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Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, a national consulting firm advising attorneys and legal employers on work/life balance, have named Jenner & Block a 2008 Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers Best Law Firm for Women. The Firm was one of 50 law firms recognized for having "redefined the standards of success by creating a workplace that encourages the retention and advancement of women."
"Jenner & Block has a rich history of women attorneys demonstrating consistent exceptional service to their clients as well as leadership in the Firm, in the legal profession, and in our community," said Jenner & Block Managing Partner Susan C. Levy. "We’re very proud to have received this prestigious recognition."
Jenner & Block was selected as one of the 2008 Best Law Firms for Women based on responses to an application measuring areas such as workforce profile, family-friendly benefits and policies, flexibility, leadership, compensation, advancement and retention of women.
"Today nearly half of law school graduates are women. Law firms need to make a fundamental shift in their policies by instituting female and family-friendly benefits as Jenner & Block has done," said Carol Evans, CEO of Working Mother Media. "We hope that by recognizing Jenner & Block, who has already moved the needle, a paradigm shift will follow."
Among the programs and polices that helped the Firm earn this year’s recognition was Jenner & Block’s active Women’s Forum affinity group. The Forum was created to foster opportunities for professional, social and personal growth for all of the women attorneys, communicate the Firm’s strong commitment to the success of its women attorneys and enhance the visibility and recognition of Jenner & Block’s leadership in support of women in the legal profession.
One of the most successful programs implemented in the last year by the Women’s Forum was the "Making Connections" informal networking program. Co-chaired by Shyni R. Varghese and Sandi J. Toll, the program is designed to provide a casual and intimate opportunity for women attorneys to socialize and interact with each other in a variety of settings.
In addition, Jenner & Block was recognized by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers for its commitment to reduced hour programs for lawyers, and for its firmwide mentoring program for first, second and third year associates that pairs first year associates with senior associates and second and third year associates with partners. The Firm also provides 18 weeks of paid maternity leave as well as emergency day-care facilities to all lawyers.
Jenner & Block Partner E. Lynn Grayson, Chair of the Firm’s Women’s Forum, noted that the first woman to head the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, the first woman to be inducted as an Illinois Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and the first woman to be awarded the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women’s Alta May Hulett Award were all Jenner & Block attorneys.
Among the Firm’s female partners are the Second Vice President of the Chicago Bar Association, Terri L. Mascherin, the former president of the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia, Lorelie S. Masters, and the former Co-Chair of the New York City Bar’s Committee to Enhance Diversity, Susan J. Kohlmann.
"Our firm has a long history of being a great place for women attorneys to build their careers and to help foster the careers of others through leadership in the national and local organized bar," said Ms. Grayson.
Jenner & Block was one of the original signatories to the Chicago Bar Association’s "Call to Action," a program which challenges Chicago law firms to increase the number of female partners and to appoint more women to all leadership positions by the end of each year.
"We hope other law firms will take notice of Jenner & Block’s commitment to change and competition will drive more creative ways to enhance work/life balance and improve the status of women in the profession," said Deborah Epstein Henry, Founder and President of Flex-Time Lawyers LLC.