Women's Initiative Network

  • Women's Initiative Network of Reed Smith
  • Named Among "Best Firms for Women"
  • Women in Law Empowerment Forum - Gold Standard Certification 2014

The Women’s Initiative Network of Reed Smith (“WINRS”) is a growing global community of lawyers that operates as a “Virtual Practice Group” dedicated to further enhancing our workplace to more effectively develop, reward, engage, and attract women lawyers. The primary objective of WINRS is to help our women develop to their fullest potential, and position them appropriately for advancement and success. In the legal profession, women comprise, on national average (U.S.), only 17.3 percent of partners. The good news is that this percentage is up from 15.6 percent in 2000. The even better news is that Reed Smith is significantly higher than the national average. Our female partners currently comprise 21 percent of the partnership. However, we think we can even surpass that.

Our WINRS Working Groups are actively engaged in building a platform for success by focusing on the following elements and constituencies:

  • Business Development
  • Pipeliners (Senior Associates - our pipeline for Partnership)
  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • Recruiting
  • Work/Life Balance

We are accomplishing our mission through education, training, mentoring and networking opportunities. On any given day, around the globe and around the clock, you are likely to find a multitude of WINRS programs taking place: in our offices, in our clients’ offices, with our PartneRS, and in our communities.

For the fourth year in a row, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) has named Reed Smith LLP for its select "Gold Standard Certification."

WILEF 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 receive WILEF’s Gold Standard Certification, firms had to meet at least three of six criteria, demonstrating their commitment to women’s career advancement. Reed Smith is one of only two firms to have met the six criteria for Gold Standard Certification every year since inception:

  • Women account for at least 20% of equity partners.
  • Women represent at least 10% of firm chairs and office managing partners.
  • Women make up at least 20% of the firm’s primary governance committee.
  • Women represent 20% or more of the firm’s compensation committee.
  • Women make up at least 25% of practice group leaders or department heads.
  • Women represent at least 10% of the top half of the most highly compensated partners.

Reed Smith’s 729 female lawyers now account for approximately 40 percent of all lawyers at the firm, as well as more than 21 percent of the total partnership, nearly 45 percent of all counsel, and more than 55 percent of all associates. Women now also account for more than 22 percent of all leadership positions at Reed Smith, and 38 percent of the firm’s Compensation and Promotion Committee.

Gender Balancing: It’s Good Business

In 2013 Reed Smith launched a new gender diversity report in partnership with Winmark, which revealed how international companies can get the best return from investment in their gender balancing programmes.

The "Gender Balancing: It's Good Business" report surveyed a range of FTSE100, FTSE250 and leading firms to determine UK businesses’ level of commitment to gender diversity and practical initiatives.

The report points to five recommended steps to take Gender Diversity from rhetoric to reality:

  1. Establish a clear business case
  2. Obtain real leadership commitment
  3. Focus programmes on leaders and future leaders (not just women)
  4. Set incentives for compliance
  5. Communicate successes and brainstorm failures to find improvements

Please find the full report here.