Venable counsel Celeste M. Brecht and Elizabeth R. Glasgow were interviewed in a June 15, 2015 Los Angeles Business Journal article on increasing business for female attorneys. The article highlights an American Bar Association report that found women make up only 17 percent of equity partners in U.S. law firms. The report prompted Brecht and Glasgow to form RISE, an all-female networking group of attorneys from several Los Angeles area offices. The group's first meeting last October consisted of eight attorneys but has since grown to over 50.
"We have women graduating from law schools at the same rate as men, but then if you look at equity partnerships at firms, it’s not anywhere close to that," said Brecht. "It's a success if you're at 20 percent and there really hasn't been a ton of movement in that direction." According to Brecht, the primary goal of RISE is to learn new techniques to generate business. "If you look at most people who have large books of business, it’s men,” she said. “So they are the ones who are being brought into equity partnerships."
"Business development is an art and it's not something that’s taught in law school," added Glasgow. "Business development is really something you'll do every day for the rest of your working life."
Brecht said that while many Los Angeles firms have "diversity groups," it is rare to have something like RISE connecting attorneys from different firms. "Ideally this would be a group where people grow and get to know each other," she said. "There could be potential for a referral service in the future."