Global Elite Thought Leader Nadège Nguyen speaks to WWL about challenges currently facing female lawyers and the role of law firm management in promoting gender equality in the workplace.
In my view, leading an M&A transaction allows you to apply a broad range of legal expertise (competition, employment law and tax) across a large number of economic sectors. I also like the negotiation aspects of all M&A deals.
The first challenge for a woman is to acknowledge that she has the ability, expertise and ambition to become a partner, and then to find the right sponsor(s) within the firm – since men will tend to promote men.
There should be a strong message from the management that promotes gender equality, as well as follow-up actions to ensure that each practice group will identify talent and promote female lawyers at a very early stage, so that we can retain them and provide mentoring if need be. The governance of firms should also take into account more gender diversity in the various committees.
The most efficient strategy is to convince the partnership that gender diversity has become a business issue, and that firms who do not tackle this matter will lose clients and business.
Knowing what your professional ambitions are from the start of your career; building relationships with people who can help and assist you during your career path, or even act as mentors/sponsors; and self-marketing – expressing what you want and what you have achieved so far.