Our women partners serve as wonderful role models for our women associates and play important roles in leading our gender diversity efforts. They pair with associates in the office to host in-house monthly lunches for women and sponsor networking events with women general counsel and other women-focused client events where they address a wide range of issues involving gender, professional development, client development and work-life balance. Below are some examples of our programming efforts.
- Our Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) offices hosted the inaugural EMEA Women’s Event, which was hosted live in London with other offices joining via videoconference. The discussion centered on women’s rights around the globe, and our attorneys were joined by Maggie Murphy, the founder of “An Equal Playing Field,” an organization which aims to promote women and girls’ opportunities to advance equality.
- A year after Gibson Dunn successfully launched our Women of Color Initiative, we have continued our progress in numerous ways: 1) formed a firm-wide programming committee; 2) hosted firmwide and local substantive programming; 3) hosted social gatherings around the firm; and 4) sponsored external organizations dedicated to advancing women of color. Gibson Dunn partner Mylan Denerstein and Anita Girdhari, and associates Tiaunia Henry and Megan Lawson serve as co-chairs of the Initiative. Gibson Dunn partners Veronica Lewis and Debra Wong Yang have all participated in firmwide programming with our women of color attorneys.
- The Women of Color Initiative hosted a discussion that featured partner Debra Wong Yang and Jean Lee, President and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, that was made available to attorneys around the firm via videoconference.
- Led by Gibson Dunn partners Abbey Hudson and Beth Ising and associates Kelly Herbert and Praatika Prasad, the LGBTQ Women Affinity Group have hosted numerous internal in-person gatherings and external networking events that connect LGBTQ women lawyers across the firm. We have hosted LGBTQ-women focused recruiting events at law schools and formulated an LGBTQ women recruiting plan to attract more LGBTQ women to the firm. The group is also a proud sponsor of The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Evening with Women annual dinner and Out Leadership’s OUTWomen Initiative.
- Gibson Dunn was part of the winning team for Stanford Law School and Diversity Lab’s inaugural Women in Law Hackathon, a team pitch competition comprised of partners from 54 different law firms, designed to tackle the recruitment, advancement, and retention of women in law firms. Law firms from around the country were partnered with diversity specialists and divided into nine teams, charged with working together for six months to see which team could present the most innovative idea. Los Angeles partner Perlette Jura represented Gibson Dunn, and her team placed first in the competition. The event was held at Stanford University and the judges were comprised of distinguished professors and clients from around the country, including high-level lawyers from Wal-Mart and PepsiCo, among others.
Local Office Programming
- Gibson Dunn partner Debra Wong Yang served on the planning committee for the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance’s (APAWLA) event celebrating Asian-American women partners. The event’s goal was to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that Asian-American women are achieving partnership at major law firms in the Los Angeles area in increasing numbers.
- The New York Women’s Mentor Circles program was created at the urging of our women partners to provide our women attorneys with the opportunity to connect and engage with each other in a small group setting. The mentor circles are organized by practice group and include partners, of counsel, senior, mid-level and junior associates. By having multiple class years represented, the circles allow the women to provide encouragement and guidance to one another as they maneuver through their careers at the firm.
- As part of the ongoing Los Angeles Women’s Monthly Lunch Series, the LA Women’s Subcommittee hosted a lunch panel discussion titled “The Road Ahead – Perspectives on Career Paths, Options and Opportunities.” Panelists included partners Karen Bertero and Heather Richardson, of counsel Sogol Pirnazar and Gibson Dunn alumna Lauren Eber, who currently serves as the Vice President/Senior Litigation Counsel at Warner Brothers.
- The LA Women’s Subcommittee hosted an event to welcome our new women associates. Donations were also collected for the Downtown Women’s Center, an organization providing permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women.
- The Women and Gender Subcommittees across the firm host summer receptions for our female lawyers and summer associates. These annual events provide an opportunity for our women to gather, meet and reconnect with new and old colleagues. Examples include the Dallas office hosting a terrarium party and the New York office hosting a wine and cheese reception.
- The New York office hosted the personal data week kickoff event for the Harvard Law School Women’s Alliance. The event was moderated by Gibson Dunn partner Alex Southwell, with panelists from Womble Carlyle, Olapic Inc., Personal Data Project and CrossdalePaul LLC.
- The Washington, D.C. office sponsors a monthly women’s lunch program, which pairs up a senior woman attorney with a junior associate. Gibson Dunn partners Marian Lee and Greta Williams co-chair the subcommittee and lead the facilitation of this program. In addition, the office hosts monthly women’s lunches throughout the year.
- Gibson Dunn sponsored the District of Columbia Bar Association’s Litigation Committee’s event titled “Minority Flight: Why Women of Color Are Leaving Law Firms and How to Turn the Tide.” The event explored research indicating that women of color leave law firms at alarming rates as compared to their peers. Gibson Dunn partner Chantale Fiebig is a member of the DC Bar Association and serves as the chair of the Litigation Committee.
- The Palo Alto office hosts a monthly women’s lunch, with associates taking turns selecting the lunch topic and leading the discussion. Past topics have included “The Language of Leadership” and the “Art of Networking.”
- The Palo Alto office hosted two women’s networking events for our women attorneys, including an evening of wine, art and calligraphy as well as a casino night.
- The San Francisco Women’s Subcommittee hosts various events and lunches throughout the year geared at the professional development of our women associates. Past events have included a panel of Gibson Dunn alumni who work in various levels of government, a client development panel titled “Internal Marketing: How best to position and market yourself internally at GD&C” and a panel on the “Do’s and Don’ts of the Year-End Memo.”
- The Denver office hosted a number of panels this past year on topics surrounding women’s advancement, including “Professionalism in Transition: How to Execute a Career Move at Any Stage of Practice,” “Bridging the Confidence Gap,” “A Conversation with SEC Commissioner Kara Stein,” “Navigating Unconscious Bias While Perfecting Your Career” and “In-House Operations: How Companies are Handling Their Labor & Employment Matters.”
- The European Women’s Diversity Committee launched a European-wide “Thursday Lunch Club.” Each quarter, a different European office hosts a lunch presentation, and our women lawyers in the other European offices join via videoconference. The host office presents a few talking points on a topic of interest to our female lawyers, and then opens up the discussion to engage with the other offices. The topics discussed over the past year included the career advancement of women and work-life balance.
- The London Diversity Committee Women’s Group hosts frequent lunches and events throughout the year. Past speakers have included Gibson Dunn of counsel Angelika Niebler and Fatema Orjela, a partner at Sidley Austin, and one of the founders of Women in Law London.
- The Bay Area offices hosted a presentation on “Projecting Credibility and Confidence” with communication expert Cara Hale Alter, author of The Credibility Code. The presentation explored how non-verbal communication skills can authentically project confidence and competence. Cara is the founder and president of SpeechSkills, which offers expert communication training, and shared her insights with our women attorneys.