Bright Spot: Winston & Strawn’s Gender-Neutral Parental Leave Policy
In 2019, we will be sharing diversity and flexibility Bright Spots – those small or large successes that impact your organization in a positive way. We believe that important diversity and flexibility initiatives can truly impact your organization’s bottom line, recruitment and retention capabilities and employee satisfaction.
One of international law firm Winston & Strawn’s Bright Spots is its Gender-Neutral Parental Leave Policy. After working with the Alliance to clearly identify employee needs and firm goals, Winston & Strawn was able to expand its parental leave policy to better support the demands of today’s families. Implemented in 2016, the policy allows 20 weeks of paid leave for attorneys regardless of gender to care for and bond with a new baby or child. Additionally, parents are not required to designate themselves as “primary” or “secondary” caregivers. The parental leave can be taken at one time or in two increments within a year of the birth or adoption of a child.
Winston also developed a Parental Leave Transition Support Program that includes a Parental Leave Liaison, an external, confidential career coach, and “ramp down” and “ramp up” periods during which billable hours are adjusted to aid in the transition for new parents. The policy applies to all US-based Associates and Of Counsel attorneys. Improvements also were made to the policies for practice attorneys and staff.
By removing the primary and secondary caregiver designations, Winston & Strawn has been able to shift the focus of parental leave from one that focuses on just women to one that focuses on all parents. Since the implementation of the policy, the firm has seen a consistent year-over-year increase in the percentage of men taking parental leave,
Bright Spot: Davis Wright Tremaine’s Key Gender Equity Efforts
In an effort to inform and inspire our members and friends, we often share diversity and flexibility Bright Spots – those small or large successes that impact an organization in a positive way. We believe that important diversity and flexibility initiatives can truly impact your organization’s bottom line, recruitment and retention capabilities and employee satisfaction.
Davis Wright Tremaine’s Key Gender Equity Efforts
Davis Wright Tremaine is one of only four law firms that has received our “Tipping the Scales” honor for achieving gender parity in its new partner class for four consecutive years. The firm has been able to maintain this gender parity due in part to the high level of importance placed on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the firm. Two of Davis Wright Tremaine’s unique diversity Bright Spots are explained below.
Importance of DEI in firm Structure
Davis Wright Tremaine has signaled its commitment to DEI by officially embedding DEI into the main foundations of the firm’s new Strategic Plan. Rather than being seen as an independent initiative, diversity, equity and inclusion are key factors in all decision-making from evaluations, admissions and promotions to client engagement and pitches. Davis Wright Tremaine’s DEI strategies are embedded across the firm, within practice groups, committees and firm leadership, allowing all leaders to recognize the importance of diversity, including gender parity, at all levels. This commitment to DEI has enabled DWT to monitor its pipeline and ensure that women are being hired, retained and promoted.
Acknowledging that bias often goes undetected and uninterrupted during the promotion process, Davis Wright Tremaine has instituted a program where professionals within the firm are trained to interrupt bias throughout the partnership admissions process.