Since its inception in 2016, the Women in Business Law Initiative has offered best-in-class career development, mentorship, and networking programs to help students and professionals excel both in their lives and in their careers. Through meetings, conferences, forums, and tailored programs—such as our established mentorship program—we connect students of all gender identities to a rich network of attorneys at firms, in industry, and in government.
Although companies with higher levels of diversity, including gender equity, report higher returns, issues around equity and inclusion persist. As of December 2020, just 41 women were slated to be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in Q1 2021 — that’s just 8.3%. Not surprisingly, this lack of representation in corporate governance is pervasive in the legal world as well.
The Women in Business Law Initiative at Berkeley Law aims to address the issue of gender equity and diversity in law. Our formal mentorship program provides participating J.D. and LLM mentees of all gender identities with access to a thriving network of attorneys from a wide range of backgrounds beginning in their first year at Berkeley Law. By supporting our students early on in their careers, we hope to bridge the divide between academia and practice, facilitate our students’ transition to the professional world, and contribute to building a more equal and inclusive legal field.