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Jenner & Block works to promote and support the advancement and inclusion of women in the workplace, in the profession and in the community. We have a long history of hiring and promoting women lawyers, beginning in the 1960s, before many other large firms would do so. Our women lawyers were among the first to be elected to partnership in large law firms. Today, women are represented on the firm’s governing board, the Policy Committee, as well as in many other key leadership positions. Partner Susan J. Kohlmann, for example, serves on the Policy Committee and as managing partner of the New York Office. Partners Katya Jestin and Catherine L. Steege also serve on the Policy Committee.
Jenner & Block was one of the first AmLaw 100 firms to have a female managing partner. Susan C. Levy was the firm’s first woman managing partner, serving from 2008 to 2014. When she took on that role, Jenner & Block joined a select group of only 8% of the top 200 law firms having women managing partners. In June 2013, the ABA Journal recognized Susan's leadership in a profile about women in law firm leadership.
We are proud of the recognition our firm has received for its support of women lawyers and for the impact many of our women lawyers have had on the profession and the community. They include the first woman to head the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association and the first to be awarded the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women’s Alta May Hulett Award. Retired partner Joan Hall was the first woman in Illinois to be inducted as a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, and, in 2013, Partner Terri L. Mascherin was the firm's third woman partner elected to the College.
Our commitment to gender diversity has been recognized over time in a number of ways. In 2002, Jenner & Block became the first Chicago-based law firm to win the National Association of Women Lawyers President’s Award, honoring the firm’s commitment to and long-time support of women in the field of law.
The Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) awarded Jenner & Block its 2020 Gold Standard Certification, making the firm one of 48 honored in the United States and among only 23 that met all six criteria for inclusion. WILEF grants the certification to major firms (more than 300 lawyers) that meet criteria concerning the number of women among equity partners, in firm leadership positions, and in the ranks of their most highly compensated partners.
Jenner & Block was one of the first law firms to publish a firm-sponsored publication on gender diversity. The “Women in Focus” issues of Equal Time, the firm’s diversity newsletter, include stories about the accomplishments of Jenner & Block women lawyers, legal viewpoints from women lawyers or clients and other topics of interest.
Partner Susan J. Kohlmann serves as managing partner of the New York office and chairs the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the Trademark, Advertising and Unfair Competition Practice.