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Overview

The Baker Donelson Women's Initiative is committed to creating an environment where female attorneys thrive, increasing the Firm's ability to provide unparalleled client service.

We strive to meet this goal through the tenets of our mission statement:

  • Secure leadership roles for women.
  • Recruit and retain the best female attorneys in the country.
  • Create diverse client service teams.
  • Mentor the next generation of women leaders.

The Firm is focused on recruiting and promoting women attorneys, maintaining our commitment to developing new opportunities for our women attorneys and providing innovative approaches to supporting women in the Firm.

Leadership

Female attorneys serve as leaders across the Firm and in the communities we serve. Currently, women serve as President and COO, on the Board of Directors, as office managing shareholders, and as practice group and committee chairs. Women lead numerous administrative departments within the Firm as well, such as Knowledge Management, Recruiting and Professional Development.

The commitment of Baker Donelson's women attorneys reaches well beyond the Firm. Many serve in positions of leadership in their communities and industries, including the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), the past chair of the ABA Section of Litigation, the chair of the American Health Lawyers Association's (AHLA) Women's Leadership Council, past presidents of AHLA and many more. Baker Donelson believes that encouraging and supporting women leaders ensures a better Firm to serve our clients and our communities.

Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Baker Donelson's policies and practices provide attorneys with the flexibility to balance their careers, families and interests. The Firm offers generous parental leave for primary and non-primary caregivers, flextime work schedules and support for working parents.

The Firm recently enhanced its parental leave policy, which now allows for 16 weeks of paid leave as well as intermittent leave for both male and female attorneys. The revised policy expanded from 12 weeks to 16 weeks the amount of paid leave that both male and female full-time and regular part-time attorneys are eligible to take as primary caregivers surrounding the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child under the age of six. The new policy also adds intermittent leave, allowing both primary and non-primary caregiver attorneys to continue to work on an intermittent basis during leave, and to transition back to full-time practice at their own pace.

As part of the implementation of the new policy, Baker Donelson appointed and trained 23 Parental Leave Advisors across the Firm's offices to provide expectant and new parents with a point person for guidance to navigate the transitions before leave and upon their return, as well as a point of connection during leave.

"Baker Donelson is deeply committed to addressing the issues that can create obstacles to a successful legal career for women," said the Firm's Chairman and CEO Ben C. Adams. "We're very proud to participate in this incredible program that aims to increase gender diversity in our profession."

"We are committed to doing what it takes to advance women within the Firm and our communities," said Women's Initiative Chair Christy Crider. "Diverse teams serve our clients better, and client service is what we do."

Mentoring

The Women's Initiative mentoring program provides women attorneys with feedback and advice to help them take ownership of their careers and advance within the Firm, the profession and the community. The Firm's goal is to develop top performers in our attorney ranks. We provide guidance, support and networking opportunities at all levels of career development. At each stage of our women attorneys' professional development, we address the challenges – and opportunities – that are unique to women attorneys. Our research and internal focus group meetings have shown that the best approach is to offer a menu of options and avenues for mentoring. Some of our options are office-specific while others are available to all women attorneys and advisors across the Firm. Several options are also available to male attorneys and public policy advisors. Women's Initiative mentoring options include one-on-one mentoring, mentoring circles, subject-matter mentors and quarterly lunch meetings. To ensure our message permeates our culture, all attorneys and advisors in Firm leadership are trained on the importance of mentoring and sponsoring female attorneys.

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