The NYC-based law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLC, or “Debevoise” for short, has taken a bold public-facing step in supporting the ongoing advancement of women in the legal profession. The 650-person firm, which is considered one of the world’s leading transactional and commercial litigation firms, recently launched the Debevoise Women’s Review, a website dedicated to promoting women in the legal and business worlds. The website will include interviews and posts centered on professional development and achievements of women in law and business, and will profile women around the world who are making a difference in their respective fields and communities, while providing support and encouragement to female professionals at all stages of their careers. The initiative’s objectives are very similar to our goals here at Women Criminal Defense Attorneys Blog, while including a broader spectrum of legal specialties and a focus on the business world.
The “Letter from the Editors” holds a prominent place on the Debevoise site and states the goals of the site as follows:
The Debevoise Women’s Review will spotlight topics of interest to professional women, including the achievements, initiatives and advocacy efforts of women and organizations around the world. We hope to provide a range of diverse perspectives through interviews with leading women in business; thoughtful coverage of conferences and pertinent books and articles; and reflective pieces tying in the personal experiences of Debevoise women, alumni and clients.
Our goal is to continue to strengthen our community of Debevoise women while encouraging the legal and business worlds to engage in discussion and collective action around the development, retention and promotion of female professionals.
The fact that such a prominent Am Law 100 firm is committing significant and sustained time and resources to supporting the professional advancement of women is a strong statement about both need and value of women in the legal profession. I hope it reflects a tipping point where law firms and the larger legal community realize that creating committees and programs aimed at supporting women aren’t just boxes to check off a diversity checklist but rather important investments in our collective future and a strong business development strategy for firms.
This concept of promoting the advancement of women in law and its greater effect on legal business development has even made its way onto primetime television. If you are fan of The Good Wife like I am, you know that one of the show’s main characters, Diane Lockhart, is creating an all-female law firm and has been working to convince her male partners that this makes good business sense for all of them. Television seems to mirror current trends in our society, so although I think it’s highly doubtful that a large, global firm like Debevoise will transition to all-female partnership anytime soon, I think Debevoise’s commitment to the professional advancement of women is certainly ahead of the curve and other firms should take note.