Finnegan is excited to announce the Trusted Advisor: Women in Leadership program, a collaboration with GC Magazine exploring the challenges and successes of women assuming leadership roles in the legal profession. Through a one-on-one video series and a comprehensive full-day summit held in Washington DC, Finnegan partners and in-house counsel from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Koch Industries, and Nestlé Purina Petcare discussed what it means to be a leader and shared strategies for mentoring others on legal career paths, particularly women with science and technology backgrounds who parlay those interests into intellectual property practices.
The group provided specific direction on how to create an environment that both recognizes and develops the potential of future leaders. “Mentorship and sponsorship do not happen just within an organization—women attorneys should look for opportunities to mentor someone in law school, at another firm, or even a high school student. I recall helping out in a moot court competition for girls from a local high school.” said Finnegan partner Mareesa Frederick. Serving five years in the U.S. Air Force before becoming a lawyer, Finnegan partner Elizabeth Ferrill credits her military training as playing a formative role in understanding leadership. “The phrase we used to say was, ‘The leader eats last and sleeps last,’ meaning that you take care of your people, and you make sure they have everything they need to be successful,” she explained.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) states that female leadership stands at less than 50 percent in all industries, based on an analysis of LinkedIn membership in 12 sectors from more than 100 countries. The WEF’s analysis also found that industry sectors with the highest representation of women in leadership positions tended to recruit more women leaders. “A lot of the women leaders that I’ve interviewed or spent time with, when asked, ‘who was the first person to tell you no, where did you get that first discouragement that you had to overcome,’ so many say, ‘it was from myself’,” shared Finnegan partner Erika Arner. “I think perhaps women, a little bit more than men, tend to have a bit of self-doubt that causes them, at least initially, to not raise their hand for an opportunity, or to not feel that they are ready for a job that they really are ready for. Getting out of your own way is one of the lessons that we learn as we age,” added Finnegan partner Virginia Carron.
“A lot of people relate to people who remind them of themselves, and I think it’s important to try and remember that you need to cast a wide net and give a lot of people opportunities,” said Finnegan partner Linda Wadler. The group emphasized that the responsibility of elevating women does not have to fall solely on women. Finnegan partner Dori Hines stated, “Where I think additional work could be done is getting men more actively involved, engaged, and understanding of the benefits of having women in leadership roles, and that having women in leadership roles isn’t a zero-sum game. Having a woman leader doesn’t mean that it’s a loss for men.”
About GC Magazine
The Legal 500 launched GC Magazine as part of its ongoing commitment to providing quality and pertinent content for in-house counsel across the globe. http://www.gcmagazine.com An independent guide that ranks law firms across practice and geographic sectors, The Legal 500 conducts research globally to bring corporate counsel comprehensive analyses for selecting outside counsel.
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP is one of the largest IP law firms in the world. From offices in Atlanta, Boston, London, Palo Alto, Reston, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, and Washington, DC, the firm practices all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law, including counseling, prosecution, licensing, and litigation. Finnegan also represents clients on IP issues related to European patents and trade marks, international trade, portfolio management, the Internet, e-commerce, government contracts, antitrust, and unfair competition. For additional information on the firm, please visit www.finnegan.com. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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