The event was Managing IP’s first International
Women’s Leadership Forum and it brought together
women (and, indeed, some men) to hear from influential female
lawyers on topics such as patent reform in the US, developments
in the life sciences sector and how to prepare for the big
changes coming to the patent application and litigation systems
I’ve always been rather nervous about
women-focused events, lest they seem patronising to women or
intensify an unhelpful sense of us-and-them in the workplace.
The high-level of presentations and the discussions that
followed them dispelled the first fear – and that
wasn’t surprising, given
the seniority and experience of the panellists.
As to my fear about an all-women panel event exacerbating
gender divides, I can only say that the feedback we received
suggested it had motivated women to develop in the profession.
The audience ranged from senior in-house lawyers and law firm
partners to mid-level associates and IP professionals. For the
latter, the opportunity to have so many role models gathered
together offered a strength-in-numbers inspiration.
Most women lawyers these days, at least in most developed
markets, know that they can progress as far as they want in
their career, if they have the talent and dedication to do so.
But having plenty of role models who have already made that
journey gives junior women an opportunity to see what the
theory looks like in practice – and that is extremely
Managing IP has also launched a global women’s
network to facilitate relationship building and the exchange of
ideas between women lawyers. Benefits of network membership
include invitations to seminars and webinars across the year,
including a repeat of the New York conference on the west coast
of the US, later this year. Members will also be able to use
the online platform to network with other members, read
interviews with IP lawyers and share best practice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
if you would like to join the network. It’s free
to in-house counsel.