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Call to Action

The CBA’s Alliance for Women invites all Chicago law firms to join its "Call to Action," a project to promote women's leadership in the legal profession. This "Call to Action" recognizes that without a focused effort from the leadership of law firms, the progress of women into leadership positions in our profession will remain immaterial. Major firms in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have signed similar pledges. It is time for Chicago to take this step forward!

 

Chicago’s firms as a whole fall below the national average for percentage of female partners (as published by the National Association for Law Placement). Yet, organizations with high percentages of women in leadership financially outperform organizations with low percentages. Chicago has some catching up to do!

 

The CBA’s Board of Managers approved the "Call to Action" in November 2004. The Alliance for Women will be working to expand this program to include others affected by these issues. Below you will find the formal "Call to Action," best practices information, and the firm signatory form.

 

For more information on the project, contact:

Jane DiRenzo Pigott, R3 Group LLC, (312) 628-4735

E. Lynn Grayson, Jenner & Block LLP, (312) 923-2756


The Call to Action

The Chicago Bar Association and the signatories hereto remain committed to fostering diversity in the legal profession. Without a focused effort from the leaders of the Chicago legal community, the movement of women into leadership positions will remain glacially slow and Chicago legal organizations will continue to suffer financially. Women leaders are a business imperative. Organizations with high percentages of women in leadership roles financially outperform organizations with low percentages. See "The Bottom Line: Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity" Catalyst 2003.

 

The level of women associates entering Chicago law firms has remained high for many years—averaging over 40% of all associates over the last five years. The percentage of women partners (both equity and non-equity) in Chicago law firms, however, has not made the same meaningful progress. All but twelve of Chicago’s large law firms fall below the average in regard to percent of female partners (as published by the National Association for Law Placement). There is clearly much room for improvement.

 

In furtherance of this Call to Action:

  • Each law firm signatory’s goal is to increase the percent of its women partners by 3 percentage points from its 2004 levels by December 31, 2007.
  • Each law firm signatory’s goal is to have women represented on every firm committee in the same proportion as the number of women partners at the firm by December 31, 2007.
  • Each law firm signatory’s goal is to increase the number of women practice group leaders at the firm by December 31, 2007.
  • Each law firm signatory agrees to review its flexible hours policy and its use in order to ensure that alternative schedules are an equitable and viable option by December 31, 2007.
  • Each law firm signatory agrees to materially improve any disparity in the rates in which men and women are retained, promoted, and laterally recruited at the firm by December 31, 2007.


 

Project Resources:

  • Best Practices for Ensuring Compliance With Commitment
  • Law Firm Signature Page
  • Alliance for Women Committee Web Page

 



Related Files
Call to Action Best Practices
Call to Action Signature Page