Friday, 23rd of March 2018

Friday, 23rd of March 2018

Law firms are increasingly being asked by clients to account for the attrition of women attorneys and their absence from leadership ranks.  Rankings of firms in widely read industry publications can bring uncomfortable attention to firms that have had difficulty retaining women lawyers.

Many firms say that they wish that they had more women lawyers interested in leadership but can’t find them. But, they have been trying to develop talent through training programs.

Although massively popular, the short and long-term results of attending training programs is extremely poor.

Training programs teach generalized concepts of leadership without taking into account the unique characteristics and strengths of the individual.  

It’s unrealistic to expect that someone will exemplify the qualities of a great leader by simply attending a few training programs.

Would you expect someone to be a professional golfer after watching a few film clips and listening to a power point presentation on golfing techniques?

The idea is ludicrous when put in those terms. So, why do we expect it of women?

And, the traditional standards for leadership are decidedly masculine: strong, dominant, ambitious and decisive. Women are not expected to have these traits and have been punished when they exhibit them.

Talented women attorneys aren’t reluctant to become leaders. Many believe that their strengths – the ability to develop strong relationships, to broker compromise, to develop others and to be compassionate and attuned to the beliefs and feelings of clients, colleagues and staff– are not valued or seen as indicators of leadership potential.

Women attorneys, as well as many of the men attorneys in their firms, share these assumptions despite overwhelming evidence that ‘soft’ leadership skills significantly improve profitability. Simon Sinek’s books Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last are brilliant on this topic, explaining in detail how soft leadership skills are essential to long-term success.

Our specialized coaching enables women lawyers to overcome unintentional obstacles to advancement; helping women assume leadership positions within institutions accustomed to masculine styles of leading; helping women develop strategies which factor in family responsibilities and lifestyle choices.

Providing coaching for women lawyers can make all the difference when it comes to retaining and advancing talent. We are pleased to provide this level of service to our long-distance clients.