New mentoring programme aims to supercharge senior leadership skills for women lawyers

Online programme launched by duo of women partners attracts interest from leading City firms to help empower the next generation of women lawyers

Kate McMahon Image courtesy of Edmonds Marshall McMahon

Two founding partners of specialist London disputes boutique Edmonds Marshall McMahon have launched a project to help women legal professionals achieve greater business development results and career progression. 

The project, called Networking Nuance, has been set up by Kate McMahon and Tamlyn Edmonds specifically to address the under representation of women at the top of the profession. It follows a report published by the UK Government last year that found while the overall number of lawyers was fairly evenly split in terms of gender just 13.8% of female solicitors were partners compared to 31% of men. 

The programme offers nine-week courses that mix weekly online content with Q&A sessions with senior women from the profession and networking opportunities to enable participants to build their professional networks. 

McMahon said the project sprang from over a decade of management experience, in which she and Edmonds noticed that women tend to prioritise their legal work at the expense of building their networks. 

Stressing the importance of rainmakers, she said: "The art of bringing in business to a firm is not discussed nearly enough among women, yet this is of great significance considering women can progress through the ranks faster if they do generate work." 

A lack of business development training and practical advice, she added, was one factor that explained the low numbers of female partners, which could be helped by offering practical solutions.

"We, along with our experts who are leaders in their fields, seek to demystify the process. We have deliberately selected experts who have different styles and paths to success. We are committed to helping women find their style and, after that, to flourish," she added. 

The programme has been endorsed by leading lawyers including Pallas Partners’ Natasha Harrison.

"When I was approached to participate, I said ‘Yes’ immediately,” Harrison said. “Everything has been carefully curated to propel women forward in their rainmaking journey, from the impressive women who have spoken so openly about their experiences to the flexible learning structure perfectly created for busy female lawyers." 

Renauld Clarke, Brown Rudnick's director of DEI, said the initiative “would enhance our current efforts by allowing our women lawyers direct mentorship from successful business generators who've overcome many of the same obstacles they may now face”.

Writing on LinkedIn, Nallini Puri, Cleary Gottlieb M&A partner and one of the programme’s experts, said it was “targeted at female lawyers to tell them all they needed to know about networking, so they didn't have to wonder if there were secret business development rules and tricks of the trade”.  

Another of the experts, Hogan Lovells partner Akima Paul Lambert, is also a judge for the Global Legal Post's inaugural Women and Diversity in Law Awards, which will take place next March. 

“I used to hate networking events when I was a junior lawyer," said Paul Lambert, but added she was proud to support the programme "based on the collective experience of women at all levels, including a few who are the undisputed baddest in the game”.

The shortlist for the inaugural Women and Diversity in Law Awards, which are hosted by The Global Legal Post, will be published on 4 January and the ceremony will be on Tuesday 21 March. Click here for more details


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