Costs of Inaction: The Business Case for the Hiring, Promotion, and Retention of Women Lawyers Women in the Legal Profession April 6, 2011
What Is the Business Case? Organizations should focus on promoting women lawyers because it will improve the bottom line.
Business Case is Crucial Economic climate is affecting women and the initiatives that will promote women lawyers. It is an absolute necessity for women’s initiatives to support and be supported by the business case. Building a strong business case is the most important step in gaining support and commitment for women’s programs.
The Business Case and the Promotion of Women Lawyers Are Aligned Promoting Women Lawyers Workforce with best talent Inclusive work environment Positive reputation for organization Client satisfaction Business Case
Reason No. 1: Increases Organizations’ Flexibility Workforce and markets are changing rapidly. Diverse organizations better serve diverse clients. New workers foster innovation. “I think the real benefit of having women and diversity in a team is that you have a richer set of ideas. So. I truly believe that there is a direct relationship between team performance and having a diverse team with the best talents.” VP Europe of leading global healthcare company
Reason No. 2: Attracts & Retains Top Talent Female workforce participation is on the rise. In the U.S., women comprise more than 50% of law school graduates and new entrants into the legal workforce. UNESCO statistics for Chile are similar. Law firms cannot afford to ignore such a large talent pool.
Reason No. 3: Reduces Costs There are high costs associated with turnover, absenteeism, & low productivity. For example: Make it more difficult for senior attorneys – leading to higher costs. Lawyers with institutional memory are incredibly valuable to clients.
Reason No. 4: Increases Financial Performance Law firm-specific research is rare. But, law firms’ governing committees are similar to corporations’ boards of directors. The research in that area is clear: decision-making on corporate boards suffers when there are less than 3 women on a board.
More Women Board Members – Better Financial Performance Companies with the highest representation of women board directors attain significantly higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation of women board directors. Catalyst’s 2008 report - The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards.
More Women Senior Managers – Higher Employee Satisfaction Companies with 3 or more women in senior management functions score more highly on organizational criteria, which correlate to financial performance. McKinsey & Company study of 101 large corporations in Europe, America, & Asia.
More Women in Top Management – Better Financial Performance Companies with highest level of gender diversity in top management posts have better financial performance. McKinsey & Company study of European listed companies with stock market capitalization of over €150 million.
Reason No. 5: Clients Demand it Companies that take diversity seriously like to hire law firms that do too. General Mills’ Call to Action DuPont Women Lawyers’ Network Many clients have women in power and expect the same of their law firms. The number of Fortune 500 female GCs is at an all time high (94). “[Y]ou don’t go to a board that’s got 40 percent women with an all-male team.” General Counsel, Association of Corporate Counsel