WIPR Influential Women in IP 2019
Women in the boardroom www.worldipreview.com
committees, flexible working policies and quotas.
Below, some (although definitely not all) of these
policies are highlighted.
Nearly 65% of respondents in our survey said
that their firms have a diversity and inclusion policy,
while 18% said their companies didn’t. A further 18%
According to Beasley, while firms are increasingly
taking a positive stance promoting diversity and
inclusion, progress remains slow.
He adds: “Women continue to be underrepresented
at partnership level with many women at
senior levels opting out of private practice in the years
before partner election.”
Tackling diversity begins at the recruitment
level, according to many of respondents, who noted
that their firms had implemented wide-reaching
“In the recruitment process, all applications are
entirely anonymised which means they are each
judged fairly,” said one respondent to our survey.
Another added that their company asks recruiters to
seek out female candidates where possible.
Only 22% of our survey participants believe their
organisation has set targets for gender diversity,
compared with 41% who say their organisation
doesn’t have targets, and 37% who are unsure. Broken
down, however, it’s not all bad news—some of the
respondents said that while they don’t have diversity
targets at their firm, there are concerted efforts to
seek out female candidates and increase the number
of women lawyers.
“We aim to maximise the potential of every
member of the team, promoting mutual respect and
ensuring that our people are seen as individuals first
and foremost. They are supported and empowered
to achieve, regardless of their gender, ethnic origin,
nationality, marital or civil partner status, sexual
orientation, religion or belief, age, disability or socioeconomic
background,” said one respondent.
Others note that they don’t need a target because
“gender has never been an issue”, since the leadership
has always been evenly split or dominated by women.
Mahua Roy Chowdhury, founder and principal
partner of India-based Royzz & Co, explains that her
firm now has more women than men, a decision that
the company has not had to make consciously.
“It has been an organic transition as more talented
women are joining the workforce,” she says. “Over the
last few decades, women have leaned into the table
and made waves.
“A workforce without women cannot be envisioned
anymore. Women bring a certain understanding of
business and organisational working that is priceless
to the system.”
In much the same way, India-based Fidus Law
Chambers, women already outnumber men in a 3:1
ratio. Shwetasree Majumder, principal at Fidus Law,
attributes this to a few factors.
First, the firm provides late night transportation
for women (keeping in mind safety considerations),
a work from home policy, a codified diversity policy
and a gender-neutral zero tolerance policy to sexual
However, putting recruitment policies in place
is unlikely to entirely solve the gender gap. Postemployment,
a variety of visible and invisible barriers
emerge for women.
Does your organisation have a
diversity and inclusion policy?
In-house: does your organisation have a
diversity and inclusion policy?
Over the last few
have leaned into
the table and
Mahua Roy Chowdhury,
Royzz & Co