Setting the tone and culture you want to see is one of the most important things you can do as a leader. No, it’s possible that you won’t be able to alter the culture of the entire legal sector. You might not even be the most senior leader in your company with the authority to send out a memo ordering behavior. For your own team, however, you may set the tone.
Women can be urged NOT to check their email again after leaving early for a child’s school event. You can schedule an hour for people to dedicate to their own career development every month or every two weeks. During this time, they can connect with their personal board of directors, update the performance metrics they track, or consider other opportunities or activities they might want to pursue on their path to leadership. In order to make sure that women are exposed to different stakeholders, you might encourage regular networking and interacting across various practice groups or departments.
To free up your more senior attorneys to concentrate on more strategic and critical activities for the business-and for their own career development-empower your legal staff, business personnel, and younger attorneys with technology to do as many routine work as you can. Establish procedures to guarantee that only the most pressing matters are escalated to your top attorneys. Encourage your lawyers to delegate so they may be used for a variety of tasks.
If they work in-house, they might suddenly have time to schedule more frequent meetings with important stakeholders or pursue new certifications so they can perform tasks you previously delegated to outside counsel. Perhaps more customer feedback sessions, more business development activities, or a stretch project are now available to lawyers in companies.
Leaders may and ought to act as examples for the lawyers below them. Floor Blindenbach, the creator of Organizing4Innovation and a co-host of our weekly She Breaks the Law U.S. conversations, remarked that she has heard many female leaders bemoan the fact that they feel inadequate as role models for younger female lawyers, particularly if they are putting in long hours.
As a leader, you can think about being transparent and honest about the things you gave up and what you gained in return for all your effort. Describe the benefits of holding a leadership role.
The fact that women are underrepresented in leadership positions in the legal profession is a problem that the business as a whole must address, not just female lawyers. The work of female lawyers on their teams needs to be highlighted by leaders, who must also encourage them to put their own professional goals first.
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