The Women in Law Empowerment Forum Awards “Gold Standard Certification" to Firms Empowering Women Leaders

The Women in Law Empowerment Forum Awards “Gold Standard Certification" to Firms Empowering Women Leaders

Reed Smith Receives Gold Standard Certification for Empowering Women in Law

The Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) has named Reed Smith LLP as one of a select few law firms that qualifies for its new "Gold Standard Certification," which is a designation for firms that have integrated women in top leadership positions and compensated them well.

WILEF invited more than 300 firms with 100 or more attorneys to apply for the certification by June 1 of this year. The certification process went beyond only looking at the percentages of women employed at law firms by focusing on whether women are significantly represented in positions of power at these firms and among its top-earning attorneys.

To be certified by WILEF, firms had to meet at least three of the following six criteria:

  • Women account for at least 20 percent of equity partners.
  • Women represent at least 10 percent of firm chairs and office managing partners.
  • Women make up at least 20 percent of the firm's primary governance committee.
  • Women represent 20 percent or more of the firm's compensation committee.
  • Women make up at least 25 percent of practice group leaders or department heads.
  • Women represent at least 10 percent of the top half of the most highly compensated partners.

Of the 300 firms invited, only 32 firms, many of them smaller, met the criteria. Reed Smith was one of only five of the United States' largest 20 firms by attorney headcount that made the grade.  Reed Smith's more than 600 female attorneys now account for approximately 21 percent of the total partnership, 41 percent of all counsel, and 54 percent of all associates. Women now also account for 23.5 percent of all leadership positions at Reed Smith, and 27 percent of the firm's Compensation and Promotion Committee.   

"The 32 firms that met those criteria are to be commended," says WILEF National Chairwoman Elizabeth Anne "Betiayn" Tursi.  "At a time when women are losing ground at some firms, it is wonderful to recognize firms where women are prominently represented at the highest levels of leadership and compensation," adds Ida Abbott chairwoman of WILEF's certification committee. "These firms prove that a commitment to the advancement of women can produce great results."   

"We are proud to get this recognition of our longstanding initiatives that promote the empowerment of women in the legal profession," says Global Managing Partner Gregory B. Jordan. "At Reed Smith, we are committed to helping our women attorneys develop their careers, build concrete business opportunities, strengthen client relationships, and produce the next generation of rainmakers."   

"We've sought to create concrete and quantifiable opportunities for our women lawyers that help position them for leadership, success and rewards," says Chicago-based partner Kit Chaskin, who leads the firms' Women's Initiative Network of Reed Smith (WINRS), which is a global community of more than 600 attorneys in 22 offices dedicated to a workplace that attracts, engages, develops, supports and rewards Reed Smith's women lawyers."   

"As a core part of our firm's talent strategy, WINRS has helped the firm maximize the contributions of talented women by cultivating relationships, building business skills, and removing roadblocks to success," Ms. Chaskin adds.   Next week, on June 21, Ms. Chaskin will join in a panel presentation at WILEF's inaugural Chicago event: "Ambition: The Fuel for Your Career Engine (or Why Talent Isn't Enough)."     

Last month, Reed Smith was also honored at InsideCounsel magazine's "Transformative Leadership Awards," where the firm received the "Economic Empowerment Award" in the "Firm-wide Policies" category, which is given to the law firm that best demonstrates a commitment to women's career advancement. San Francisco partner Ellen Bastier, who leads the firm's Renewable Energy team, also received an "Economic Empowerment Award" in the "Rainmaker" category.

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a global relationship law firm with more than 1,600 lawyers in 22 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses, from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its lawyers provide litigation and other dispute resolution services in multi-jurisdictional and other high-stakes matters; deliver regulatory counsel; and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising, technology and media, shipping, energy trade and commodities, real estate, manufacturing, and education. For more information, visit

U.S.: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Princeton, Northern Virginia, Wilmington, Silicon Valley, Century City, Richmond  Europe: London, Paris, Munich, Greece Middle East: Abu Dhabi, Dubai


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