The Leadership Award recognizes legal employers in Minnesota that strive to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ. FaegreBD was recognized for its recruitment and hiring of women attorneys, strong representation of women at all career levels, inclusive approach to selection of leaders, career path and work-life flexibility, and professional development support for women.
When Faegre & Benson and Baker & Daniels merged to become Faegre Baker Daniels on Jan. 1, 2012, the firm undertook a review and reinvention of policies and practices with a goal of increasing diversity and inclusion. Today, the firm's Women's Forum for Achievement provides a dynamic platform for women lawyers to build relationships, create business opportunities, increase professional advancement, develop leadership skills and achieve long-term success. FaegreBD's policies to promote work-life flexibility include "Full-Flex," reduced-time and remote work options; generous maternity and paternity leave options with up to a year of on- and off-ramping to assist with transitions; and backup child care options.
"The success and advancement of our women lawyers have not occurred by accident," said Kathy Noecker, a partner and member of FaegreBD's executive committee, while accepting the award. "We have taken an in-depth look at all processes and policies; governance structures; recruitment and retention practices; assignment, evaluation and compensation systems and criteria – all of which have a material impact on our culture and the experience of our professionals. While this has been an enormous undertaking, and we are still working through implementation in a number of areas, we now have in place a very strong foundation."
Minnesota Women Lawyers is an association of more than 1,200 attorneys, judges, law students, legal employers and others who are dedicated to advancing the success of women attorneys and striving for a just society. The Leadership Award was presented at MWL's annual meeting.