Firm offers work life balance to working moms along with opportunities to advance in their career and achieve leadership positions
New York, NY (November 13, 2012) — Epstein Becker Green takes great pride in its lifetime commitment to diversity and inclusion including the advancement of women lawyers in the workplace. A testament of this is the firm’s recent recognition among the top “Best Law Firms for Women” by Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers for 2012. The firm received top ranking and was recognized in the following categories: leadership, compensation and advancement of women; development and retention of women; flex-time; and time off and leaves.
EBG has always fostered a culture of creating, embracing, and supporting women leaders within the firm. Women are represented at all leadership levels, including the board of directors, senior management, practice steering committees, and in key working groups. For example:
- Three of the 10 members of the Board of Directors are women
- Two of the five practice steering committees chairs are women
- Two of the four chief officers are women
- Four of the 10 partners promoted in 2011 were women
Many of the women attorneys have been with the firm for their entire careers, moving up the ranks from first-year associates to key rainmakers. Included are testimonials from several of EBG’s women attorneys:
“I never thought women should have to choose between having a family and having a law firm career, and EBG has always encouraged attorneys (both men and women) to have both. This was so even back in the 1980s when I began my law career at EBG, had my two children while still an associate, and then became a partner while they were still very young. With then-previously unheard of policies like no ‘up or out’ for associates, no lock step compensation, and no requirement to ‘see and be seen’ at all hours, EBG was always a firm where women could create a balance of work and family — through reduced or flexible hours or working at home — and change and adapt their work lives over time as needs changed. EBG’s support, encouragement and flexibility were key to my ability to succeed in developing my legal practice and, more recently, to assume firm leadership roles. As Vice Chair of Professional Development, I’m happy to be passing along that tradition to a new generation of attorneys, both women and men, who are seeking to balance a meaningful legal career and family life,” said Carrie Valiant, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the Washington, D.C., office. Carrie is also on the firm’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Compensation Committee.
“During my 33 year tenure at EBG, I have gone from an entry level associate to one of the managing Board directors. While at the firm, I got married, had three children, and had to care for my aging parents and in-laws. I was very fortunate to have worked in a law firm environment where it is expected that you be a whole healthy and happy person and not merely an attorney. The EBG community of lawyers and staff support each other in multi-dimensional ways — good days and bad days — both professionally and personally. Over the years, I have helped to create this type of corporate culture and hope that I have instilled these values in the next generation of EBG leadership,” said Lynn Shapiro Snyder, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the Washington, D.C., office. Snyder is also on the firm’s Board of Directors and is Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee. Snyder wrote a book titled Advancing Women in Business, in 2007. She has also created a foundation for senior executive women from the health care and life sciences industry called Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry.
The firm also accommodates those attorneys who need to work on a part-time or flex-time capacity. This has not affected their ability to move up the ranks, and they are considered for leadership positions just as their full-time colleagues.
When Joan Disler was approached by EBG to become a lateral partner in 2000, she explained that she would be interested in the position provided the firm would allow her to reduce her hours in the office — with the thought that she would be able to return on a full-time basis when she was ready. At the time, Joan needed more flexibility in her schedule to take part in a variety of activities with her young children. The firm obliged. Disler said, “During those years that made all the difference to me.” Today, Disler is the Chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits Practice Steering Committee, in the New Jersey office. She also is co-founder of the firm’s Women’s Initiative.
“I have two daughters (ages 9 and 6), both of whom I had while working at the firm. When I had my first daughter, I quickly realized that continuing to work the same hours as I had worked for years would be difficult. I wanted to spend time with my daughters and be there while they grew, and I also wanted to still forge ahead with my career as an employment lawyer. Fortunately, EBG has given me the opportunity to do both. The firm understands the needs of working moms — realizing that we have a lot to contribute to the firm, but also have other commitments and responsibilities at times. Not only has the firm permitted me to work flexible hours, but in 2008 it promoted me to partner while I was doing so,” said Lauri Rasnick, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office.
“In my experience, the firm’s commitment and support toward maintaining a workable structure between my family life and career goals has been unwavering. As a single mother of a now 13-year-old boy, it has been invaluable to work for a firm that allows me the flexibility to structure my work and family life in a way that allows me to remain highly active in my son’s social and academic life and consistently involved in his daily activities and personal growth, while not sacrificing my professional development from junior associate to partner. Other parents always remark to me that they cannot imagine how I balance it all. My unequivocal response is always that it would not be possible without the commitment of Epstein Becker Green and the people with whom I work,” said Kirsten Backstrom, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the Washington, D.C., office.
Newer moms and moms-to-be at the firm have found that they can still have a fulfilling career while raising their family.
“I have been with EBG for a little over two years now and feel that I have been able to start building a good career here. The partners I work with truly value work/life balance and are respectful of my time away from the office. The office environment is flexible in that, if I need to work from home one day, it has never been an issue. While I know life with a new baby will be very different, I am not worried about getting the support I need from the people that I work with. Everyone has been very encouraging so far, and I do not expect that to change once the baby arrives,” said Lesley Yeung, an associate in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the Washington, D.C., office.
“I joined EBG in 2002 as a mid-level associate and have now been with the firm for over ten years as a partner. I have generally appreciated the opportunities that the firm offers for advancement to young attorneys, as well as the number of female and minority attorneys at the firm, not just at the associate level but among our senior most partners and within firm leadership positions. I now have a son who is three years old, and in 2009 my husband’s career required us to relocate to Saint Louis. Even with the technology available today, not every law firm would have permitted me to work remotely from a city where the firm does not have an official office and continued to provide me with the resources, support and encouragement that I need to continue to develop professionally and advance within the firm. My arrangement is not unique – there are several attorneys at the firm with similar arrangements and so it really is indicative of the highly progressive culture at EBG,” said Purvi Maniar, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and Corporate Services practices.
About Epstein Becker Green
Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., is a national law firm with a primary focus on health care and life sciences; employment, labor, and workforce management; and litigation and business disputes. Founded in 1973 as an industry-focused firm, Epstein Becker Green has decades of experience serving clients in health care, financial services, retail, hospitality, and technology, among other industries, representing entities from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Operating in locations throughout the United States and supporting domestic and multinational clients, the firm’s attorneys are committed to uncompromising client service and legal excellence. For more information, visit www.ebglaw.com.