Issue 41, Spring 2015

What an exciting and productive time this is! I hope you are enjoying your work half as much as I am enjoying mine. We are seeing a promising shift to the inclusion of men in efforts to advance women into leadership and a revitalized and expanded interest in mentoring. It is highly gratifying to be part of these developments. When you read about them in this issue, you will see why I am so energized. I hope you feel excited too!

Advancing Women:

  • Catalyst award-winning video features my work and Breakfasts for Champions
  • Movement for gender balance at a tipping point as the focus shifts to engaging men
  • New resources for women on sponsorship
  • 2015 Hastings Leadership Academy for Women
  • Interviews, articles and presentations

Mentoring and Professional Development

  • California State Bar Task Force on Mentoring
  • New book on mentoring and coaching for lawyers
  • 2016 National Legal Mentoring Consortium Conference: Save the Date!
  • Interviews and articles on mentoring and professional development


Catalyst award-winning video features my work and Breakfasts for Champions: Catalyst, whose mission is to expand opportunities for women and business, has a terrific campaign to inspire people and companies to "disrupt the default." The campaign urges that we push beyond the status quo and find innovative ways to advance women in the workplace. Catalyst held a video contest on this theme and the grand prize winner was "Take a Little Action" created by Caren Ulrich Stacy and Steve Gluckman. The video recognizes seven people for their actions in advancing women and I was honored to be one of the seven. The video describes how my Breakfasts for Champions are encouraging men to reverse gender imbalance by sponsoring women. The video made its premiere at Catalyst's annual awards dinner on March 26 and is now posted on the Catalyst website. You can also see it at the Take a Little Action website, where you can read about many individuals whose little actions are making a big difference in advancing women in the workplace. My sincere thanks to Caren and Steve for honoring me, and to Catalyst for all the fine work they do.

If you are interested in learning more about Breakfasts for Champions or would like to hold one in your firm, company or organization, please contact me.


Movement for gender balance at a tipping point as the focus shifts to engaging men: My book Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know urges men to become personally and actively engaged in supporting women for advancement into leadership. That message was very timely. Since its publication a year ago, the focus on men stepping up to promote gender equality has been gaining currency worldwide. In the past, women's initiatives and programs were led by and for women. Progress has come -- but at a frustratingly slow pace. As I have argued, one major reason for the delay is that the movement has not included men -- yet it is men who control firms and organizations and who have the power to make the transformative changes necessary for meaningful progress to occur.

Now that is changing. Women are inviting men to join them as partners and allies in the effort to increase the gender balance at the top of organizations. And men are accepting that invitation. More and more, men are realizing the strategic business reasons for gender balance. They are beginning to appreciate how greater representation of women at the top will benefit them, their clients and their companies. And they are moving past the fears, discomfort and inertia that have prevented men from actively teaming up with women in the fight for gender equity.

Today men are included on panels and in the audience on topics related to gender issues. In organizations of all kinds, men are partnering with women and even leading the push to get women to the top. And men who get it, who have been champions of women -- not just in the abstract but through concrete, personal effort -- are being lauded publicly through such events as Ms.JD's The Incredible Men (TIM) Initiative and my own Breakfasts for Champions.

Moreover, men's advocacy on behalf of women is spreading worldwide. In September 2014, Emma Watson announced the launch of a United Nations program called HeforShe, through which men pledge and act to support gender equality. In Australia, Male Champions of Change involves powerful men in some of Australia's most prominent organizations who act inside their organizations, in their communities and throughout the country to promote gender equality.

For decades, women have been working together and supporting each other to break into the ranks of partnership and leadership. With an increasing number of men enthusiastically joining this effort as partners, allies, collaborators and advocates, we should finally start to see meaningful progress toward gender balance.  

In This Issue

Mentoring and Professional Development

California State Bar Task Force on Mentoring: I have written before about the trend toward state bar associations establishing statewide mentoring programs. More than half the states now have some sort of program and California is looking into starting one. I am honored to be a Vice-chair of the State Bar Task Force that is exploring possibilities and will make recommendations.

New book on mentoring and coaching for lawyers: The International Bar Association recently produced an excellent book, Mentoring and Coaching for Lawyers. Edited by Rebecca Normand-Hochman, the book includes chapters by noted experts, many of whom offer research-based conclusions and all of whom offer thoughtful analysis, practical guidance and insights on various aspects of mentoring and coaching in the legal profession. Because most of the authors are from outside the US, it also provides valuable perspectives about mentoring and coaching for law firms with international offices.

2016 National Legal Mentoring Consortium Conference: Save the Date! The National Legal Mentoring Consortium(NLMC) holds a conference every two years. The next conference will be May 5-7, 2016, in Denver, CO, co-sponsored with the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program of the Colorado Supreme Court (C.A.M.P.) and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. If you have anything to do with mentoring lawyers or law students, you should join the NLMC. And be sure to put May 5-7, 2016 on your calendar. You don't want to miss this important conference.

Interviews and articles on mentoring and professional development:

  • I was interviewed as a Trusted Advisor to the Professional Development Consortium in "Get to Know Your Trusted Advisors, PDC Linkletter, Fall 2014
  • I was one of the experts Mary Kate Sheridan highlights in her article "Tailored Training: Five Professional Development Tips for Each Attorney Stage," published in Legal Management, February 5, 2015.  
  • My article, "Your Old Guard Is Leaving: Are Your New Leaders Ready?" appeared in Peer Bulletin, November 4, 2014

New resources for women on sponsorship

Attorney at Work, the publisher of my book, Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know, is making available a variety of free resources for women (and men) interested in sponsorship as a way to help them get ahead in law firms and other organizations. This week they are rolling out two free downloadable guides: "How to Find a Sponsor" and "Sponsoring Women: What Women Need to Know." I think both of these will be helpful to you and others in your organization. Read and/or download them here and be sure to bookmark the web page because Attorney at Work will be offering additional resources there in the future.

2015 Hastings Leadership Academy for Women: Registration is now open for the 2015 Hastings Leadership Academy for Women. This is the premier leadership course for women law firm partners and experienced in-house counsel. The course helps cultivate leadership skills and enables participants to increase their visibility and value to their organizations by leveraging their talents and abilities more strategically. Registration is limited to a small group of women, so register now to reserve a space!

Interviews, articles and presentations on sponsorship

  • "Advancing Women in the Law -- An Interview on the Value of Sponsorship." In an interview with Heidi Alexander about my book, Sponsoring Women, I explain the importance and dynamics of mentorship and sponsorship, and provide advice on how to build and utilize those relationships for career success. Heidi is with the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program, which hosted the interview. You can listen to the interview here.
  • At the ABA Mid-Year Meeting in Houston, I made a presentation and led a panel on the topic "Men Joining Women for Change: Harnessing the Power of Inclusivity." An article about it can be read at "Sponsoring women: What men need to know," Your ABA e-news for members, March 2015. The program was jointly sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, National Conference of Women's Bar Associations, and Texas Women Lawyers.  
  • My article, "Beyond Mentoring: Why Sponsoring Women for Leadership Matters," was published by CPA Trendlines, posted March 3, 2015.
  • An excerpt from Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know was posted as a "Thursday Thinkpiece" on the legal blog  SLAW.