A central component of Wilson Elser’s diversity and inclusion initiative, WAVE (Women Attorneys Valued & Empowered) exemplifies the firm’s progressive approach to advancing the professional and personal well-being of its women attorneys. Its mission, embraced by the entire organization, is simple and straightforward:
“To attract, develop and retain women attorneys by enhancing and strengthening their skills and by providing career-advancing opportunities in client service, business development and leadership.”
As of April, 2016, Wilson Elser
ranks ninth nationally in the “Top 10 Best Biglaw Firms for Female Attorneys.” According to Law360,
“BigLaw continues to struggle
with gender equality, but 10
powerhouse firms outpace their peers, with women comprising nearly 40 percent of their ranks.”
Guided by a Steering Committee of experienced women partners, WAVE is facilitated by 12 rotating members throughout Wilson Elser’s office network, representing more than 300 women attorneys. WAVE recommends, implements and monitors efforts related to supporting this important constituency while attracting and developing future leaders – inclusive of associates, of counsel and partners.
WAVE implements and oversees related programming at the national and local/regional levels. Programs, while varied, are mutually reinforcing and combine to serve the single purpose of advancing WAVE’s mission. Examples in 2016 include:
WAVE Makers highlights and celebrates on a monthly basis the many
professional achievements of our women attorneys.
“Pathway to Success” provides a forum for Wilson Elser committee members and others to share information with women attorneys on compensation and advancement within the firm.
Leadership Development includes a speaker series with subject matter experts discussing challenges women face in the workplace.
Mentoring matches women associates with senior attorneys who can provide valuable information and insights on strengthening client service and enhancing their practices
Women attorneys at Wilson Elser are represented at disproportionately high percentages relative to many other law firms of similar size and stature. Most notably, we have more female than male
associates. In addition, substantial percentages of our partners and of counsel are women. WAVE is committed to further bolstering these numbers and empowering the women behind them.
Local Programs and Outreach
Taking advantage of grassroots enthusiasm, many Wilson Elser offices are developing and implementing related initiatives on a local level. Building on our national programs, local activities include panels, guest speakers, networking opportunities and community service. In addition, several of our women attorneys hold senior positions in local bar associations and charitable organizations.