Our future as a firm depends on the investment we make today in developing the next generation of women leaders. In addition to making mentorship and coaching available to all our lawyers, we design opportunities specifically for women lawyers.
The Women’s and Diversity Strategy Committees work closely with our attorneys to cultivate and promote a culture of sponsorship at the firm. Sponsorship is more than mentorship — it occurs when a partner actively uses his/her position within the firm to advance an associate’s career.
Sponsorship programs are typically based on the concept of “paying it forward,” and MoFo’s program is no exception. Partners across the firm — women and men — readily acknowledge their indebtedness to the support they received in their early careers and are committed to sponsoring diverse and women associates for partnership.
Unlike other firms, which have programs that formally match lawyers with sponsors, MoFo supports a more organic sponsorship. This approach is made possible by the shared commitment across the firm to the internal advancement of women and diverse lawyers.
The Women’s and Diversity Steering Committees meet with practice group heads periodically to ensure high-performing diverse and women senior associates have partner champions within their practice groups to support their growth and development. The firm also utilizes its Sponsorship Tip Sheet to assist partners in engaging with associates; it provides concrete steps for attention and focus to position our highest - performing associates for future success.
MoFo’s partners will continue to pay it forward, enhancing a strong culture of sponsorship and driving the advancement of our women and diverse lawyers.
To reinforce that there is no single approach to success, the firm implemented its MoFo Women Spotlight series. Each segment features two women partners who discuss their unique career paths and experience in the areas of developing a practice, building business, and balancing their personal and professional lives. The MoFo Women Spotlights provide “virtual mentoring”; the sessions are recorded and available for watching and rewatching.
To further promote collaboration among all our women lawyers, the WSC hosts regional meetings in the U.S. and internationally. These multi day meetings provide an opportunity to network and strengthen relationships and skills.
Our women lawyers participate in a range of leadership development programs outside the firm, such as LaddHerUp, the UC Hastings Project for Attorney Retention’s Leadership Academy, Impact Center’s Women Executive Leadership Fellowship Program, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellowship Program, and the Women in Law Empowerment Forum, to name a few.
We view our participation in these programs as a long-term investment in the firm’s future women leaders.
In addition, we partner with law schools, bar associations, and other professional organizations that share our commitment to the advancement of women in the legal profession.
In 2016, for example, we participated in the Inaugural Women in Law Hackathon at Stanford Law School. Created by the Diversity Lab, in collaboration with Stanford Law and Bloomberg Law, the hackathon identifies solutions to challenges commonly experienced by women lawyers.
We were part of the team that won third place for its plan to address the challenges that frequently impede the continuing advancement of women partners, proposing such solutions as sharing origination credit and ensuring access to clients.