How PR can help.
As a recent American Lawyer article demonstrates, the increased scrutiny firms are experiencing on gender issues means women lawyers and leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to finally get their firms to recognize their value in what they are paid. Firms are finally paying attention, in part because of the new regulations for compensation transparency at UK firms and in part because they genuinely want to make this right once and for all.
What does PR have to do with getting the long overdue raise? A few things:
If you are a woman in senior leadership at a law firm, the spotlight should be on you. That means your firm should be devoting resources to highlighting your accomplishments, positioning you as an expert in your field, and creating opportunities for you to grow. If that’s not happening, you should be asking yourself why not and how this lack of support fits into the broader question of compensation. From a negotiation perspective, whether you plan to stay at your current firm or perhaps make a move, it’s not enough to be really good at your job. You have to document this value through strategic thought leadership, awards, and other public acknowledgments of all that you have achieved.
If you are a law firm leader motivated to address the pay gap in your firm, thinking broadly about how you reward women attorneys in your firm. No question, firms are going to have to pony up actual dollars if they want to keep their superstar women attorneys from leaving, but beyond salary, PR is a powerful form of compensation. By investing in up and coming women, you communicate to those lawyers as well as their colleagues that you value their work and are committed to a forward-thinking culture that wants many voices at the table.