Founded in 1998, Munger, Tolles & Olson’s Women’s Initiative brings together a diverse group of women and men from the firm’s three offices, who are committed to:
- Recruiting and retaining women attorneys1, with a particular focus on diverse women attorneys;
- Providing women attorneys with tools to facilitate and support successful legal careers;
- Ensuring that the firm is at the forefront of setting policies that foster an environment where women attorneys can build and lead successful legal careers; and
- Working to ensure that women attorneys are adequately represented across the leadership of the firm, its practice groups and with its clients.
The Women’s Initiative works closely with the firm’s other diversity initiatives, as well as with external organizations with similar missions, to identify and adopt best practices that will advance these goals.
- In the past eight years, approximately 40 percent of Munger Tolles attorneys promoted to equity partner have been women and roughly 14 percent have been women of color.
- We have one partnership tier, and women comprise 26 percent of our partners. This is 6 percentage points higher than the national average for law firm equity partners.
- Four percent of law firms are led by women. Ours is one of them, co-led by Hailyn J. Chen.
- Our women lawyers are widely recognized as the best of the best. They have been named among the Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers (Hailyn J. Chen, Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke), Top IP Lawyer (Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke), Top Lawyers Under 40 (Bethany W. Kristovich, Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke, Misty M. Sanford) and Top Labor and Employment Lawyers (Katherine M. Forster), and as Women Leaders in Tech Law by The Recorder (Rose Leda Ehler, Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke). They have also been recognized among the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Top Women Lawyers (Misty M. Sanford, Jennifer Broder) and Most Influential IP Lawyer ( Laura D. Smolowe). Law360 has named them as Rising Stars (Rose Leda Ehler), and many are ranked in Chambers USA, earning recognition in such areas as corporate deal making, employment litigation and real estate law.
- Women attorneys have significant representation on all Munger Tolles firm committees, including currently or recently chairing important committees such as management, partnership compensation, and associate review.
- Munger Tolles’s commitment to women lawyers has been recognized in multiple surveys and listings, including The American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard, Vault’s Top 100 Law Firms in the U.S., WomenInc.’s Top Law Firms for Women and Yale Law Women’s Top Firms for Gender Equity & Family Friendliness.
Here are just a few of the ways the Women’s Initiative supports and encourages women attorneys, both within the firm and throughout the legal profession:
THE MANSFIELD RULE
Munger Tolles has taken a leading role in piloting the Mansfield Rule program generated through the Diversity Lab’s Women-in-Law Hackathon, held at Stanford Law School in 2016. At the Hackathon, Diversity Committee Co-Chair Mark B. Helm was an active member of the team that won the “Crowd Favorite Award” for its innovative Mansfield Rule proposal. Since then, the Women’s Initiative has been instrumental in the adoption and implementation of the Mansfield Rule at the firm, which requires that the firm certify whether diverse lawyers comprised at least 30 percent of the candidate pool for senior lateral recruiting positions and significant leadership roles. Thanks to these efforts, we have received the highest recognition, Mansfield Certified Plus Status, for two consecutive years, which confirms that we achieved 30 percent diverse attorneys for more than half of the key leadership positions tracked.
BUILDING SKILLS, COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS
Professional Development: The Women’s Initiative hosts speakers and workshops open to all women attorneys that provide opportunities for skill development. These cover a range of topics, including fostering client and community relationships, effective oral advocacy, negotiation skills, the art of self-promotion, building a book of business, maintaining work-life balance and developing strategic career plans. Outside speakers have included federal and state judges, as well as business and community leaders. The Women’s Initiative also sponsors, and regularly sends its women attorneys to, conferences addressing issues relevant to women in the law, including the Women-in-Law Hackathon, the Women’s Leadership Edge Conference and the Women’s Power Summit hosted by the Center for Women in the Law.
Community and Business Building Events: The Women’s Initiative holds client and/or alumni receptions for Munger Tolles’s extended network of women to build a community and business together. It also hosts a Women of Munger Tolles annual reception each summer, including women from all three offices and women summer associates, as well as the Sandra Seville-Jones Women’s Summit each fall.
Mentoring: The Women’s Initiative provides additional mentoring resources for new women associates and women summer associates. It hosts monthly lunches and social events that also provide members with opportunities for mentoring in an informal setting. In 2020, the Women’s Initiative launched a mentoring program for all women attorneys as a supplement to the firm’s general mentorship program. Groups comprised of 5-7 attorneys from different seniority levels meet quarterly to provide women attorneys with additional opportunities for relationship building and professional development.
The Women’s Initiative has partnered with the nonprofit organization Ms. JD to host a program aimed at preparing female law students to participate in job interviews. It has also sponsored and worked with a wide range of organizations committed to the advancement of women in the law, such as California Women Lawyers, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the National Association of Women Judges.
To learn more about the Women’s Initiative, please contact co-chairs Kelly L.C. Kriebs or Laura K. Lin.