At Dechert, we recognize that women in the law confront a unique set of professional challenges and a unique range of opportunities. We empower our women associates and partners to succeed by fostering a supportive environment that is responsive to their needs, as well as by providing opportunities for their development, advancement and leadership within the firm.
Dechert’s Women’s Committee meets regularly with firm leadership to identify and implement initiatives that promote opportunities for women throughout the firm. Individual offices provide additional levels of formal and informal support for women lawyers.
We actively encourage our women lawyers to participate in women-focused professional groups such as the National Association of Women Lawyers and the Woman Advocate Committee of the American Bar Association.
Dechert’s growing menu of women’s initiatives includes formal and informal mentoring; development training; internal and external networking; special interest events; leadership training; and flexible policies shaped by our belief in the importance of achieving work-life balance.
Mentoring, Development and Leadership
Catalyst studies* show that mentoring contributes significantly to a woman’s career success. We supplement formal firm-wide and practice group mentoring programs with mentoring opportunities for women that include formal and informal conferences, presentations, meetings and discussions on topics of special interest to women.
Dechert’s core competency training program focuses on helping lawyers develop skills for professional success. We complement this program by offering additional communication, management, leadership and business development training to women.
We are committed to expanding leadership opportunities for women at Dechert. Women partners currently serve on the firm Policy Committee and as practice group leaders, office managing partners, and committee leaders. Women are robustly represented on our key Diversity, Ethics, Hiring, Pro Bono and Strategic Planning committees. We support our women partners with in-house leadership training initiatives.
Networking and Other Events
The firm regularly hosts a number of external and internal networking receptions, seminars, programs, meetings, and social events – such as lunches, museum tours and wine tastings – for women lawyers, summer associates, businesswomen, clients and alumnae. Additionally, we sponsor our women lawyers who wish to attend women’s networking events hosted by outside organizations.
Our women’s initiatives lay the groundwork for results that will make a positive long-term difference to the firm. Women attorneys further firm recruiting efforts by speaking at events organized by law school women’s groups.
Dechert is a proud sponsor of recruiting events that include the Duke Women Law Students Association’s monthly lunches and wine social; the Penn Law Women’s Association’s Annual Dinner; and the Boalt Hall Women’s Association Barrister’s Ball.
At Dechert, we are dedicated to helping our lawyers balance career aspirations and family obligations with flexible, supportive part-time, maternity leave and child care policies.
Women at Dechert receive generous maternity leave benefits, while paid childcare leave is available to all eligible lawyers wishing to care for newborn or adopted children.
We use the same criteria to assess and evaluate full- and part-time employees. All part-time Dechert associates are eligible for partnership. While it may take a part-time lawyer longer to gain the necessary skills for partnership, we give the same consideration to both part- and full-time associates seeking partnership.
Dechert provides pro bono legal services to women who cannot afford legal counsel. We represent women in domestic violence cases, assist them with petitions made under the Violence Against Women Act and work on matters referred to us by inMotion (New York), Sanctuary for Families (New York) and the Tahirih Justice Center (Washington, D.C.)
We benefit numerous women by regularly staffing clinics organized by the New York City Family Court Legal Services Project, the City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Clinic for the Homeless (New York), and similar clinics in other cities that counsel women on a range of family law, homelessness and human trafficking issues.
We encourage all members of our firm to participate in community service projects. Many of our lawyers give generously of their time, energy, and financial support to causes that support and benefit women. Dechert Women Lawyer’s Initiative gave back to the Philadelphia community by raising funds and collecting more than 1,200 accessories for The Career Wardrobe in 2011.
Diversity at Dechert
In keeping with our firmwide commitment to diversity, Dechert is a signatory to:
• The Statement of Diversity Principles adopted by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York
• The Statement of Goals for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention adopted by the Philadelphia Bar Association
• The Call to Action for the Retention and Promotion of Women Attorneys adopted by the Philadelphia Bar Association
* The Glass Ceiling 2000: The History, Progress and Strategies for Advancing Women. Catalyst, 2000. Making Mentoring Work – Business Case Framework. Catalyst, 2010.