Women in Law – MVS Leads the Way!March 8, 2024

March 8th is International Women’s Day. This day is meant to both celebrate women’s achievements while raising awareness about challenges faced by women and taking action to drive gender parity. At McKee Voorhees and Sease (MVS) we are always eager to recognize the achievements of women – the inventors and creators we proudly represent, the pioneers who lead the way before us, as well as the talented women in practice at our firm.

With a legal career spent exclusively in a law firm I am keen to stay attuned to trends in private practice. Diversity among attorneys has long been a stated priority. Gender diversity and gender parity are similarly not new topics. These goals have seemingly been slower to advance within the field of Intellectual Property (IP) law and law firms as the field has long been male dominated to a degree far exceeding other practices of law. This is largely a result of the STEM-based undergraduate or graduate degree requirements to become a patent attorney.

Interestingly, this reality is not one that MVS experiences as our firm proudly deviates from these nationwide statistics. During my tenure with MVS I have been trained by skilled female attorneys, lead for a majority of the time by a female Managing Partner, recently seen females exceed male colleagues as Practice Group Chairs, as well as currently sit at “the table” with equal representation of female partners. Although this feels normal to me, in celebration of International Women’s Day this is a great opportunity to do just that – celebrate these accomplishments.

  • 50% of MVS partners are women, compared to 27% nationally and 19% in private practice IP firms.*
  • 45% of total attorneys in the firm are women compared to 37.7% nationally and 25% nationally in IP firms.*
  • 2 of 3 elected Management Committee Members are female.
  • Long-tenured, former female Management Partner.
  • 5 women Practice Group Chairs or Co-Chairs at present in the firm.

Despite these impressive accomplishments at our firm, there remains work to be done in all facets of the legal profession. With a dual purpose of International Women’s Day being to take action to drive gender parity, I encourage you to review an e-book published a few years back by the American Bar Association through the work of the Commission of Women in the Profession. This resource stuck with me in a significant way. The e-book is titled “Walking Out the Door: The Facts, Figures, And Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice.” I find myself revisiting this work at least a few times a year. Why? Because the goals set by the authors are important ones: to achieve gender parity in law firm leadership, equity partnerships, and compensation, and to end disproportionate rates of attrition of women from law firms.

A few data points from the report that resonate and are useful as a barometer in efforts to advocate for women staying and advancing in private practice include:

  • Although women and men report similar levels of satisfaction in their work and careers, there remains a disproportionate level of satisfaction for recognition received for such work.
  • There remains a disproportionate challenge for equal access to the experiences that are building blocks for success.
  • The balance of family and household responsibilities with professional obligations at a firm is a challenge.

What can be done? What is MVS doing? First and foremost, valuing the benefits of diversity and gender parity is a critical step. This corresponds with recognizing that firms are more productive and have improved work cultures when policies promoting equal advancement of women are prioritized. At MVS we are proud of our entire firm and team of professionals of all genders. On this International Women’s Day we are exceptionally proud of our women leaders and continue our commitment of leadership within the IP community to advance the roles of women. We hope you will join us in this celebration as well as the continued effort for improvement.

*Law360 Glass Ceiling Report: What You Need To Know, Sept. 13, 2021

Jill N. Link, Pharm.D. is a Patent Attorney and Partner at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC in the Chemical and Biotechnology Practice Group. She is also Chair of the Licensing Practice Group. For additional information please visit www.ipmvs.com or contact Jill directly via email at jill.link@ipmvs.com.

The opinions expressed are those of the authors on the date noted above and do not necessarily reflect the views of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC, any other of its lawyers, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This post is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed.

← Return to Filewrapper

Stay in Touch

Receive the latest news and updates from us and our attorneys.

Sign Up