Women’s Initiatives Committee
The Women’s Initiatives Committee seeks to provide leadership on Cahill’s commitment to gender equality. The Committee focuses on the firm's efforts to recruit, retain, develop and mentor women lawyers and promote women as leaders within the firm and the broader legal community. The Committee consists of partners and associates, including partners who serve on various other committees of the firm, including the Executive Committee. The Committee coordinates Cahill’s women’s initiatives, which include speaker and networking events, professional development and mentoring, and community outreach, and is a platform for women lawyers to discuss and address areas of particular concern or interest to women lawyers.
Cahill Women in Firm Leadership
In 2015, Cahill ranked among the top 20% of AmLaw100 firms for percentage of equity women partners. Women partners currently serve as chairs or co-chairs of the following firm Committees: Associate Liaison, Business Development, Professional Development, and Diversity and Inclusion Committees. A co-administrative partner of the firm and the managing partner of our Washington, D.C. office are women.
In 2014, The Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) recognized Cahill as one of its Gold Standard Firms. The WILEF Gold Standard Certification emphasizes the leadership roles achieved by equity women partners, rather than the policies or practices of the firm or the overall number or percentage of women in the partnership. To achieve the Gold Standard certification, firms must demonstrate that women represent a meaningful percentage of their equity partners, of their highest leadership positions, of their governance and compensation committees, and of their most highly compensated partners.
Speaker, Networking, and Support Events
The Women’s Initiatives Committee, together with The Women Lawyers of Cahill affinity group, hosts events throughout the year to provide our women lawyers with new circles of collaboration, support, mentoring, and networking. Representative events include the following:
- Annual Welcome Luncheon – Typically held in the fall to welcome our new women attorneys, the welcome luncheon is a celebration of women at Cahill. Past guest speakers have included leaders of the bar, bench and academia, such as Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District of New York and acclaimed law professor Paula Franzese (both Cahill alumnae), as well as leaders in the business community, such as Stacey Friedman, currently the General Counsel of JPMorgan Chase.
- The Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture on Women and the Law – The Women Lawyers of Cahill affinity group has sponsored outings to attend this lecture series at the New York City Bar Association.
- Reception for Women Summer Associates – Women summer associates are given a special welcome at this annual event in their honor.
- Networking Cocktail Receptions – Women attorneys are invited to cocktail receptions and dinners based upon practice areas to promote communication, support, and networking.
- Working Parents Roundtable – Quarterly lunches are held for working parents, sometimes with guest speakers, to discuss matters of interest to working parents, such as successful parenting tips, work-life balance strategies, and childcare.
Cahill recognizes the challenges faced by attorneys in seeking a work-life balance. This is especially true for lawyers attempting to balance work and family demands. Cahill’s culture has always been one that values substance over “make work” or “face time”. The firm believes that having a family-friendly environment is not just a women’s issue. Some selected policies and programs offered by the firm to help all of our lawyers balance their professional and personal needs include the following:
- State-of-the-art leave polices for new parents: 18 weeks of paid primary caregiver leave and 4 weeks of secondary caregiver leave.
- Flexible work policy. The firm makes flexible work options that recognize the needs of a growing family available to lawyers returning from parental leave to facilitate the transition back to work. Lawyers returning from primary or secondary caregiver leave may opt to work remotely, work on a reduced hours schedule, or request extended unpaid leave from the firm. Additionally, to support lawyers who want to strike a different balance in their lives, whether on account of family or other circumstances, alternative work arrangements outside of these options will be considered by the firm on a case-by-case basis.
- The firm offers back-up emergency child care at several locations, including within one block from the New York office, and also offers at-home options.
- We offer a “Mothers’ Room” for nursing mothers.
In 2015, the Yale Law Women selected Cahill as a Gender Equality Honoree in its annual Top Ten Family Friendly Firms Survey.
Support for Women’s Causes
The firm, and its partners and employees individually, support and participate in a wide variety of local and national organizations that focus on women’s concerns. Examples of organizations and events that Cahill lawyers have provided pro bono and/or financial support include the following:
- Association of Black Women Attorneys
- DirectWomen Board Institute
- The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)
- National Women’s Law Center
- The New York Asian Women’s Center
- The New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF)
- Girls Inc. of New York City
- Sanctuary for Families
- Women's Initiative for Self Employment
Sanctuary for Families
Sanctuary for Families’ Legal Center is one of the largest providers of free legal services exclusively for victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in the United States. Sanctuary empowers adults and children to move from fear and abuse to safety and stability, transforming lives through a comprehensive range of services including clinical, legal, shelter, children's and economic empowerment services. Cahill works with Sanctuary to assist clients in claiming control of their lives and ending all forms of gender-based violence. Over the years, Cahill lawyers have provided hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services to Sanctuary’s clients, and in 2016 the firm and a group of our lawyers received the Above & Beyond award in recognition of their efforts in recognition of their outstanding pro bono representation and advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking. Cahill lawyers also perform non-legal volunteer services for Sanctuary, including through its economic empowerment program, for which Cahill lawyers do mock interviews and math tutoring to help survivors achieve economic independence, and participation in its Adopt-a-Family holiday gift program.