IFLR Asia Women in Business Law Forum 2015- Overview


March 25 2015 | Cliftons Hong Kong

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for in-house/bankers' counsel, heads of legal and corporate executives

CPD/CLE accredited: 3 points

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IFLR hosted the second annual Women in Business Law Forum: Reinforcing the talent pipeline. The forum was further to Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Asia Women in Business Law Awards and included some of Asia’s foremost legal thinkers to examine best practices and innovation around building a personal brand, networking, mentoring and breaking the glass ceiling.

The event featured some of Asia’s leading women general counsel who will share their personal stories with the audience. Unlike many events that are aimed only at partner and general counsel level individuals, this event welcomed men and women at all levels of their career with an aim to provide an inclusive debate around reinforcing the talent pipeline.

IFLR will produce a post-event report which will be distributed to attendees. The report will include talent management recommendations and case studies of interest to banks, corporates and law firms.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

The value of building a personal brand: the importance of networking and business development

  • Branding is a form of a marketing strategy so that the market can identify and differentiate yourself. It’s also a matter of reputation;
  • It’s important to specialise in a particular area that is of interest to you or what you’re good at;
  • Build relationships both internally and externally;
  • Internally, it’s important be a person that other people want to work with rather than being friends;
  • Ensure that you build credibility: lawyers’ jobs involve giving advice, and people won’t listen to someone they don’t think is credible;
  • It’s important to step out of your comfort zone once in a while to meet new people

Best practices in mentoring, sponsorship and coaching

  • For mentoring (on both the mentoring and mentee side): how much you put into it, is how much you’ll take out of it;
  • Mentees should set the agenda for meetings with their mentors, while mentors should recognise that they can’t solve problems – the mentee solves their own problems through reflection and the mentor’s experiences;
  • Setting up a formal mentorship programme requires senior management buy-in as well as a defined remit;
  • Women should also find sponsors within their organisations. It’s possible to find sponsors informally as well as through internal programmes;
  • Coaching

Women on boards and partnership

  • Directorship roles help lawyers (at least those who are in-house) develop their careers further and look at at things at more of a strategic level;
  • Networking and getting your name out is very important when securing director roles;
  • Be fully prepared for board meetings by reading the analyst reports and the annual report, and also attend all the pre-board dinners;
  • The best way to start your board experience is at a not-for-profit or training institute;
  • Lawyers must remember that they are not the general counsel for the company. Instead they’re there to make business and strategic decisions;
  • As an independent director you’re not management, and lawyers must strike a balance as to micromanaging and being too laid back. Be helpful and be out there

The leaking pipeline: effective methods for diversity in senior management roles

  • It’s important to get buy-in from male members of senior management to support gender diversity within a company;
  • Part of retaining female employees is about creating the right workplace culture;
  • Embracing part-time work would help companies retain woman employees;
  • Companies should to describe why they have disclosure policies and the programmes they have within their disclosure;
  • Women should be open to have non-linear careers or to take breaks, but it’s important to work part-time or do something to stay involved

















 

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Women in Business Law Group

IFLR's Wibl networking group provides a platform for inclusive debate around fostering female talent in the profession.

Visit its LinkedIn page to find out more, and IFLR's awards page for details on the annual ceremonies.