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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, October 18, 2019

Women Inc. includes local firms among top firms for women




Women Inc. Magazine has named two law firms with offices in Chattanooga among its “Top 100 Law Firms for Women.” The list celebrates female leadership and representation in the legal industry.

The magazine recognized Baker Donelson and Husch Blackwell for demonstrating a commitment to female representation, leadership and promotion.

Chattanooga attorney Susan Rich, Baker Donelson’s first woman shareholder, says she’s proud of the work Baker Donelson does to ensure the success of its female attorneys.

“Earlier in my career, I was often the only female lawyer at the firms where I practiced, so I’ve seen firsthand the challenges women can face in our profession,” she explains.

“Over the years, I’ve seen tremendous progress in the legal industry, not just in Chattanooga but across the country. There’s more work to be done, but the progress we’ve seen is largely due to programs that are focused on identifying the challenges women face and providing real solutions.”

Rich has achieved a number of firsts as a woman in the legal profession. She was Baker Donelson’s first woman shareholder, the first female the firm made an office managing shareholder and the first woman appointed to the firm’s board of directors.

In addition, Baker Donelson presents an annual award named after Rich to someone in the firm who demonstrates excellence in the promotion of women in the law.

Rich is also on the advisory board of Baker Donelson’s Women’s Initiative, which has implemented numerous programs designed to create an environment where female attorneys thrive, including an industry-leading parental leave policy, a firmwide mentoring program for women, a program that awards business development grants to women attorneys and a training program designed to help women attorneys achieve equity shareholder status.

Baker Donelson has earned multiple recognitions as an exceptional workplace for women, including being named in Working Mother’s annual “Best Law Firms for Women” list for three consecutive years, being ranked on Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Workplaces for Women” and being recognized nationally in diversity for women in Vault, Inc.’s “Best Law Firms for Diversity.”

Recently, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum certified Baker Donelson as a Gold Standard Firm for the fifth consecutive year.

Samantha Lunn, a partner in Husch Blackwell’s Chattanooga office, says she’s pleased the firm is being recognized for its efforts to provide an inclusive and supportive work environment for all its professionals, including women.

“The best recognition of these efforts in Chattanooga is the amazing women who have selected Husch as their professional home. A big part of our success is due to our True North initiative, which provides professional networking and development opportunities to our female attorneys and clients in the area.

“We also have a robust mentoring program that provides opportunities for young female attorneys to see different models of how more senior attorneys balance their personal and professional responsibilities.”

Lunn and fellow partner Katie Giannasi co-chair Husch Blackwell’s Women’s Initiative efforts for the firm’s Chattanooga office.

Women Inc. selected the firms for its list of the top law firms for women based on prior recognition, recruitment, community outreach and industry prominence. The list will be featured in the magazine’s fall issue.

Source: Baker Donelson; Husch Blackwell; Women Inc.