Women in Business Law: Building the Talent Pipeline - Overview


June 19, 2013 - Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London


Further to Euromoney Legal Media Group's Women in Business Law Awards, IFLR is pleased to present the seminar: Women in Business Law - Building the Talent Pipeline. Featuring some of London's foremost legal thinkers, this interactive seminar examines best practice and innovation around mentoring, business development and negotiating your path to partnership or the board.

The event included some of Europe's leading women general counsel who shared their personal stories with the audience.

Unlike many events that are aimed at only partner and general counsel level individuals, this event welcomed men and women at all levels of their career with an aimed to provide an inclusive debate around building the talent pipeline.

After the event, IFLR produced a report including talent management recommendations for banks, corporates and law firms.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Mentoring within an organisation and cross-company mentoring

  • Fifty percent of new graduates in law firms are female. It is crucial to make sure those within the profession are doing all that can be down to lock on to that talent
  • Those looking for mentors, must be proactive. The women's networks within most organisations can be a good place to source mentors, but don't ignore more informal opportunities
  • Mentees should remember the mentor-mentee relationship is two-sided and work to foster the relationship by doing their prep work, being reliable, and grateful for the time and help offered. Flattery and old-fashioned courtesy can go a long way
  • It may, in some circumstances, be preferable for a mentor to be from outside of the mentee¹s department or business. But if not, it's important to first establish boundaries with regards to confidentiality and line manager interactions
  • The best mentor-mentee relationships are those in which an honest dialogue is retained. Be open-minded and don't be afraid to ask for help if the relationship isn't working

The importance of building your network and business development

  • Never underestimate how important it is to have a raised profile within your organisation. Networking is now an essential part of both business development and career progression
  • It's important to make achievements known. But it's equally important to concentrate on doing a good job. Succeed first and then shout about it
  • While networking usually starts informally at a young age, it's advisable to work methodically and clinically to foster this network as it expands over the years
  • Social media can be a hugely beneficial tool in managing and staying in touch with broader networks - LinkedIn is best but Facebook and Twitter can also be helpful professional networking tools. By avoiding social media altogether, you risk missing out on both career and networking opportunities
  • Networks are more successful when there's a personal connection
  • Interactions over social media cannot be a replacement for relationships built through personal contact
  • Priortise both those you network with and where you network, based on what you care most about. It's impossible both to foster close relationships with more than 40 people, and to accept every event invitation.

Negotiating the path to partnership or the board

  • Charisma is not everything, and it’s possible to learn to be a leader
  • Women will have greater opportunities to leverage off their emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, which are becoming increasingly important in leadership positions
  • Women have the advantage of being good at fostering trust and relationships
  • To achieve work/life balance you must be ruthless with your time. It is important to communicate with your team to show how and when you will be contactable
  • If considering a different career, it’s important to test your CV by removing all law references, and instead focus on transferable skills
  • LinkedIn is an essential tool when thinking of moving jobs or careers
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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.