This group is dedicated to the examination of issues, policies and practices that directly impact women attorneys at the Firm. The group ensures Kirkland stays current, competitive and capable of providing a positive and enriching work environment. Corporate partner Eva Davis is the Chair and litigation partner Rajinder Bassi is the Vice Chair of the Gender Subcommittee.
The purpose of Kirkland's Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) is to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of women attorneys at the Firm and the development of the Firm's women attorneys into leaders in their practice groups, the Firm, the legal profession at large and the community. WLI provides formal training, mentoring and networking opportunities for our women attorneys to ensure their personal and professional success at Kirkland. WLI is global in scope and sponsored approximately 80 programs in our local offices in 2012, including monthly WLI networking events, discussions, informational lunches and training sessions.
Kirkland recently formed a Firmwide WLI Planning Committee, which pairs senior women partners and rising associate leaders from each of our offices in an effort to drive collaboration and shape the future of the Firm's women's initiatives.
Training and Development
WLI has instituted a formal mentoring program called "Mentoring Circles" focused on small groups of female partners, midlevel associates and junior associates that span practice areas. Each "Circle" is headed by a female partner, and female associates are assigned to a group while working at the Firm as summer associates. The program allows women at various stages in their careers to mentor each other and to develop relationships with their female colleagues. Throughout the summer, each Circle organizes dinners and lunches and participates in networking events with female summer associates.
Kirkland Leadership Forum for Women
Designed by senior women partners at the Firm, this biennial program brings together Kirkland attorneys, their senior female clients and dynamic business professors and management coaches to hone leadership skills, network and share insights. Boris Groysberg, professor in the organizational behavior unit at Harvard Business School, led the 2008 and 2010 programs in the Firm's New York and Washington, D.C., offices, respectively. The 2012 program was held on October 11, 2012, in Kirkland's New York office and was led by Assistant Professor Amy Cuddy from Harvard Business School and Associate Professor Cameron Anderson from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. More than 30 senior female clients and 30 Kirkland female partners attended the 2012 forum.
Women's Mentorship Programs
In 2012, the Chicago office's WLI expanded its exclusive mentoring relationship with the Women's Leadership Coalition at Northwestern University School of Law to include female law students at the University of Chicago Law School. The Women in Law School program is a year-long initiative that includes evening receptions, informal lunch and coffee meetings, and career panels with senior women at Kirkland. Firm attorneys are also available to answer career-related questions, review resumes and offer career advice. In 2013, approximately 30 women attorneys in Kirkland's Chicago office have actively participated in the program as mentors. In past years, 40 female students from the University of Chicago Law School and more than 100 female students from Northwestern Law have attended program events hosted by the Firm.
Through Kirkland's "ALLSA" initiative, female attorneys in several of the Firm's other U.S. offices partner with female and diverse law student associations at key campuses around the country.
Flexible Work Schedules
Attorneys may request a flexible work schedule to accommodate personal circumstances that call for flexibility. While on this schedule, attorneys do not sacrifice merit-based compensation or opportunities for professional growth. After an extensive review of this policy in 2011, the Firm offers more options for flexible arrangements and provides an extensive support network of partners, sponsors, administrators and mentors to help ensure the success of our attorneys on flexible schedules.
Parental and Adoption Leave
All primary caregivers are eligible for at least 16 weeks of paid parental leave — whether the child is newly born or adopted. Non-primary caregivers are eligible for 10 weeks paid leave. Attorneys can take leave continuously or intermittently and may request additional unpaid leave.