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Baker McKenzie’s Entry to The Gender Equality Awards 2017

Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality

Tell us what your company is doing to advance the selected principle above:
Baker McKenzie has been actively promoting women’s empowerment internally and externally, pushing to ensure our Firm and others reflect the broader community. As a recent global signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles we take seriously our commitment to boost the recruitment and retention of women, and provide greater opportunities and support for talented women to assume leadership roles.

At the highest level Baker McKenzie is committed to improving our gender equality. Our global diversity and inclusion governance body is chaired by a member of our executive committee and is integrated into the election process for our Global Chair and executive committee members. The Firm’s nominating committee is actively promoting a leadership pipeline with more representation from women. We have set aspiration targets for women’s representation to ensure that women comprise at least 40% of our non-equity partners and at least 30% of our equity partners and those in leadership positions. Ultimately, our Firm’s senior leadership is held to account for these goals as part of the annual review and compensation process.

To support women throughout our organization we have been implementing a range of initiatives aimed at bolstering gender diversity, including unconscious bias training for all employees, a structured sponsorship program for women and agile working arrangements. An internal award program was launched to recognize women and men that actively help their female colleagues develop. This is supported by our mentoring and executive coaching programs that are designed to assist women move into more of the Firm’s executive roles.

Baker McKenzie has been recognized by Working Mother magazine and the Flex-Time Lawyers organization as one of the top law firms for women, and the Best International Firm for Women in Business Law by the Euromoney Legal Media Group.

Our work has only begun, and we continue look to build programs to further empower our staff and to partner with like minded organizations.

Tell us why your company is advancing the selected principle above :

Paul Rawlinson, the Global Chair of Baker McKenzie has said it best , “We don’t see gender equality as a ‘women’s’ issue, but a business issue. Women leaders are critical to the Firm’s growth. Diversity breeds creativity, encourages a greater range of views and helps us to respond better to the needs of our clients.”
We know to be the best you have to work with the best people and give them the opportunity to lead. Gender equality is critical to business, it ensures important voices are heard and a greater perspective understood. However, to make real change happen allies must support and provide opportunities. Baker McKenzie is committed to being a leader in the advancement of gender equality in Canada and around the world.

“From our earliest days we’ve been a diverse firm with a long history of women in leadership positions,” said Claudia Prado, who chairs the Firm’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Global Financial Committee and is also the Latin American Chair for the Firm. “We are delighted to support the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which are very much aligned with our values and efforts to advance gender equality in our Firm and in the communities where we operate.”

Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women

Tell us what your company is doing to advance the selected principle above:

On a global scale, Baker McKenzie recognizes education and training (either formal or through mentoring) and professional development as important factors in assisting and supporting the career development of its female lawyers and staff. The Firm’s Global Development Framework addresses these key factors and challenges offices to build programs to forward this goal.

Consequently, our Firm provides, among other things, access to training (including mentor training) and numerous learning resources. With respect to its mentor training, the Firm has developed “best practice” guidelines to try and ensure that its mentors have a solid understanding of the key concepts required in becoming an effective mentor and can successfully apply the required skills in their respective jurisdictions and in accordance with local practices to assist and train female lawyers.

In addition, the Toronto Office has, for a number of years, paired junior female associates with senior lawyers in different areas of law to try and supplement existing formal and informal mentoring relationships and to try and facilitate training by a diverse group of lawyers. Although female lawyers are not necessarily paired with other females, we have found that pairing individuals from different practice groups provides diverse training, in addition to assisting female lawyers in establishing new relationships within the Firm.

Further, the Toronto Office has developed a “Women’s Networking Group”, that is led by its partners, Nancy Hamzo and Stephanie Vaccari, to try and assist in the business development and educational efforts of the women in the Toronto office. The Group provides a forum for our lawyers to connect with our female clients and potential role models, and to hear impressive women speak (and learn from these role models). The Toronto Office has been extremely supportive and the Group has been running for over four years. Over the years the Group has had a number of leading female executives and some of the most reputable Canadian female in-house counsel address and educate Baker McKenzie’s lawyers, as well as its female clients, at its various education and networking events.

Tell us why your company is advancing the selected principle above:

Paul Rawlinson, the Global Chair of Baker McKenzie has said it best , “We don’t see gender equality as a ‘women’s’ issue, but a business issue. Women leaders are critical to the Firm’s growth. Diversity breeds creativity, encourages a greater range of views and helps us to respond better to the needs of our clients.”
We know to be the best you have to work with the best people and give them the opportunity to lead. Gender equality is critical to business, it ensures important voices are heard and a greater perspective understood. However, to make real change happen allies must support and provide opportunities. Baker McKenzie is committed to being a leader in the advancement of gender equality in Canada and around the world.

“From our earliest days we’ve been a diverse firm with a long history of women in leadership positions,” said Claudia Prado, who chairs the Firm’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Global Financial Committee and is also the Latin American Chair for the Firm. “We are delighted to support the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which are very much aligned with our values and efforts to advance gender equality in our Firm and in the communities where we operate.”