Level the Playing Field is not a concept about fairness, it's about letting each employee play by the same set of rules.
Ten law firms joined forces.

By participating in the Level the Playing Field project, the firms wanted to make sure that gender equality was not just nice words on paper. They wanted to find concrete and viable proposals for change that would make a difference for the bottom line.

Ten of Sweden’s largest corporate law firms have participated: Baker & McKenzie, Cederquist, Delphi, DLA Piper, Hamilton, Hammarskiöld & Co, Hannes Snellman, MAQS, Roschier and Setterwalls.

The project was a collaboration between the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and Swedish Women in Arbitration Network (SWAN).

The process and the workshops were led by We Are the StoryDoers (formerly Wiminvest).

Read more about the background…

"In Sweden’s corporate law firms, six out of ten newly employed lawyers are women, but only one in ten becomes a partner. By exposing the rules we play by and rewriting the ones that do not work for us, Level the Playing Field has supported the journey towards a leveled playing field."
It is not about John or Julia.
It’s about John AND Julia.

 

 

"We sell competence, we sell quality, and we know who we are competing against. For us it is ultimately about delivering as good of a product as possible."
The firms' starting point

In the beginning of the project, the firms identified three overarching challenges that needed solutions to level the playing field:

It’s about money

Success is measured in terms of how many clients and fees you can bring into the firm. In order to increase the business volume for women the firms need to make sure that female employees have the same opportunities as their male colleagues to do billable work.

It’s about children

In cases where both women and their husbands work as lawyers, the quest
ion they ask each other when it’s time to have a family is “which one of us should quit?” There is still an attitude in the profession that it is impossible to combine both work and family life, even though the reality looks different as it is a flexible job.
 
It’s about expectations
Competent employees quit before they understand that they have the opportunity to become a partner. The requirements and criteria for becoming a partner needs to be communicated at an earlier stage, thereby giving potential future partners the opportunities and the time to develop the skills they will need to reach the top.

 

"We have worked with these issues for a long time, but this project has allowed us to find a better and faster way to move forward – for us, that’s what this project was about."
Ten solutions for leveling the playing field

These are the ten common denominators that will be implemented in various forms and to various extents at the firms that participated in the project.

  1. Anonymous reporting system
  2. Happy leavers
  3. Balance sheet for parental leave
  4. Support and practice towards partnership early on
  5. A clearer career path
  6. Mentorship for the modern lawyer
  7. Firms need to stop staring themselves blind at grades
  8. Prove the myths about the profession to be wrong
  9. Avoid the evening work culture, introduce a flexibility policy and shared project management
  10. Handbook for inclusive leadership

Read more about the 10 Solutions 

"The project has helped us clarify ideas that are both viable and can realistically lead to lasting change."
Want to know more about each firm's journey?

If you are interested in hearing about the initiative implemented at each firm, here you can find the contact details by clicking on the firm’s name.

Baker McKenzie

Cederquist

Delphi

DLA Piper

Hamilton

Hammarskiöld & Co

Hannes Snellman

MAQS

Roschier

Setterwalls

If you want to learn more about the organization of the project and its coordinators and facilitators:

Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

SWAN (Swedish Women’s Arbitration Network)

We are the StoryDoers

The project process

Each firm selected ten men and women to participate in three relentlessly, solution-orientated workshops.

Workshop 1 was about scrutinizing the fitness of each firms’ processes and routines and pinpointing which ones allowed biased perspectives and preferences to inform decision-making and undermine opportunities for lateral thinking.

In Workshop 2 we developed ideas for change and considered  the viability of the suggestions, did the math, and prioritized.

In Workshop 3 each firm presented their ideas for all the other firm’s executive management  and sat down at each firm to select what ideas to implement and in that way fast-tracked the changes.

Read more about each step of the process…

Thank you to all who participated!
Level the Playing Field has been powered by

Baker and McKenzie      Cederquist       Delphi          DLA_Piper_rgb        Hamilton

Hammarskiold and Co              Hannes Snellman          MAQs            Roschier          Setterwalls

                           WATSD                         Chamber of Commerce                             SWAN