"It is great in meetings and on calls for senior women to acknowledge associates for their work. It is very beneficial for clients to see women supporting other women."
"Be as pragmatic as possible. Never miss networking opportunities."
These are just a few of the many words of wisdom shared by clients during MoFo's first-of-its-kind series of Women Attorney Regional Meetings held for MoFo women attorneys in several of the firm's U.S. locations. The inaugural regional meetings sponsored by MoFo's Women's Strategy Committee (WSC) assembled for the first time MoFo women lawyers at all levels for a two-day meeting that offered substantive professional development workshops, as well as collaborative onsite team-building activities and real-world insights designed to promote gender equality and the advancement of women in the legal profession.
In total, approximately 250 MoFo attorneys attended one of three Women Attorney Regional Meetings. The first Regional was held on September 19, 2019, in San Francisco and included participation from MoFo's Palo Alto office; the Los Angeles Regional took place on October 21 –22, 2019, and included participation from MoFo's Denver and San Diego offices; and the New York Regional took place on October 28 –29, 2019, and included participation from MoFo's Washington, D.C., Boston, Miami, London, and Berlin offices. In addition to two days of professional development programming, attendees also had the unique opportunity of participating in social pre-and post-meeting activities, including morning yoga and spin classes and evening activities and dinners designed to promote additional networking and collaboration. In New York and San Francisco, attendees participated in evening poker competitions, and in Los Angeles, guests socialized with cocktails and attended an offsite dinner reception. The meetings also included partner networking components, such as a partner lunch in New York and partner dinners in Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York partners also had the opportunity to celebrate with the Women General Counsel Network at its 10th Anniversary Gala.
The Regionals were broken into two sessions: client-focused panel sessions and professional development–related workshops. The client panel sessions included participation from MoFo lawyers, alumnae, and clients, including in-house legal leaders at some of the world's largest consumer, financial services, luxury goods, and technology companies. In New York, the client panel was moderated by Investigations + White Collar Defense partner Carrie H. Cohen; in Los Angeles, the session was moderated by Employment + Labor partner Tritia Murata; and in San Francisco the session was moderated by Class Actions + Mass Torts partner Tiffany Cheung.
During the client sessions, panelists were encouraged to share their personal experiences of being women in the legal profession, and the challenges they have faced working in the industry. Panelists covered a number of hot topics, including:
- Promoting diversity in the workplace
- Implementing diversity training
- Mentoring at all levels
- Women supporting women in the legal profession
- Male allies who champion women and diversity-related initiatives
The professional development workshops offered best practices in:
- Strategic Negotiation: Professor Alexandra Carter of Columbia Law School provided deep insights and interactive exercises, covering several powerful concepts in negotiation theory and practice, including negotiating from interests when dealing with legal conflicts; the power of framing for legal negotiation success; and common strategic challenges faced in legal negotiations and strategies to combat them. Professor Carter previewed material from her book to be published by Simon & Schuster next year, Mirrors and Windows: Ten Questions to Improve Your Negotiations, Your Relationships and Your Life, on the power of certain questions to transform any legal negotiation.
- Build Your Network: Attendees partook in a robust discussion of best practices for how to build a network, identify connections, and foster a deeper understanding the importance of building quality connections and a strong referral pipeline. The sessions included tips on how to market yourself and your services externally and internally, and offered suggestions for how to stay connected with contacts.