May 18, 2009
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National Advocates Stress the Importance of Women’s Initiatives in the Legal Industry Despite the Downturn
“Just Add Women®” Endorsed by The National Association of Women Lawyers
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Since the onset of the economic downturn, declining revenues in the legal industry have led to massive layoffs and drastic increases in unemployment claims in the first quarter compared to last year’s figures. As budgets and jobs continue to be slashed at law firms across the United States, the fate of many employee programs, including women’s resource groups and initiatives, are still to be determined. To help law firms and professional organizations that serve women lawyers maintain the momentum of initiatives previously put into place, Negotiating Women, Inc. is launching the Just Add Women® Meeting Toolkit Series. The new program delivers a cost-effective solution for law firms and affinity groups still committed to implementing professional development programs for women lawyers.
“The legal profession has made some progress in implementing and advocating programs that promote diversity and help women overcome many of the barriers that they face,” said Carol Frohlinger, co-founder of Negotiating Women, Inc. and a lawyer herself. “Firms recognize how these efforts have paid off in terms of retention and service to clients. While many firms are now struggling, it’s critical that they not renege on the promises they’ve made. Women are watching and hoping that the commitments their firms made to support gender equity through women’s initiatives before the crisis are real ─ that they won’t get put ‘on hold’ because things are tough. Firms who keep the momentum going will not only protect the investment they’ve already made but will enhance their reputations as ‘Employers of Choice’ when things turn around”.
According to the National Association of Women Lawyers‘ (NAWL) November 2008 Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms (see the full report at www.nawl.org), women continue to be substantially underrepresented in equity and leadership positions in AMLAW 200 law firms. Despite the fact that women have been graduating from law schools in equal numbers as men for the past 25 years, they represent fewer than 16% of equity partners and only 6% in leadership positions.
“Ensuring that women attorneys have equal opportunities to advance into equity and leadership positions is essential”, said NAWL President Lisa Horowitz. ”Ensuring that they have the skills critical to their advancement and performance in these positions is likewise essential. The Just Add Women® Toolkit Series with its emphasis on applying a negotiation framework to the development of networking, client relationship and career management provides an excellent and time effective way to convey these skills. And the results inure not only to the benefit of the individual women attorneys but also to their firms and clients.”
Karen M. Lockwood, principal of The Lockwood Group, a retired partner at Howrey LLP and former Global Co-Chair of Howrey’s 15-year-old Women’s Leadership Initiative notes that “Negotiating Women speakers have been very well received at our firm.” She adds, “The Just Add Women Meeting® Toolkit Series offers the same level of excellent research and practical advice to our women and also fits our culture of having women practice leadership by planning and leading in-depth programs while providing best-of-breed professional development.”
The Just Add Women® Meeting Toolkit Series, created by Negotiating Women, Inc. equips professional development executives and lawyers who wish to step up as leaders with the resources and materials they need to conduct interactive and engaging sessions themselves, rather than hiring external training companies. Tailored for women in the workplace, the current toolkit includes a series of six meetings addressing a variety of “career critical” topics including Building a Strategic Network, Building Client Relationships and Positioning Yourself for High Visibility Assignments. All of these programs help participants learn new ways to contribute to their success and the success of their firm.
The Toolkit includes a detailed Facilitator’s Guide, PowerPoint presentation, attendee materials, meeting checklist and a sample email invitation making these meetings easy to plan and conduct. Negotiating Women, Inc. offers complimentary facilitator training for staff and organization members as part of the Just Add Women® Meeting Toolkit Series.
“This program is the result of extensive research and meets a critical ongoing need in our profession,” said Frohlinger. “We are committed to supporting women in the law, as well as firms and professional organizations who continue to make the advancement of women lawyers a priority despite the downturn.”
For more information or to order the Just Add Women® Meeting Toolkit Series, visit www.negotiatingwomen.com. Carol Frohlinger, Esq., President Negotiating Women Inc. and co-author of “Her Place at the Table: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success” are available for interviews on women’s initiatives in the legal industry and overcoming common challenges in the workplace.
About Negotiating Women, Inc.
Negotiating Women, Inc. provides negotiation and leadership training for women and consulting for organizations. The company specializes in live negotiation training, online e-learning courses and consulting services designed to help women at every stage of their careers to claim their value and create conditions for success. For more information, visit www.negotiatingwomen.com.