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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, July 22, 2016

Women in Law Empowerment Forum names Baker Donelson a Gold Standard Firm




Amy Mahone (Chattanooga) is the co-chair of the communications committee of Baker Donelson’s Women’s Initiative. Together with Catherine Long (Birmingham), she produces four Women’s Initiative newsletters a year. - Photograph by David Laprad

For the second consecutive year, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) has certified Baker Donelson as a Gold Standard Firm.

WILEF’s Gold Standard Certification emphasizes the leadership roles achieved by equity women partners rather than the policies or practices of the firm or the overall number or percentage of women in the partnership. Law firms with 300 or more practicing lawyers in the United States are eligible for the 2016 WILEF Gold Standard Certification if they demonstrate that women represent a meaningful percentage of their equity partners, of their highest leadership positions, of their governance and compensation committees, and of their most highly compensated partners.

Women are represented at every leadership level at Baker Donelson, including president and COO Jennifer Keller (Johnson City). In addition, women make up 33 percent of the firm’s board of directors, which is above the national average. Multiple practice groups are led by women as well. Examples include: Kristine Roberts (Memphis) - Financial Services Litigation Practice Group; Jenna Bedsole (Birmingham) - Labor & Employment Practice Group; Jackie Prester (Memphis) - Finance & Banking Practice Group; Linda Finley (Atlanta) - Residential Mortgage Litigation Practice Group; and Tonya Grindon (Nashville) - Corporate Finance & Securities Group.

Baker Donelson also has multiple women serving as office managing shareholders, and more women attorneys within the firm are advancing to shareholder status. “Of our newly elected shareholders in 2015, more than 62 percent were women, up from 42 percent in 2014. And nearly half of our newly elected shareholders this year are women,” said Amy Mahone (Chattanooga), co-chair of the communications committee of Baker Donelson’s Women’s Initiative.

Baker Donelson was one of only 31 law firms across the country to earn Gold Standard Certification in a year when WILEF tightened the criteria that firms were required to meet in order to demonstrate their commitment to promoting and fairly compensating women.

Christy Tosh Crider, chair of Baker Donelson’s Women’s Initiative and a shareholder in the firm’s Nashville office, said, “Baker Donelson is proud to have once again earned this certification, particularly given WILEF’s enhanced criteria for inclusion. Just as WILEF has raised the bar, our firm is committed to continuing to make strides to further the representation and leadership of women in the legal profession.”

Source: Some information from Baker Donelson