Blank Rome Joins Women in Law Hackathon, Aimed at Advancing Women in the Legal Profession

April 2016

Press Release

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that it has joined the Diversity Lab’s Women in Law Hackathon, a new Shark Tank-style pitch competition aimed at generating innovative ideas to close the gender gap in law firms. Fifty-four top law firms, along with talent and diversity thought leaders and Stanford law students, have signed up to work in virtual teams from January through June 2016 to devise initiatives that will help retain and advance experienced women in law firms.

Dan Rhynhart, Chair of Blank Rome’s Commercial Litigation group, is representing the Firm in this initiative to advance women in the legal profession. “The gender gap, particularly at the partner level, has been an enduring challenge for large law firms,” Rhynhart said.  “We pride ourselves on diversity and inclusion at Blank Rome. While we and other firms have made great strides in  increasing the number of women partners, there is still work to be done.  It is exciting to see the nation’s top law firms and their leaders working together to develop groundbreaking ideas to recruit and retain strong talent in the industry.”

On June 24, 2016, the teams will pitch their ideas to a group of high-profile judges at Stanford Law School. The top three teams selected by the judges will grant their prize money, donated by Bloomberg Law, to non-profit organizations that are helping to advance women in the legal profession and beyond. The first place award is $10,000, second place is $7,500, and third place is $5,000. Diversity Lab, an organization that creates and tests new ways to close the gender gap and boost diversity in organizations at the leadership level, is contributing an additional $5,000 for a Crowd Favorite award voted on by the audience, which also will be donated to a non-profit organization.

The Women in Law Hackathon is the brainchild of Caren Ulrich Stacy, Chief Executive Officer of Diversity Lab, whose work has included creating the OnRamp Fellowship, the first re-entry program launched in the legal field for women returning to the workforce after an extended hiatus, and one in which Blank Rome has been a participant.

“Law firm leaders have been working internally for decades to solve the gender parity challenge, but very little progress has been made; currently women represent only 18 percent of the partnership in large law firms,” remarked Ulrich Stacy. “Now, these law firms are trying something different.”

Due to the overwhelming interest from legal organizations and other companies inquiring about the endeavor, Diversity Lab is launching a second Hackathon in late 2016 that will include cross-industry teams working together to close the gender gap.

“The legal, energy, financial services, and consulting industries have the same challenge – too few women at the top,” Ulrich Stacy said. “The next Hackathon will bring together high-level executives from various companies and firms to work together – using all of our collective knowledge and wisdom across industry lines — to create gender parity in leadership within the world’s most elite organizations.”

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