The Catalyst by linzhengnd


									December 2009                                                                                                                     Vol. 15, No. 2

                                                          ILLINOIS STATE BAR ASSOCIATION

                                                        The Catalyst
                                      The newsletter of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law

Chambers and partners: Importance of third-party recognition
By E. Lynn Grayson1

           ithin the last decade, third-party      upon our evaluation of 2008 Chambers’ data          Through our communications with
           recognition has emerged as a criti-     related to women lawyers, we believe the an-     Chambers, we gained the following insights
           cal element impacting a lawyer’s        swer likely is no. For example, of the top Am    regarding the research process:
perceived success including his or her pro-        Law 25 law firms, the overall average of part-
                                                                                                    • Role of Law Firms. Law firms play an im-
fessional reputation, career advancement           ners listed in Chambers is 26 percent, with a
                                                                                                      portant role in the information developed
and perhaps more important, business de-           range from 5 percent to 48 percent depend-
                                                                                                      and submitted to Chambers. Moreover,
velopment opportunities. While third-party         ing upon the firm. Of those numbers, the
                                                                                                      law firms manage these submissions in
recognition comes in many forms, the collec-       overall average percentage of partners listed
                                                                                                      various ways with some practices more
tive result of such accolades is confirmation      in Chambers who are female is 14 percent.
                                                                                                      helpful in advancing women and other
of a lawyer’s legal talent as well as an overall   As to the litigation categories, the average
                                                                                                      diverse attorneys than others.
enhanced professional standing within his          of women lawyers listed is 1 percent with a
or her area of expertise. Whether recogni-         number of firms having no women partners         • Practice Group Focus. Chambers’ re-
tion arises from The Best Lawyers in Ameri-        so recognized. The recently released 2009          search appears directed to practice
ca, Legal 500, Super Lawyers, Law Dragon,          data is similar.                                   groups versus individual attorneys. This
Chambers and Partners or another source,               Challenges faced by accomplished wom-          provides an opportunity for law firms to
the message communicated through this              en lawyers in obtaining such recognition,          make sure Chambers’ submissions high-
achievement to the legal community, clients        coupled with the above statistics, prompted        light the work led by diverse attorneys.
and the public at large is clear—this lawyer       a coalition of women’s bar associations to       • Client Feedback. If you recommend a
is a well regarded, highly qualified attorney      come together to assess how best we might          client as a possible reference, you need
with a proven track record of success.             promote more women lawyers listed in               to communicate with clients and advise
    While opinions differ as to the deference      the legal guide, Chambers USA. This initia-        them of the critical importance of com-
to be accorded recognition from varying            tive was led by the: National Conference of        municating with Chambers (including
sources, one of the most highly sought after       Women’s Bar Associations; ABA Commission           the return of phone calls to Chambers’ re-
and prized third-party endorsements is rec-        on Women; National Association of Women            search assistants) and providing positive
ognition by Chambers and Partners. The le-         Lawyers; Women’s Bar Association of the Dis-       client feedback.
gal guide, Chambers USA, is published yearly       trict of Columbia; Chicago Bar Association
by Chambers and Partners and is considered         Alliance for Women; and, the Chicago Coali-      • Individual Applications. We need to
a premier guide to the legal profession. Each      tion of Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms. This     continue to emphasize the importance of
year Chambers conducts in-depth research           working group communicated with Cham-              women attorneys completing individual
and interviews with clients and attorneys          bers’ leadership to: identify our concerns         applications and taking the initiative to
throughout the United States to identify top       over the relatively small number of women          ensure the same are incorporated into a
lawyers in various practice areas. Inclusion in    lawyers so recognized; better understand           law firm’s submission.
Chambers’ guide is based on the results of         the research process and the overall proto-      • Diversity Considerations. Chambers
this research process and findings and can-        col followed for identification of a lawyer in     confirms that its research of attorneys
not be initiated or purchased by a firm or         Chambers USA; and, establish a dialogue            is gender and color blind and that indi-
lawyer.                                            with Chambers for continuing communica-            vidual attorney recognition results from a
    A critical examination of the statistical      tion on this important initiative. Chambers’       combination of client recommendations,
data related to Chambers’ recognition raises       leadership has been open and responsive in         peer comments and feedback, overall so-
the question—are all of the best lawyers re-       addressing issues identified by this working       phistication of the practice area coupled
ceiving the recognition they deserve? Based        group.                                             with the summary materials submitted
The Catalyst |        December 2009, Vol. 15, No. 2

   by law firms. It is essential that law firm        and Partners’ Recommendations and Best        the number of successful women attorneys
   submissions reflect the achievements of            Practices for Chambers USA 2010 Applica-      receiving the recognition they deserve in
   all attorneys.                                     tion—information provided by Chambers’        Chambers USA 2010. We will continue to
                                                      leadership; and, 2) Additional Guidance and   monitor the progress of women lawyers rec-
   The working group developed a two
                                                      Insights for Women Attorneys Applying for     ognized by Chambers and we hope these
prong approach moving forward: raise
                                                      Chambers USA 2010—insights gained from        joint efforts will result in a more positive out-
awareness among women attorneys of
                                                      2009 communications with Chambers. These      come. ■
the importance of submitting materials to
                                                      documents are available on the Web sites of   __________
Chambers and working with their law firms
                                                      many women’s bar associations or may be           1. E. Lynn Grayson is a Partner at Jenner & Block
to do so; and, continue to monitor the prog-
                                                      obtained upon request by contacting Lynn      in Chicago. She is the past Chair of the ISBA Wom-
ress of women recognized by Chambers.                                                               en and the Law Committee and is participating in
                                                      Grayson at
Among other efforts, the working group                                                              the working group discussed above. She may be
                                                         The collective objective of this working   reached at
prepared and distributed to its memberships
                                                      group is to see material improvement in
two new guidance documents: 1) Chambers

                                               REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE
                                                ILLINOIS STATE BAR ASSOCIATION’S
                                                    THE CATALYST NEWSLETTER,
                                                    VOL. 15 #2, DECEMBER 2009.
                                          COPYRIGHT BY THE ILLINOIS STATE BAR ASSOCIATION.


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