BCLP teams up with clients to launch leadership programme for women lawyers

Project with companies including BT and Credit Agricole focuses on communications skills
Head shots of Lisa Mayhew and Daisy Reeves

Lisa Mayhew (left) and Daisy Reeves

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has teamed up with in-house legal teams from companies including BT, Credit Agricole and National Grid to launch a leadership scheme for senior women lawyers.

The 12-week programme — BCLP Podium — aims to develop the next generation of leaders at the firm and within participating legal teams by improving the participants’ communication skills. 

It will pair BCLP lawyers with clients globally in small groups to help them master the most impactful aspects of communications. Developed and delivered in partnership with communications agency Ginger, the training and coaching modules focus on harnessing the power of storytelling and thought leadership for lawyers in global organisations.

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Joining the first class of US and European-based participants will be 12 women partners from BCLP and 12 female lawyers from BT, Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, Emerson and National Grid.

The transatlantic initiative was launched in the firm’s London and New York offices this week and will culminate with a showcase presentation in May when the participants will deliver a 10-minute inspirational talk to a live audience.

The goal is for participants to be better equipped to present at office-wide town hall meetings and deliver effective client pitches. One longer-term aim of the initiative is to enable the firm to promote more female partners to full equity after utilising such skill sets.

BCLP co-chair Lisa Mayhew said: “We were determined to do something different this year – action and concrete intervention. Not just supportive words. Making concrete investments in the next generation of female leaders is paramount to our profession, and we’re proud to be partnering with our clients around the globe on this important journey.” 

The Women and Diversity in Law Awards, which are hosted by GLP, take place on 21 March in London

Mayhew became co-chair of BCLP with Therese Pritchard in April 2018. She was re-appointed in 2020, previously serving as the firm’s managing partner, and led the employment and pensions teams. 

“We are delighted to collaborate with our clients and colleagues to help overcome the barriers that often stand in the way of true inclusion and equity,” said Daisy Reeves, BCLP’s global inclusion and diversity client relationship partner. 

“BCLP Podium sets us on our way, where we can share the true transformative power of communications with a group of trailblazing future women leaders in the industry.”

BCLP Podium is not the only initiative of this type. Another example is the e-mentoring programme Networking Nuance, which was launched in November 2022 to increase the number of female rainmakers within business law firms. The programme is supported by 41 leading law firms.

BCLP Podium, however, is believed to be the first time a law firm has directly partnered with clients at a senior level to develop broader communications skills distinct from the advocacy practised by dispute lawyers.  

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