women in law webinar covid19 logoA second chance to watch….. the opening Women In Law Dialogue Series Webinars: Asia and North America time-friendly (first aired ‘live’ in August 2020)

VIDEOS BELOW>>

“Is Covid-19 taking women lawyers’ careers back to the 1950s?”

Introduction by Patrick Dransfield

I believe that it is important to note first off that the experience of Covid-19 is as varied as humanity – some struggle to name one person they know who has actually died – while not a few, myself included, mourn the loss of at least one loved one taken too early. It is also a fact that more men than women have died during the pandemic.

Of secondary priority, but still very important in my view, is that the Covid-19 pandemic is proving to disproportionally affect the careers of women in general.  The underlying purpose of the webinars (links provided, below) was not only to provide an opportunity for lawyers around the world (mainly women) to share their experiences as well as share best-practice, but also to take advantage of the unforeseen advantages to women’s legal careers that the changes in working practice have emerged as a consequence of the social distancing and remote working required to prevent the continuing spread of the pandemic.

The anthropologist in me is very attracted to the concept of a Liminal Moment. A Liminal Moment is one in which participants in an event or trauma – and in this Pandemic we are all participants –- stand at a threshold between their previous way of structuring their identity, time and community, and a New Way. Most studies (especially from the UK and the US) indicate that fathers and mothers are experiencing the pandemic in very different ways. Also, geography is a very important factor as the experience of the pandemic from the perspective of Shanghai is very different from that of the United Kingdom.  These were some of the themes that we explore with our two Women in Law panels, comprising a stellar cast of speakers from across the legal and jurisdictional landscape, and both sensitively moderated by Sally Dyson. We hope you not only enjoy either watching or rewatching  these panels but also we hope that they will help further the discussion and provide impetus to change the experiences of both women and men in the law firm industry for the benefit of all.

(See some of the post-Webinar thoughts from our participants below the videos)

North America time-friendly dialogue:

Asia time-friendly dialogue:

Participants post-WIL dialogue thoughts:

What has been the biggest challenge created by Covid-19 affecting you/women in your organisation?

People feel upset and then easily get distracted which translates into slow response and sometimes raises the bar of effective communication and mutual understanding.

What positives can come out of this current situation, or what or positive action can individuals take in their organisation to improve equality and diversity in the workplace?

The way that people work changes and facing covid-19, people have to use technology so that work/collaboration can move online and remotely. Individuals need to bear in mind that human being is not as strong as we think and people needs to respect the world and respect the nature. To achieve that, we first need to truly respect difference being inclusive starting from human being ourselves and starting from our day-to-day work and life.

– eBay

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What has been the biggest challenge created by Covid-19 affecting you/women in your organisation?

I do not see any difference between men and women during this difficult time created by the pandemic. However, I do believe that women take on a bigger role while working from home, where they handle the majority of the housework and childcare. I think that during the pandemic, women are having to work harder to balance the office and everything that has to be done at home. I think this is probably the same balancing act for women around the world during Covid-19, not just in Indonesia.

What positives can come out of this current situation, or what or positive action can individuals take in their organisation to improve equality and diversity in the workplace?

I think if men supported women more around the house, women would be in a much better position to thrive in the workplace. Professionally, we do not have a glass ceiling in Indonesia for lawyers, so I do not see any hurdles in improving equality and diversity in the workplace. Everything is based on merit and the professionalism of each lawyer, regardless of whether it is a male lawyer or a female lawyer.

– Ira A. Eddymurthy, Senior Partner, SSEK Legal Consultants

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What positives can come out of this current situation, or what or positive action can individuals take in their organisation to improve equality and diversity in the workplace?

Working from home has made women’s invisible contributions visible. There is a lot more understanding and recognition of the many roles that women take on at work and at home.

– Elaine Chao, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

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What positives can come out of this current situation, or what positive action can individuals take in their organization to improve equality and diversity in the workplace?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced employers to acknowledge that employees can be equally productive while working from home or working on alternative schedules. It has forced organizations to harness the power of technology to serve all workers. That will help provide increased flexibility for all employees moving forward.

– Hammad & Al-Mehdar

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“The current challenges provide us with unique opportunities for growth, innovation, collaboration and change. Firms are adapting to become more nimble, and greater inclusion will be a byproduct: Innovation requires more attorneys from diverse backgrounds and experiences, who will provide enriched perspective and the highest quality service.”

– Joi Bourgeois, Global Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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What has been the biggest challenge created by Covid-19 affecting you/women in your organisation?

WFH affected all our women in different ways, working mothers have had to balance even more with schools moving to online and the continuous need to ‘do it all’. Others were separated from family and on their own for extended periods, Overall we tried to ensure that Investcorp was available and compassionate to their circumstances.

What positives can come out of this current situation, or what or positive action can individuals take in their organisation to improve equality and diversity in the workplace?

Investcorp teams became closer and even as a global workforce due to increased Internal Communications, Covid-19 equalized us all as we faced its consequences in the same ways and came together to try and rise above it. It’s a reminder that D&I barriers are in our head more than reality at times.

– Investcorp

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BAC/BIAC has been devoted in promoting gender equality in international dispute resolution. In the past three years, 35.85% of the BAC/BIAC appointments went to female arbitrators on average. The BAC/BIAC will continue to support women in arbitration to achieve their career goal.

– Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Center

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“The pandemic has given great opportunity for collaboration, and this has allowed us to leverage on the unique contribution of our members and diverse expertise. It continues to amaze us this paves the way to growth individually and organizationally.”

– Monalisa C. Dimalanta, Partner, PJS Law

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What has been the biggest challenge created by Covid-19 affecting you/women in your organisation?

The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and border closure have caused difficulties to all industries including the legal sector. We did not get a lot of new work during the 2-month lockdown in April – May. However, everything is looking a lot better now even though the country is dealing with the second wave.

What positives can come out of this current situation, or what or positive action can individuals take in their organisation to improve equality and diversity in the workplace?

On the client front, we learn to adapt to the situation and reevaluate how best we can serve clients. We have focused a lot of efforts on improving our digital delivery of services, ensuring we are always reachable to give clients timely assistance. We have also devised more flexible fee structures to address our clients’ financial requirements in this difficult and uncertain time.

Internally we have also grown stronger as an organisation. Our lawyers like that most seminars are now being held online for they can connect and discuss with international peers from the comfort and safety of their homes and offices.

– Ms. Nguyen Ha Quyen Hoang, Managing Partner, LNT & Partners

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What positives can come out of this current situation, or what or positive action can individuals take in their organization to improve equality and diversity in the workplace?

During this unusual time of disruption, we have seen remarkable collaboration, creativity, and generosity in our industry from law firms and in-house teams. It is heartening to see the change in attitudes and investment made to facilitate agile working. Diversity committees have for decades attempted to reframe agile working as a non-gendered issue. Across the industry, we have seen a newfound respect for flexible work arrangements (and its viability) and an increased understanding of better ways to accommodate people with diverse needs.

– Pallavi Mehta Wahi, Co-United States and Seattle Managing Partner, Chair of Firmwide Diversity Committee, K&L Gates LLP


 With thanks to our ‘Women in Law’ Dialogue Supporters*:

Firm Sense - Cool in a Crisis BIAC DavisPolk 302
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HMMAD & AL-MEHDAR Print KLG_logo_Boxed_Orange-Dark
Kirkland & Ellis (Elite Blue RGB) - Online.Web LNT mla-logo-png
MEYER, UNKOVIC & SCOTT Web SSEK-logo-RGB_small
 Asia-Law-Portal-2 Levick ABA International_Law_Section_CMYK
 National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations 1 TCFIL_logo-sm

 

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*For information on how your organisation can be a supporter of these WiL Dialogues, contact Yvette.Tan@inhousecommunity.com

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