Women in Law Hackathon
The 2016 Women in Law Hackathon — a Shark Tank style pitch competition created by the Diversity Lab in collaboration with Stanford Law School and Bloomberg Law — was one of most innovative and solution-orientated events ever launched with the purpose of advancing women in the legal profession.
The goal of the Hackathon was to generate innovative ideas and solutions that will boost the retention and advancement of experienced women in law firms. 54 high-level partners from law firms across the U.S. worked together (virtually) in teams of six with two expert advisors and a Stanford Law student from January to June 2016. The teams then presented their ideas live to a panel of judges at the pitch event at Stanford Law School June 24, 2016. The top three winning teams granted the prize money donated by Bloomberg Law (1st place $10,000, 2nd place $7,500, 3rd place $5,000) to their choice of a non-profit organization that is advancing women in the legal profession and beyond.
Results & Next Steps
As a next step, Diversity Lab is working with more than 40 law firms as part of the “Hackathon Alliance” to implement the ideas generated through the Hackathon. The ideas being piloted over the next year include:
Mansfield Rule – Inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule, the Mansfield Rule (named for the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the U.S.) measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered women and attorneys of color — at least 30 percent of the candidate pool — for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and lateral positions. For example, if firm management has identified a short list of five candidates for an opening on the executive committee, under the Mansfield Rule Certification guidelines, two of the candidates would need to be women or attorneys of color. Click here to view the press release and learn more.
OnTrack Sponsorship Team & App – OnTrack Sponsorship is a team-based and technology-driven solution that provides support to (1) mid- and senior-level women associates as they advance into partnership; and (2) newly promoted women partners as they develop and leverage new and existing business relationships. It involves a team approach comprised of four constituencies, including high-level partners, law firm management, external coaches, and clients, working in concert to support, guide, and develop women lawyers during the “Five Year Moment” – two to three years prior to partnership and two to three years after. The solution also includes an app and dashboard designed to boost the results of sponsorship by gamifying these activities to encourage Millennials and Xers to take responsibility for their career planning and to create accountability to ensure sponsors follow through with their commitments.
CompFirmation – This data-based compensation tool leverages language optimization and blind review technology to help firms disrupt systemic unconscious bias and ultimately close the law firm pay gap. For phase one of the pilot, Alliance firms will work with the Diversity Lab team and a computational text analysis expert to analyze two to three years of past partner compensation memos to uncover the language nuances and content themes that contribute to high performance.
SMART – SMART (Solutions to Measure, Advance and Reward Talent) is a gender-neutral reporting and evaluation system that promotes the retention and advancement of women by aligning firm values and culture with compensation and promotion. Research shows that women typically do more of the unpaid “housework” (i.e., non-billable/firm value activities) at law firms. The goal of SMART is to realign rewards with value systems, reward non-billable work that adds value to the firm, encourage sharing previously undervalued work, and promote transparency to help disrupt unconscious bias.
Power Development Program – The PDP is an innovative and multidimensional twist on the traditional secondment concept. It immerses two generations of women lawyers – a partner and an associate – with clients for 12 months to learn their business, service their matters, and eventually gain economic credit for the relationship.
The full results, as well as the materials from the Hackathon, are linked below.
Results Report & Brief Summary of All Ideas (PDF Link)
Digital Overview of Winning Ideas (Interactive Link)
Hackathon Presentations & Materials (Document/File Link)
The Hackathon Details
Participants: 54 high-level partners and management committee members from AmLaw 200 firms (see list below)
Pitch Competition Host: Stanford Law School
Pitch Teams: 9 teams of 6 law firm partners, one Stanford law student, and two team advisors (see list of advisors below)
Attendee Benefits: (1) Six months of focused learning, strategizing, and collective wisdom devoted to advancing and retaining talented women in law firms for the Hackathon participants; (2) nine innovative ideas to consider implementing post-Hackathon at the firm; and (3) one-year of access to the Women in Law Innovation Portal, home to an ever-growing library of webinars, data, and research on women lawyers.
Primary Sponsor: Bloomberg Law
Pitch Event Judges
- Tony West, General Counsel, PepsiCo
- Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst
- Lucy Endel Bassli, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft
- Jim Sandman, President, Legal Services Corporation & Former Managing Partner, Arnold & Porter
- Alexis Diaz, Managing Director, G100 & General Counsel, G100 Companies
- Deborah Rhode, Stanford Law School, Center on the Legal Profession
- Miriam Rivera, Venture Capitalist & Former Google VP/Deputy GC
- David Perla, President, Bloomberg Law
- Alan Bryan, Senior Associate General Counsel, Legal Operations – Outside Counsel Management, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
- Katie Larkin-Wong, Immediate Past President, Ms. JD
- Sang Lee, CEO, SJL Shannon
- Ida Abbott, Hastings Women’s Leadership Academy
- Ellen Ostrow, Leadership Coach
- Debbie Epstein Henry, CEO, Bliss Lawyers/Law and ReOrder
- Sandra Yamate, Executive Director, Institute for Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession
- Karen Hester, Executive Director, Center for Legal Inclusiveness
- Pat Gillette, Opt-In Founder/Orrick Senior Counsel
- Linda Chanow, Executive Director, Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas
- Carol Frohlinger, Founder, Negotiating Women
- Manar Morales, CEO, Diversity & Flexibility Alliance
- Jennifer Zimmerman, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley
- Amanda Packel, Deputy Director, Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University &
Co-Director, Stanford Directors’ College
- Lisa Horowitz, Principal, Talent Strategy Group
- Jennifer Waters, Executive Director, National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)
- Mark Beese, Founder, Leadership for Lawyers
- Rosalie Chamberlain, Organizational Inclusion Consultant & Executive Coach
- Avery Blank, Women’s Advocate & Business Strategist
Special thanks to the following individuals for their incredible suggestions, feedback, and contributions as the Hackathon transitioned from concept to fruition.Susan Robinson, Esq., Associate Dean for Career Services, Stanford Law School Lucy Buford Ricca, Executive Director, Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford Law School Allison Neumeister Fry, Director of Alumni Relations, Stanford Law School Michele DeStefano, Founder, LawWithoutWalls & Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School Jennifer Winslow, Managing Director, OnRamp Fellowship Jennifer Queen, J. Queen Consulting & Former Director of Talent at McKenna Long & Baker Botts Lisa Kirby, Director of Research & Knowledge Sharing, Diversity Lab Kate Ryan, Innovative Initiatives Manager, Diversity Lab Scott Westfahl, Faculty Director, Executive Education, Harvard Law School
Also, thank you to the amazing leadership team at Bloomberg Law — David Perla, Melanie Heller, Elizabeth Norwood, and Kevin Colangelo — for agreeing to support the Hackathon by contributing the prize money, which was donated by the winning teams to non-profit organizations that are advancing women.
- The American Lawyer, “Lawyer ‘Hackathon’ Aims to Narrow Big Law Gender Gap”
- BizWomen Journal, “How This Woman Got 54 Law Firms to Talk Diversity”
- Bloomberg BNA, “Will Law Firm Leaders Get Involved in this Diversity Initiative?”
- Law360, “BigLaw Diversity ‘Hackathon’ Hopes for Broader Impact”
- ABA Journal, “$10K Prize Winning Hackathon Team Dreams Up New Compensation System”
- Bloomberg BNA, “5 Big Gender Parity Ideas”
- BizWomen Journal, “The Case for Helping Women in Law”
- The Recorder, “Stanford Hackathon Awards Out-of-the-Box Gender Equality Initiatives”
- Rocket Lawyer, “Hacking the Way to Empower Women in Law”
- Bloomberg BNA, “An NFL Rooney Rule for Law Firms?”
- Thomson Reuters, “Looking at the Women in Law Hackathon & Measuring Success”
- Law Week, “Diversity in Focus at Women’s Hackathon”
- Texas Lawyer, “Hacking a Way to Equity”
- Bloomberg, “Weil Lawyer: Best Ideas for Gender Parity are Simple”
- ABA Journal, “36 Law Firms Join ‘Hackathon Alliance’ to Test Gender Parity Programs”
- Bloomberg, “36 Law Firms Pilot Ideas to Resolve Gender Divide”
Participating Law Firms
(*Phase II Hackathon Alliance Law Firms)
|Akin Gump||Haynes & Boone||Perkins Coie|
|Alston & Bird||Hogan Lovells||Pillsbury|
|Andrews Kurth*||Holland & Hart*||Reed Smith*|
|Arnold & Porter*||Holland & Knight*||Seyfarth Shaw*|
|Baker Botts*||Husch Blackwell||Sidley*|
|Bass Berry*||Jenner & Block*||Simpson Thacher|
|Blank Rome*||Kilpatrick Townsend||Skadden|
|Cooley*||Kirkland & Ellis||Sullivan Cromwell|
|Covington*||Kramer Levin*||Eversheds Sutherland*|
|DLA Piper*||Littler Mendelson*||Vinson & Elkins*|
|Farella Braun||Miller Canfield*||Weil Gotshal*|
|FaegreBD*||Morrison Foerster*||White & Case*|
|Fasken Martineau*||Morgan Lewis*||WilmerHale*|
|Fenwick & West*||Munger Tolles*||Wilson Sonsini|
|Fish & Richardson*||Neal Gerber||Winston & Strawn*|
|Fried Frank||O’Melveny Myers*|