The Neal Gerber Eisenberg Women’s Network helps the firm’s women attorneys succeed and achieve their personal and professional goals through programming, training in strategic areas such as marketing and client development, opportunities to take on leadership roles in the firm and forums for internal and external networking. The Women’s Network further strives to support the unique needs of women attorneys and advocate for issues important to women and all attorneys at the firm.
A cross-section of the firm’s women, consisting of partners, associates, and administrative staff, comprise the Women’s Network leadership team, which develops and plans the group’s programming and other events.
"The Women's Network is committed to promoting and supporting women within the firm, in all aspects of their professional and personal lives, through innovative programming, luncheons and networking opportunities."
- Tonya G. Newman and Michelle R. Canerday
Co-Chairs of Neal Gerber Eisenberg's Women's Network
EDUCATION, TRAINING AND NETWORKING
The Women’s Network programming is presented through educational Lunch ‘n Learn Programs, WANT Mentoring Teams and Social and Professional Networking Events.
Lunch ‘n Learn Programs
– These lunchtime programs are offered on a quarterly basis and are open to all attorneys. The programs focus on issues of importance to women lawyers and often to all attorneys. Past topics have included marketing (how to build your legal practice), succeeding as a woman in a male-dominated profession, turning a marketing idea into a business opportunity and the benefits and drawbacks of flexible schedule work options.
Women Attorney Networking Teams (WANT)
– WANT is a mentoring initiative designed to benefit women attorneys at all levels and in all stages of their professional development. Women are assigned to four networking teams consisting of a cross-section of partners and associates from different practice areas. Some of the goals of WANT are to create and strengthen connections at all levels of the firm, foster mentoring relationships, expand networks, identify potential cross marketing opportunities and share experiences and lessons learned. WANT teams meet every other month. Sometimes the teams have formal topics of interest to discuss, such as community involvement, work-life balance or business development strategies, and other times it is a purely informal lunch to simply talk and strengthen internal connections.
Social Networking Events
– Twice a year, the Women’s Network hosts networking events that encourage social interaction among the firm’s women attorneys. These events encourage social networking, help further strengthen mentoring opportunities and provide a fun and casual way for the firm’s women attorneys to strengthen their connections with one another.
Professional Connection Events
– The Women’s Network hosts an annual event for women clients and prospective clients, allowing women attorneys to develop and expand their own client relationships and to use and refine their marketing and business development skills. The style of these events varies and has included educational and professional seminars, community service opportunities and social/entertainment activities.
SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY
The Women’s Network constantly looks for new ways to address the unique needs and concerns of women attorneys and to advocate for women on issues important to their professional development at the firm.
– The Women’s Network created Mom Mentoring to provide support and guidance for women as they transition into working mothers. The goal of the program is to make the transition as easy and manageable as possible for the new mom. The Women’s Network pairs expectant women attorneys with two women attorneys at the firm (“Mom Mentors”) who have recently navigated the transition to working mother—both at the partner and associate level. The Mom Mentors meet regularly with their expecting attorney mentee before, during and after she returns from maternity leave. They answer questions, provide tips from their own experiences and offer guidance to these new moms on everything from finding a nanny to managing the workload upon returning to work.
– The Women’s Network mobilized the firm’s women partners to engage law firm leaders in an ongoing dialogue about the many areas that affect attorneys and their development and success and the active role firm management needs to play with regard to these issues. This very successful endeavor has resulted in new policies and programs, like the new assignment review framework for associates that helps better monitor work allocation for all associates, the addition of a woman partner to the firm’s associate review committee and the focus on succession planning and leadership training, to name a few. The women’s Policy Group will continue to have an impact as it maintains an open dialogue with firm leadership on many topics of interest to women.
PLAY Group (Parenting, Lawyering and You) – The Women’s Network recognized that attorneys (both male and female) struggle with parenting questions and issues. The PLAY Group provides a forum for sharing the experiences and resources of attorneys at all stages of the parenting process. The PLAY Group sponsors quarterly discussions and presentations on relevant topics. Past PLAY Group program topics have included: childcare options, saving for a child’s education, how to handle bullying, technology and your kids, estate planning and insurance for families.
"We have found that with so many varied parenting experiences of NGE attorneys, we needed a way to pool our resources to better inform those of us seeking insight, guidance and information. Whether it's bringing a panel of 'experts' on a specific topic of interest or simply sharing experiences of attorneys at different stages of parenting, the informal setting of our meetings has proven invaluable to many of us."
- Joshua A. Klein, Partner
Community Action & Award Subcommittee
– The Community Action & Awards Subcommittee has two purposes. One, to assist women attorneys interested in pursuing community service by providing opportunities for women attorneys to get involved with community service activities with their women colleagues. Two, it seeks to help identify and recognize the achievements and accomplishments of the firm’s women attorneys and to assist them in pursuing national and local honors and awards.
By harnessing the power of women at Neal Gerber Eisenberg and encouraging their development as professionals and leaders, the Women’s Network has dynamically impacted the future of the women who practice here, and the future of the firm itself. The success of the Women’s Network demonstrates in a palpable way how women can effect positive change in their own professional pursuits while advancing the firm’s business objectives.
The impact of the Women’s Network’s efforts is measurable. A significant number of our women attorneys lead or serve on our firm committees, including the firm’s Executive Committee. Additionally, 16 percent of our partners, 53 percent of our associates and 44 percent of our counsel are women. The Women’s Network will continue to ensure that Neal Gerber Eisenberg remains one of the best law firms for women both personally and professionally.