker 2:

8% of our respondents? That was the top reason we did the top 10 reasons. And , uh, that was the first reason, given you were actually very surprised by that finding.

Speaker 1:

And did that include caregiving, for example, elderly parents, others, beyond children?

Speaker 2:

Yes,

Speaker 1:

It did. Okay. Okay. That's,

Speaker 2:

That's helpful . And interestingly, as we dove down into that study, 54% of experienced women say they were primarily responsible for, for childcare responsibilities compared to wait for it. 1% of men,

Speaker 1:

You've gotta repeat it, right? If anybody was , you know, you've gotta repeat that one because they might be like, wait a second, did I hear that correctly? Yes . So please do . Yeah. Wow.

Speaker 2:

54% of experienced women lawyers, so that's, they've been practicing 15 plus years, had primary responsibility for childcare compared to 1% of meth .

Speaker 1:

So employers can't change that home dynamic. Okay . Um, however, employers should be thinking about, I think we all agree on ways if, if employers saying yes, there's a business case, to your point, to your point, more and more , uh, corporations are really focusing both from a care and a stick perspective on, on diverse , uh, candidates. And some, you know, some companies are saying, if you don't have any diverse candidates, we're not even gonna send business to you. Um, so that needs to be part of the solution, right? Recognizing the dynamics at home. Um, so I'd like to shift it and make it a little bit more personal. So whether you are listening to this podcast and you are a woman, and that's women of all colors, and you might possibly be dealing with an additional layer of, you know, layering of identity. As for, for women of color, the statistics are even more dire. Um, or a male, you know, with a, who's part of this dynamic and, and also an ally. Um, how do you, how do you own your career? How do you self-advocate? You know, this is an issue. Maybe you're not taking, you know, maybe not 54% of, of child rearing, but maybe you're 36% and you know that you're gonna get close to a point where you say, I'm outta here unless something changes. So how do you self-advocate, Stephanie? I mean , we, you know, we need some answers. We need, it's very frustrating to be in a situation where like, I know what the problem is. I I wanna stay. I don't think I'm gonna be able to, so give me some tools.

Speaker 3:

Well, you know, I think that self-advocate has many different forms and , uh, a number of us feel like, well, self advocating is bragging and I don't wanna do that. So, but there are other ways to self-advocate where you put yourself in the position where others advocate for you. So let me give you some examples. If you have a strong sense of the area of law that you love, focus on that. But focus in multi-dimensional ways. Yes. Learn the law that you need to do. You have to feel yourself that you're good at what you do, and that feeling is projected through the work you do to others. But also take the time to build a reputation, not just inside your setting, not just inside your firm or your company, but outside. Join a bar group or an interest group where you can show your skills and make connections. And , and I have a funny story in that regard. I am active in several bar groups, and I remember maybe 15 or 20 years ago working with a man on a bar project that had nothing at all to do with my law practice. It was , it was some kind of project about professionalism. Uh, but the project went well. And the next time we met, I was in a group of corporate lawyers with this lawyer, and the man introduced me and he said, you've got to know Stephanie. She is a fabulous lawyer. And that was simply the halo effect of working not at my law practice, but working on a project that went well that he enjoyed, had nothing to do with the law work I did, but here he was advocating for my ability as a lawyer. So networks are really important because you can develop allies that way to advocate for you, and they enhance your reputation outside of the job. It's always good to have external validation. And these networks give you skills that you do not necessarily get in a day-to-day practice, like managing or organizing peers or managing projects that you first say, oh my gosh, I, I have no idea how to do this. But it ends up, you can do it, and it gives you confidence. So advocation for me, advocating yes for yourself, don't be afraid to say, you know, I like that, or I'm good at that, or I would like to do that, but let others advocate for you too . And the only way you can do that is step outside of yourself, get the networks you need in your company, but for sure get networks externally by joining one or two bar organizations.

Speaker 1:

So let's build on advocacy and think about our , our employers, whether they're large law firms, small law firms , um, the judiciary that are looking to make significant change. I mean, everybody knows where to crisis point, hopefully looking for solutions. So women know that this is an issue. I think , um, men are becoming aware if they weren't before, that this is an issue , um, this, this flight of women from the legal pro profession. How do you engage leadership? You can advocate for yourself, but how do you engage leadership to make the kind of change? You know, when Bobby's talking about flexible, flexible time , um, or other ways to make , uh, an environment or create an environment structurally systemic is so that caregivers can continue to be in the game. Um, any thoughts on that, Bobby or Stephanie, you know, how do you , how do you have those conversations with leadership? I talk to women who say, well, I don't wanna be the one raising my hand. They already think I'm not as committed because I have kids. I don't wanna be the squeaky wheel and say, you know me again. Um, but it , it's time , you know, it's time for some systemic change if we're gonna stop this bleeding.

Speaker 2:

So a couple of thoughts. One , uh, leaders themselves have to take this initiative. They have to, given the data that we've just spoken about, they have to understand that diversity and inclusion really has to be baked into firm culture. It can't be sort of at the vaguery of who is chair of a law firm at a particular moment in time. This is the time when leaders have to really step up and really understand that they need to implement policies and procedures that actually are going to level the playing field. Like we've seen that remote work can be dis de-stigmatized, that it can be effective. But now what we have to see is that there are actually pathways to advancement if you opt both male and female to take flex time or part-time, correct. Because , uh, in taking part-time, both men and women suffered gender and sort of implicit biases that were gender stereotypical. So if men took it , uh, they were , uh, afraid of adverse career consequences as well as women who were viewed sometimes as being on a mommy track. So that is , that is really key. The other really important, I think, recommendation is not only invested leaders, but also having a critical mass of women on important committees. And whether you get those critical mass of women through work, through affinity groups or other ways in which women can band together women and their male allies, because as I just spoke about the Koch and Intel initiatives, this is not only the right thing to do, it's imperative from a competitive business advantage. So having women on the compensation committee, on the partnership committee on who's determining succession , um, by having more than one woman, they can provide the perspective of what women are going through. And I think a perfect example now is , um, how women may be perceived during evaluations in this pandemic when they, for many women, they are not meeting their billable hour requirements, and they are worried that their careers will be defined and permanently harmed because of their caretaking responsibilities. Having a critical mass of women on the compensation committee can explain if there are negative comments made about the fact that a woman didn't meet her billable hour requirements because , um, of childcare, and we know actually from the McKinsey and Leanin study and board studies, that having a critical mass of women, meaning more than three on these firm committees , um, is important because the research chose that when you have that critical mass, they will advocate and mentor younger women.

Speaker 1:

And there's a lot to learn from, you know, the, the data also on public boards, you know, the tokenism of one, you should have at least three. And that's whether you know it's women or , or, or other, other underrepresented groups. Um, having one is almost, you know, just worse, right? Um, <laugh> , um, it says you're just doing this to like check a box, right? Um, so,

Speaker 2:

Or they may be afraid to , to , uh, speak up. They don't wanna represent all women, right?

Speaker 1:

Exactly. You're like, I'm not, I I can give you my, you know , my opinion, but I'm not speaking for , um, you know, 175 million of us from the us . Um, so Stephanie, what would be the single biggest game changer for, for women in the law? Because yes, there's a bias towards women with children. There's also a bias towards women, just generally. Okay. And, and I hear women who don't have children saying, I'm lumped in the same category, even if I don't have kids, a sense of, well, they're not gonna wanna work because eventually they're gonna wanna have kids or, you know, who knows? What if you were, you know, had a magic wand or were running a, a large firm, or, or were in the Biden administration, let's dream and said, okay, I'm gonna make one change and this is really gonna have a tremendous impact for women in the legal profession. What would that be?

Speaker 3:

I think the answer depends on the setting in which you work. If you are in a law firm where business development is very important, then the one change I would make would be focusing on making sure that the mid-level and s and more senior women in the firm have all the opportunities that the firm gives to men for business development. I would make sure to track who is getting, getting invited to go on presentations. I mean, even today I hear from clients actually about presentations that were all white men, and the client was aast, the client said, how can this happen today in 2020 or 2021? So there are ways that a firm can track and use metrics to make sure that the opportunities are well dispersed among the broad range of people who are available to take advantage of them. And, you know, there's something else that I'm not sure people focus on, but to me it's very important. And it has to do with really the demography of who's graduating from law school. Half the people today who graduate from law school, and that's been true for a while, are women. What many people may not realize is close to 25% of law school glasses are lawyers of color. If you are not, not just hiring, but if you're not advancing women and lawyers of color, you're cutting yourself out of 60 or 70% of the talent in the legal profession. Now, do you wanna be an organization or a firm or a company that's simply not having access to the majority of talent in the law profession? No, of course not. So I think when people focus on what's coming, what is in place now, and what's going to be even more important coming down the road, they'll say, we've gotta fix this or we're gonna lose our talent. And the bottom line is what firms and companies really make money on and really focus on are how much talent do they have?

Speaker 2:

I , I'd like to add if , if possible, because I think my , um, single biggest game changer would be succession. Uh, especially in law firms, 400,000 baby boomers are set to retire. And we know from our practice survey data that many senior lawyers are actually even accelerating retirement plans. And we also know that many men who became rainmakers , um, and didn't do so because they were the best business developers, right? They inherited business, now they groomed that business, they developed that business, but they didn't start off , uh, just developing that business on their own. And , um, and they inherited those clients from their male mentors and their colleagues. And I truly believe , uh, if firms ensure that women are included in client succession decisions, and that those decisions are made, made equitably and with full transparency, and that women have been in that pipeline, they ha are have, you know, cultivated client relationships and are now fully being considered not just the male protege, it will be possible to build a completely new generation of women rainmakers that will , can transform the face of law firms.

Speaker 1:

Love it, love your comments , um, and insight, and I couldn't agree more. You know, we talk about the intergenerational transfer of wealth in society and that how that impacts , um, you know, people of color. And in a lot of ways, the transfer of books of business is the same thing in the law firm context. And, you know, I can share stories of that, you know, that I've heard and maybe experienced where a partner retires and basically the entire book gets transferred , um, sometimes to an attorney who's been working on it, and sometimes to an attorney who hasn't been. But there's no systemic way to look at that. And most importantly, to think about what's best for the client, you know, is , is that transfer the most important for the client? Um, so, so hopefully , um, hopefully those of you who are listening and we're gonna share this podcast with others, we'll , we'll think about both of those concepts. So three takeaways for our audience. You know, and I know I'm limiting you to three and and I'm sure you have more. Um, but what are the three takeaways and hopefully our audience or law firm , uh, shares and judges, but also law students, you're thinking about, how am I gonna navigate this whether I'm a, you know, whether I'm a woman, whether I'm a person of color, whether I wanna be an ally, how do I change it so that this environment reflects our society and my values?

Speaker 3:

So let me take a stab of it first. Um, first of all, I think it's important to remember that careers last a long time. You should be who you are and be patient with how you were doing. Be sure to stay in those networks that I was talking about, maybe one national and one local, because that's how, a good way to keep fresh and keep encouraged and to develop an external reputation that will help you at work and also help you for the that next job. And I also think it's important to live your life and to do what's right for you. Um, I've seen a lot of lawyers over 35 years. There's no one single track to success. In fact, the idea that a career is a straight line is a myth. It's forward and sideways and up and down and maybe backwards and then forward again. So ironically, what I've noticed is many of the people who were narrowly focused only on their practice and nothing else, don't always have the sterling careers the way you think they will when you're junior. So over the long haul, the war , the law is really a wonderful profession. There are many, many types of jobs and many opportunities, and for sure just have faith that one will be right for you. And I guess my third kind of lesson learned would be , uh, covid is ending. There will be opportunities to work differently and to work in a range of jobs. I'm optimistic about the second half of 2021 and going into 2022. I'm not saying life will be, life will be somewhat different, but I think the experience we've all had of hunkering down and being much more isolated than we'd like to be for the last year, that is ending. And I think that will result in some very positive changes that will impact many people in the law.

Speaker 2:

So my three takeaways, of course, having worked with Stephanie for so long, dovetail off of hers. Um, and I would say that both organizations and individuals need to take stock of what they value. So we already talked about this is a great opportunity for organizations to rethink, revamp, reimagine their culture, revamp compensation systems, but for an individual, and I don't wanna stress people out because they already have a lot on their plate, but it is time to sort of take stock in. What are your ultimate goals for your career? Um, is this where you wanna be? If you wanna become a partner, what are the skills? Who are the partners you need to work with? What do you need to do to move your career alone along ? And so you can also feel that you're in control of your career. Um, it's also an opportunity to think about , um, are there new business development opportunities? Are there new areas of the law that didn't occur pre pandemic, but now you're seeing price gouging, insurance cases, tuition refund, and other refund cases. These are new areas of the law that are now emerging that if you become immersed in, you'll be at the forefront in terms of developing business. Um, secondly, again, I'm gonna stress working with affinity groups, working within your firm to elect , um, a critical mass of women to managing posi management positions to the important committees like compensation, partnership and evaluation. And, and, and now's the time, for example, for women's initiatives and other affinity groups to be looking at these issues. Who's on the management committee? Who's, who's making partner, who's getting , uh, the business, looking at the metrics that Stephanie talked about? Are we making progress? You know, is there a way to really ensure that we move the dial on these issues? And finally, I think that, and we're gonna be talking about this , um, everyone has been overwhelmed by covid and that burnout is a true issue, but burnout is not just an individual issue, it's actually an organization and , um, uh, work and team, team issue. So if you're a , a manager of a , uh, of a group, think about building resilient teams. Think about all the steps you need to do , some of which we hope people have been doing during covid , but we'll continue after Covid in terms of reaching out, making sure that every member of their team feels acknowledged, feels that they're making a contribution, feels that they are understood. Interestingly, one of the , um, one of the data points that came out of our practice survey in terms of what do women lawyers want and what they wanted even more than, for example, comprehensive , um, parental resources and family and health leave policies, which they wanted. Um, they want frequent, transparent, empathetic communications from leaders in their organizations that truly understand what Stephanie said, that careers span many years, and that firms should invest their resources in making sure that women stay in them.

Speaker 1:

Bobby and Stephanie, thank you so much. Um, you've armed us with data, you've armed us with a perspective , um, feel like inspired to make change. And I think there's also an opportunity, you know, the, the associates of today have very different , um, expectations and um, are are looking for a lot more than, than , frankly, I thought I was entitled to when I started, right? Like, we were excited when they let us wear pants. And um, you know, it <laugh> , right? I mean, I remember that was like , oh , you can wear pants now. Wow , okay . You know, and that wasn't that long ago . Um , you

Speaker 2:

Can actually think of the time when , you know , when we just discussed that odd nauseum , right? And you wear pants to court ,

Speaker 1:

<laugh> , you know, and this, I mean , this was 20 years ago, right? Um, and this was, you know, could you wear stockings that weren't nude ? You know? Um, which now if you said to an associate , um, you know, Hey, by the way, they , they look at you. I know they do. Cause sometimes they tell you stories and I feel like they're looking at me like, you know, like I'm like Jurassic era. Um, but I think for employers to realize that women have different expectations and some of these biases and, and , and systemic issues like, you know, the intergenerational transfer of books. They're looking at that thinking what is going on? They were not raised in that environment and thinking this is not gonna continue. And that also inspires me. So thank you both. Thank you to a H l A to the Women's Leadership Council. This is the first in a series of conversations, and thank you to our guests for joining us.

Speaker 2:

Thank you . And you did such a great job moderating this conversation. We so enjoyed it .

Speaker 1:

Thank you .