The advancement of women in the legal profession was discussed in a conference at Pinheiro Neto Advogados’ São Paulo office this week.
 
Some 150 attendees, comprising high-ranking female lawyers, were present at the event which was jointly hosted by local firms Pinheiro Neto, Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados, Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados, TozziniFreire Advogados and Demarest & Almeida Abogados, as well as US firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and the Cyrus Vance Center, a branch of the New York City bar association that promotes pro bono work and social responsibility.
 
Pinheiro Neto partner Daniela P Anversa Sampaio Doria saw the meeting as a chance to kick off discussions about issues that many women lawyers silently question, saying, “It is always good to hear and learn from colleagues how they have been dealing with these issues.”
 
Referring to the New York City Bar’s "Report on Best Practices for the Hiring, Training, Retention and Advancement of Women Attorneys," Carrie Cohen, the immediate past chair of the NY City Bar''s Committee on Women in the Profession, pointed out that the report was a response to the fact that, after over 20 years of having roughly the same number of men and women entering the legal profession in the US, women were still seriously underrepresented in the senior ranks.
 
Simpson Thacher partner Marissa Wesely explained that in her experience, it isn’t enough for senior management to accept that time alone will not change things.
 
Their accepting that efforts need to be made to ensure women reach leadership positions in roughly equal numbers as men, she argued, “may not be half the battle, but it is probably 30 per cent of it."
 
Her suggestion for additional strategies to combat inequality included mentoring from senior figures, and programmes to facilitate networking, foster professional development and promote greater workplace flexibility.
 
In the second part of the debate Machado Meyer, partner Raquel Cristina Ribeiro Novais, TozziniFreire partner Moira Huggard-Caine and Mattos Filho  partner Glaucia Maria Lauletta Frascino discussed what companies look for when hiring female professionals, what female professionals expect when they''re hired, and what the main challenges for retaining women.
 
Pinheiro Neto partner Esther Donio B Nunes, who chaired the discussion, says, “I''m thrilled with the outcome of this event, not only the number of people that showed up, but also the positions they represent in the Brazilian legal market. It is evident that although the discussions we had here today are extremely relevant, we have a long road ahead of us."
 
(LATINLAWYER 16.04.2009)
 
(Notícia na Íntegra)