Fenwick litigation partner Melanie Mayer spoke to IP Watchdog about IP litigation and how to encourage more women lawyers to pursue careers in the field.
Mayer said that one way to increase the representation of women in IP litigation is to encourage their interest in technical fields, including pursuit of degrees in fields like electrical engineering, because the deep technical knowledge can translate into opportunities on a litigation team. But that’s just a start, Mayer said.
“We also need to work even harder at programs that can advance the retention and professional development of women attorneys across the board, such as meaningful mentorship programs, programs to assist women as they prepare to transition to or from maternity leave, and flexible work schedule programs.”
Clients themselves can make a difference, Mayer told IP Watchdog. In-house counsel can help increase the representation of women in IP litigation by requesting a diverse legal team with women in speaking or leadership positions, as opposed to non-speaking support roles.
Mayer expects the number of women in IP litigation to rise, but slowly. “I am encouraged by the increasing conversation around this issue, but we must turn our words into action, including by implementing the types of programs and initiatives discussed above.”
The full article is available through IP Watchdog.