The Diversity and Inclusion Committee's Gender Subcommittee 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. Litigation partner Rajinder Bassi and corporate partner Ashley Gregory are the chairs of the Gender Subcommittee.
Women's Leadership Initiative
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 110 programs in our local offices in 2015, 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.
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. The program will be repeated in our New York office in October 2016.
Women's Mentorship Programs
The Women in Law School program is a year-long initiative aimed at increasing the Firm's on-campus diversity outreach by fostering mentoring and networking opportunities for rising women attorneys that support the development of women in the legal field. This initiative is designed to encourage in-person interaction between Kirkland women attorneys and University of Chicago and Northwestern women law students facilitated through informal lunches and coffee, career panels and evening receptions. In the 2014–2015 academic year, approximately 150 female students attended programs 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. The ALLSA initiative is designed to encourage a sense of community among diverse attorneys and law students, increase the visibility of Kirkland’s diverse attorneys on law school campuses, create mentoring relationships with diverse students and open unique conduits for professional development. At the core of ALLSA are 85 Kirkland liaisons who have formed relationships with more than 80 diverse law student groups.
Diversity Fellowship Program
Kirkland has created the Kirkland & Ellis Diversity Fellowship for diverse law students across the country who are considering joining Kirkland's summer program. Since the inception of the Diversity Fellowship in 2004, Kirkland has awarded more than 140 fellowships, with stipends totaling more than $2.5 million. To apply for the Fellowship, applicants need only seek a summer position at one of Kirkland's domestic offices and submit their transcript, resume and a brief personal statement. If selected, they will receive a $25,000 stipend upon completing their summer associate term.
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 2015, 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 up to 18 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.