Thank you to Meredith Ritchie and her fellow Board members for including me in yesterday’s Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law event. The largely law firm oriented audience seized on client access and origination credit as a key driver towards improved inclusion and advancement for women at major firms.
Of course, I always find the in-house attorneys at any legal conference. The photo here is with Cynthia Abbott, the stellar Chief Litigation Counsel for Motorola Mobility.
For me, the most interesting part of the discussion revolved around stereotypical male versus female leadership styles, as I think this partly explains why women have such tremendous success in General Counsel roles. Another in-house attorney in the audience described herself as a “consensus builder.” While a panelist kindly pointed out the downside of that style in a law firm environment (where owning ideas and initiatives is the way to go), I think a team consensus building orientation is an asset in-house. There is always a risk to generalizing, as obviously not all women share the same leadership style. I confess that I am always afraid of being perceived as politically incorrect when I venture into topics like this… but there really are differences between how (many, not all) men and (many, not all) women approach office politics, business development and decision-making. The panel essentially advocated learning from and adopting “male” techniques. That’s probably good advice. But I think it’s equally good advice to own whatever your style happens to be and play to those strengths. Your thoughts?
For more info on this terrific organization: http://www.thewomenscoalition.com/