Chris Bannon Quoted in Illinois Bar Journal Article, “Women in the Law; Making the Ask”

07.23.15

In the article “Women in the Law; Making the Ask,” Aronberg Goldgehn Co-Managing Member Christopher J. Bannon is among several attorneys quoted on issues facing women lawyers.

Written by freelance journalist Ed Finkel, and published in the August 2015 Illinois Bar Journal, the article opens with the following questions: What can female attorneys - and firms that want to hire and keep them - do to ensure that their compensation and opportunities keep pace with their talent and commitment? Do women lawyers define success differently?

On the subject of compensation, Mr. Finkel writes that Mr. Bannon believes all attorneys should go into a review process ready to talk about their performance and attributes. “They should lay out what their value to the firm is and will be, and be prepared to advocate for those, and be prepared to ask questions about how the firm views those same attributes," Mr. Bannon is quoted as saying.

And on the subject of work-life balance, Mr. Bannon commented in the article on the benefits of both formal flexible work schedules, such as four days per week, and time off on a more irregular basis. Several attorneys, including some partners, have such schedules at Aronberg Goldgehn. "That has made the firm attractive to many female attorneys," Mr. Bannon is quoted as saying. "Obviously, not all female attorneys are interested in that type of schedule. For those who are, we've made it a fixture here, and found that's been very helpful in attracting excellent female attorneys."

Further in the article, Mr. Finkel reports that Aronberg Goldgehn also has worked to host networking events between female attorneys and female executives and other decision makers. The article notes Mr. Bannon's belief that these events are very beneficial to marketing the firm’s female attorneys.

Mr. Bannon also commented on the need for firms to demonstrate a desire and opportunity for women to participate in management. Three out of his firm's five principal practice groups are chaired or co-chaired by women. "That should send a message that women are invited and important in the management of a firm," Mr. Bannon is quoted as saying.

Mr. Bannon served as a panelist at the recent ISBA Law Ed program, “Because You're Worth It! Achieving Advancement & Fair Compensation in the Legal Profession.” The seminar was presented by the ISBA's Committee on Women and the Law. Mr. Finkel’s “Women in the Law” article captures many of the sentiments expressed at the seminar and comments obtained through follow up interviews with the speakers.

As Program Coordinator, Aronberg Goldgehn associate Julie A. Neubauer was instrumental in securing speakers who are leaders on the subject, including Rachel Whaley, Associate Professor at Southern Illinois University. Dr. Whaley kicked off the seminar by providing an in-depth look at the findings from the 2014 ISBA economic survey as it pertains to the advancement and compensation of women attorneys and other diversity based variables.

Whaley reported gender gaps throughout the state in salary and overall earnings at the partner level. However, she also found a significantly brighter picture for women in firms that already have higher percentages of females. As a side note, in the July 2015 issue of the Chicago Lawyer magazine, Aronberg Goldgehn was ranked No. 1 among the largest law firms in Illinois for having the highest percentage of associates who are women.

To view the full Illinois Bar Journal article, please CLICK HERE.



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