Gaveling the Glass Ceiling: Passing the Torch, as TWLL Moves Forward

Topics: Access to Justice, Client Relations, Diversity, Efficiency, Law Firms, Talent Development, Thomson Reuters, Women’s Leadership Blog Posts

gaveling

I want to take this issue of Gaveling the Glass Ceiling to reflect on all we’ve accomplished over the past three years since beginning this work with the Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law (TWLL) initiative at Thomson Reuters.

This reflection is bittersweet for me because I am beginning a new role at Thomson Reuters as president of its tax business, and so this will be my last penning of this monthly letter that I enjoyed doing so much. I will however, continue to support TWLL’s work and mission within both Thomson Reuters and the larger legal industry itself. Its statement of purpose — to address the “structural barriers and create[e] cultural change needed at the organizational level for women to succeed and advance in the legal industry” — is simply too important to do otherwise.

I also want to give heartfelt thanks to the members of TWLL’s Advisory Board. I have so appreciated getting to know these outstanding female leaders, have learned so much from them and admire each one for her accomplishments and wise counsel. I am so glad they will continue to serve and strive for the goals that TWLL has laid out.

Before I tell you what I am most proud of during my time with this initiative, I want to introduce you to the person taking my place as the program’s executive sponsor: Deirdre Stanley, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Thomson Reuters.

gaveling

Deirdre Stanley, Executive Vice President & General Counsel for Thomson Reuters

Deirdre is already a recognized steward of diversity & inclusion initiatives. Under her leadership, the Thomson Reuters Legal department has recently been recognized in the category of “Diversity & Quality of Life” as part of the annual NY Law Journal contest that recognizes outstanding work performed by in-house legal departments over the past year!

She is also no stranger to those who have followed the work of the TWLL initiative, as Deirdre has been a member of the TWLL Advisory Board from its start and has written or spoken on these important issues many times in the past and will continue to do so going forward.

Looking back over my time here, I am most excited about the events and actions we have undertaken in order to make a continuing impact on women’s leadership in the law, such as our ‘Rising Stars’ cohort, which  earlier this year launched its second group of high-potential female partners at Am Law 50 firms. The cohort program allows these partners to gain access to powerful general counsel and other female business leaders by facilitating networking, mentoring, and business development opportunities.

Also, our Women’s Transformative Leadership Forum in Toronto, which held its second annual event in May, is another accomplishment of the initiative of which I am very proud. This year’s full-day event offered a blend of keynote plenaries and robust panel discussions that, taken as a whole, addressed how best to foster change not only on the organizational level, but within the individual as well. I’m excited that this message is being delivered from us outward to the larger legal industry through events like the Forum.

Finally, I continue to feel  gratified about the role Thomson Reuters played in championing  McKinsey & Company’s inaugural study of law firms — conducted as part of its broader Women in the Workplace 2017 research with LeanIn.org — by leading the recruitment of law firms to participate in the research.

The real impact of this report has become evident in the months since its launch, as we began hearing from law firms that either began or continued to address some of the issues raised in the report.

gaveling

My participation in the Thomson Reuters launch event for the McKinsey & Co. Women in Law Firms study was one of the highlights of my role with the TWLL initiative.

So, it is with a mix of feelings that I leave my current role with the TWLL initiative — a bit sad that I will not be as directly involved as I was, but exhilarated that the good work that was accomplished over the past few years will continue and grow under Deirdre’s strong direction. Mostly, however, I am proud of all those who continue to contribute to this initiative and work diligently to challenge the barriers to advancement that women still face in the legal industry.

We’ve accomplished much, and there are exciting and rewarding developments yet to come! I thank you all for allowing me to a part of it.