PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION’S CALL TO ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THE RETENTION AND PROMOTION OF WOMEN ATTORNEYS
The signatories also agreed to engage in critical self-evaluation to identify and correct any attitudinal barriers or organizational bias impeding women's progress within the firm. In the years that followed, women have entered the legal profession in increasing numbers and have begun to rise to positions of greater leadership and prominence in the profession. Nevertheless, there are still substantial discrepancies between the number of men and women who remain in the profession, who rise to leadership positions within law firms, and who achieve full participation in the profession.
To the extent that women encounter obstacles based on stereotypes and gender based considerations, continued efforts are essential to ensure the retention and promotion of women in the profession. In light of the need to continue the efforts to achieve gender diversity in the profession, the Bar Association created this “Call to Action” and developed Best Practices for Philadelphia Law Firms for the Retention and Promotion of Women ("Best Practices").
This Call to Action evidences a renewed commitment by the signatory law firms to promote gender diversity, and the retention and promotion of women attorneys in the legal profession. As leaders of the Philadelphia Legal Community, the signatory law firms agree to use their best efforts to employ the Best Practices adopted by the Bar Association and to aspire to the goals set forth therein to:
(1) remove any barriers to full and equal participation of women
attorneys in all levels of the work, responsibilities and rewards;
(2) improve the rate of retention of women attorneys;
(3) improve the rate at which the law firm promotes or invites women attorneys to non-equity and equity partner status, and to management and leadership positions;
and (4) conduct critical self audits and evaluations of whether the law firm is achieving these goals, and to provide measures of accountability in the process of implementing and aspiring to the Best Practices.
This Call to Action also evidences a commitment by the signatory corporations to promote gender diversity, including the retention and promotion of women attorneys in the legal profession. As leaders of the Philadelphia Business Community, the signatory corporations hereby affirm their commitment to gender diversity in the legal profession. In furtherance of this commitment, this is intended to be a Call to Action for the profession generally and in particular
for the law firms with which the signatory corporations do business. Toward that end, in addition to the signatory corporations’ abiding commitment to diversity in their own legal departments, the signatory corporations pledge to make decisions regarding which law firms represent their corporations based in significant part on the diversity performance of the firms, including gender
diversity and the rates of retention and promotion of women attorneys. The signatory corporations intend to look for opportunities for firms they regularly use which positively distinguish themselves in this area, and further intend to end or limit their relationships with law firms whose performance consistently evidences a lack of meaningful interest in achieving the
goals set forth above.
The actions of the signatory law firms and corporations are based on the need to enhance opportunity in the legal profession, and recognition that the legal and business interests of clients require legal representation and leadership that reflects the diversity of employees, customers and the communities in which they do business.