Women in Business Law Initiative


The Women in Business Law Initiative at the UC Berkeley School of Law is designed to address the many challenges to gender equity in law and business. Since its inception in 2016, the Women in Business Law Initiative has offered best-in-class career development, mentorship, and networking programs to help female students and professionals excel both in their lives and their careers. Through meetings, conferences, forums, and tailored programs—such as our established mentorship program—we connect female students to a rich network of other successful women at law firms, in industry, and government.

We seek to address the large gender gaps present in the corporate world. As of June 2017, only 6.4% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies were women; even though more women than men are currently graduating from college and university. Although companies with higher levels of diversity, including gender equity, in executive leadership show higher valuations, greater return on investment and total return on sales, issues around equity and inclusion continue to persist.

Our mission is to help address the issue of gender equity in the workplace on a concrete and individual scale. As a law school, we play a crucial role in facilitating students’ transition from the sphere of academia to the professional world. To bridge these worlds, the Women in Business Law Initiative designed a formal mentorship program that begins during the first year our female J.D. and LL.M. candidates begin at UC Berkeley School of Law. By supporting our students early on in their careers, we hope to contribute to a more equal and inclusive workforce.

The Women in Business Law (WBL) Mentorship Program is a collaboration between the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB), the Boalt Hall Women’s Association, Women of Color Collective, and the Berkeley Business Law Journal. The program matches first-year law students interested in business law with female associates from BCLB partner firms and organizations.

The program provides attorneys the opportunity to cultivate relationships with some of the brightest law students the country has to offer — women who can be expected to advance to positions of influence throughout the worlds of business and law.  The relationships and trust they establish can then help them flourish in their own careers.

How the Program Works

We accept applications from interested first-year J.D. and LL.M. candidates, female attorneys from partner law firms, as well as from business and government. Attorneys and students are matched based on their interests and geographic locations.

We facilitate the mentorship by organizing an annual mixer in late January, followed by two additional networking events. The participants are encouraged to meet periodically — we recommend a commitment of 2-4 hours every month.

Our students benefit from the advice of attorneys who have just completed the transition from student to professional, and the attorneys that mentor them gain a valuable contact in their mentee. We believe that this relationship has the power to help both students and attorneys achieve their goals.

Upcoming Events: 

Women in Business Law Mentorship Program Yearly Wrap-up | October 17, 2018 | Berkeley, CA

Past Events:

Women of Color Collective Annual Faculty Brunch | September 15, 2018 | Berkeley, CA

Women in Business Law Leadership Lunch Talk September 12, 2018 | Berkeley, CA |

A conversation with Amanda Rinkoff (JD ’07), former senior counsel at Gap, Inc. and current legal director of Uber, on unlocking effective mentorship in corporate law.

Meeting with the World Bank September 10, 2018 | Berkeley, CA

A conversation with Sarah Iqbal, the lead researcher and editor for the Women, Business and the Law program at the World Bank. Attendance is by invitation only.  

Women in Business Law Mixer | January 23, 2018 | San Francisco, CA | Photo Gallery

Featuring guest speaker Laura Segni, General Counsel for Banca IMI

Women in Business Law Meet & Greet with Goldman Sachs | February 27, 2018 |  co-sponsored by BWIB

Women in Business Law Dinner & Wine TastingMarch 20, 2018 | Berkeley, CA

Corporate Law Panel: Opportunities, Careers, and Female Leadership | April 24, 2018 | Register Here

A conversation with Jennifer Barnette (’14), Attorney at CooleyJonathan York (’09), Managing Counsel at TeslaNicole Farrar, Associate General Counsel at Lending Club, and Christopher Hammond (’15), Attorney at Skadden. This event is co-sponsored by BWIB.

Vision 2020 Think Tank: Female Founders | May 3, 2018 | Palo Alto, CA

A conversation with Carmel Jud, Executive Director & Founder at Rising International, Joyce Reitman, Chief Executive Officer at Motionloft, Vania Schlogel, Managing Partner & Founder at Atwater Capital, Sara L. Terheggen, California Delegate at Vision 2020 Project


  • The state of California just signed a bill last week to become the first US state to impose a quota for the inclusion of women on the boards of public companies headquartered there. 
  • We are distinguished in confronting gender gap in the corporate world by trying to lower hurdles and raise awareness of corporate opportunities for our female students.
  • We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Vision2020, a nonpartisan and non-profit organization, that like us, is committed to gender equality.
  • We are proud to announce that Berkeley Law ranks #1 in female enrollment among Top 20 Law Schools at 60.1% enrollment (#2 is at 53.4%).


Delia Violante | Program Manager | dviolante@law.berkeley.edu

Deborah Kang | Director of Startup@BerkeleyLaw | deborahkang@berkeley.edu