Global Women’s Initiative



Dechert partners Andrea Reid (left), Amy Rudd (center) and Cynthia Williams (right) attend the FT Innovative Lawyers 2016 North America Awards.

At Dechert, we recognize that women in the law confront a unique set of professional challenges and a unique range of opportunities. We empower our women associates and partners to succeed by fostering a supportive environment that is responsive to their needs, as well as by providing opportunities for their development, advancement and leadership within the firm.

Members of our Global Women’s Initiative meet regularly with firm leadership to identify and implement initiatives that promote opportunities for women throughout the firm. Individual offices provide additional levels of formal and informal support for women lawyers.

We actively encourage our women lawyers to participate in women-focused professional groups such as the National Association of Women Lawyers and the Woman Advocate Committee of the American Bar Association.

Dechert’s growing menu of initiatives includes meetings and events for summer associates; formal and informal mentoring; development training; internal and external networking; special interest events; leadership training; and flexible policies shaped by our belief in the importance of achieving work-life balance.

Mentoring, Development and Leadership

Catalyst studies* show that mentoring contributes significantly to a woman’s career success. We supplement formal firmwide and practice group mentoring programs with mentoring opportunities for women that include formal and informal conferences, presentations, meetings and discussions on topics of special interest to women.

Dechert’s core competency training program focuses on helping lawyers develop skills for professional success. We complement this program by offering additional communication, management, leadership and business development training to women.

We are committed to expanding leadership opportunities for women at Dechert. Women partners currently serve on the firm Policy Committee and as practice group leaders, office managing partners, and committee leaders. Women are robustly represented on our key Diversity, Ethics, Hiring, Pro Bono and Strategic Planning committees. We support our women partners with in-house leadership training initiatives.

Networking and Other Events

The firm regularly hosts a number of external and internal networking receptions, seminars, programs, meetings, and social events – such as lunches, museum tours and wine tastings – for women lawyers, summer associates, businesswomen, clients and alumnae. Additionally, we sponsor our women lawyers who wish to attend women’s networking events hosted by outside organizations.


Our women’s initiatives lay the groundwork for results that will make a positive long-term difference to the firm. Women attorneys further firm recruiting efforts by speaking at events organized by law school women’s groups.

Work-Life Balance

At Dechert, we are dedicated to helping our lawyers balance career aspirations and family obligations with flexible, supportive part-time, maternity leave and child care policies.

Women at Dechert receive generous maternity leave benefits, while paid childcare leave is available to all eligible lawyers wishing to care for newborn or adopted children. The firm increased paid leave for U.S. lawyers from 12 weeks to an industry-high 18 weeks, and permits an additional eight weeks of unpaid leave.

We use the same criteria to assess and evaluate full- and part-time employees. All part-time Dechert associates are eligible for partnership. While it may take a part-time lawyer longer to gain the necessary skills for partnership, we give the same consideration to both part- and full-time associates seeking partnership.

Community Support

Dechert provides pro bono legal services to women who cannot afford legal counsel. We represent women in domestic violence cases, assist them with petitions made under the Violence Against Women Act and work on matters referred to us by inMotion (New York), Sanctuary for Families (New York) and the Tahirih Justice Center (Washington, D.C.)

We benefit numerous women by regularly staffing clinics organized by the New York City Family Court Legal Services Project, the City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Clinic for the Homeless (New York), and similar clinics in other cities that counsel women on a range of family law, homelessness and human trafficking issues.

Our London lawyers are leading a group of 37 women lawyers across firms to provide pro bono advice through the Circle and Oxfam on the implementation of the African Union Women Protocol in African countries. The group is currently working with Kenya as a pilot and expects to expand the program to all other 45 signatories of the Maputo Protocol.

We encourage all members of our firm to participate in community service projects. Many of our lawyers give generously of their time, energy, and financial support to causes that support and benefit women.

* The Glass Ceiling 2000: The History, Progress and Strategies for Advancing Women. Catalyst, 2000. Making Mentoring Work – Business Case Framework. Catalyst, 2010.

Inspiring Girls International

Dechert is a gold sponsor for Inspiring Girls International, a charity dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls around the world by connecting them with female role models. The organization, founded by Dechert partner Miriam Gonzalez, aims to expose young girls (10-15 years old) to a full variety of jobs, roles and options for their professional lives as well as to inspire them to aim high. Since its inception in the UK in 2014, the initiative recruited more than 25,000 female volunteers, reached out to more than 250,000 school girls, and held more than 50 high profile events across the country. Most recently, the charity built upon its popular #RedrawtheBalance campaign by launching a video highlighting gender bias in the animation industry on the eve of International Women’s Day in March 2017. Inspiring Girls has continued to expand its efforts by opening branches in Italy, Spain, Serbia and Zambia, with plans to launch in other countries such as Chile, Colombia, Australia and India later in 2017.

Dechert provides office space for the organization’s headquarters in London as well as pro bono legal advice.

To learn more about our Global Women’s Initiative, please contact:

Abbi Cohen, Partner
Co-Chair, Global Women’s Initiative
+1 215 994 2352

Miriam Gonzalez, Partner
Co-Chair, Global Women’s Initiative
+44 20 7184 7892

Learn more about diversity at Dechert.