WLI Continues Efforts to Advance and Retain Women Attorneys

WLI Continues Efforts to Advance and Retain Women Attorneys


WilmerHale attorneys gather in the firm’s Boston office for a WLI quarterly lunch.

WilmerHale’s success is measured in many ways, including a commitment to supporting attorneys’ pursuit of their professional goals. For many, the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) is an important source of support.

The WLI was established in 2006 as a result of efforts by our women attorneys to formalize and combine various office-specific groups dedicated to the advancement of women attorneys. Since its inception, the WLI has been instrumental in providing women attorneys with tools and opportunities to promote business development, enhance career development and expand internal and external networks. The WLI also advises the Management Committee on issues related to the advancement and retention of our women lawyers.

Washington DC-based securities associate Jaime Klima says the WLI has been a benefit to her professional experience. “I am impressed by the level of attention that the firm gives to the advancement and retention of women attorneys,” says Klima, who has been an active participant in the WLI’s working group, which plans each year’s agenda. “Firm management enthusiastically supports the mission of the WLI, and we have staff members who work tirelessly to organize a wide range of programs of interest to women attorneys.”

The WLI has hosted programs for women attorneys in all US offices, including panel discussions with firm partners, office-specific networking lunches, and training on topics such as career navigation, communication and negotiation skills, and business development. The WLI has also hosted welcome receptions, lunches and dinners across the firm for summer and fall associates, brought in women clients to speak to women attorneys, participated in national women’s organizations, and sent women lawyers to national conferences relevant to this initiative.

In 2009, the WLI designated office liaisons who will as dedicated contacts for the WLI in each office to whom lawyers can bring their questions, comments and suggestions. Liaisons include partner Lia Der Marderosian and associate Elizabeth Kent Cullen in Boston; partners Jeannette Boot and Elizabeth Derbes, counsel Sarah Pfuhl, and associate Charu Chandrasekhar in New York; partner Simone Yew and counsel Elizabeth Rogers Brannen in Palo Alto; and assistant managing partner Carol Clayton and associate Bronwen Blass in DC.

“Broad participation in the WLI will ensure that our programs are as thoughtful and effective as possible,” says Clayton. “We need and welcome the energy and creativity of our firm’s highly talented women lawyers to make the WLI a success.”

For more information on the WLI, click here, or contact Jennifer Saniuk, Mei-Lyn Kingsley, or Alicia Kappers.