How Allies Can Support All Women in the Law: An All-Perspectives Discussion on Upping the Ante on Diversity – January 29, 2020

By WLALA Member Diana Choe

March 2020

On January 29, 2020, WLALA’s Diversity & Outreach Committee presented a panel discussion event entitled, “How Allies Can Support All Women in the Law: An All-Perspectives Discussion on Upping the Ante on Diversity,” in Century City.  Though attorneys commonly hear about “impostor syndrome” and “implicit bias” in the diversity space, this program upped the ante by offering a fresh perspective on how to tackle these issues: allyship from white males in the legal industry–and just in time for the February MCLE compliance deadline! The program featured panelists from a range of backgrounds and legal fields, all of whom have made it a priority to promote women and diversity in the workplace: Hailyn Chen, Co-Managing Partner at Muller Tolles; Nicole Diaz, Senior Counsel at Snap, Inc.; Jenine Hinkle, Counsel at Honda North America; and Roman Silberfeld, National Trial Counsel at Robins Kaplan. 
Moderated by WLALA Communications Officer and Senior Healthcare Counsel at Keck Medicine of USC, Jeannine Taylor, the discussion focused on concrete examples of how allies can affirmatively support female colleagues, rather than remaining bystanders.  In other words, how to be an “ally”. With suggestions from all of the panelists, the moderator, and the audience, co-chair Meena Patel scribed feverishly on an easel to document the input. Hailyn Chen recommended that men offer to take on more of the case management “housework”, such as note taking, or sending out schedules for the next meeting, etc.   Another theme that resonated with the audience that evening was to “listen and amplify” the originator of a great idea. In the context of a meeting, for instance, an ally should listen to the idea, and then find a way to repeat and amplify it–giving the originator the recognition she normally would not receive. Another example is to make sure female colleagues are given proper credit for their ideas. “Leaving loudly” was another popular idea. This encouraged top management to underscore work and life commitments to help change the attitude within the organization. 
Regardless of an ally’s actions, everyone agreed that getting allies involved is the next critical step in raising awareness and upping the ante towards gender parity in the industry. It is the hope of WLALA’s Diversity & Outreach Committee that this program will help spark further discussions and programs to come on this incredibly important and necessary topic.
Thank you again to our generous sponsors for supporting our program!