Level The Playing Field
– where 10 law firms joined forces

During 2015 and 2016, ten of Sweden’s largest corporate law firms joined forces because they wanted to make sure that gender equality was not just nice words on paper. They wanted to find concrete and viable proposals for change that would make a difference for the bottom line. The participating law forms were: Baker & McKenzie, Cederquist, Delphi, DLA Piper, Hamilton, Hammarskiöld & Co, Hannes Snellman, MAQS, Roschier and Setterwalls.

In Sweden’s corporate law firms, six out of ten newly employed lawyers are women, but only one in ten becomes a partner. By exposing the rules they played by and rewriting the ones that did not work for us, Level the Playing Field supported the journey towards a leveled playing field within each firm and for their industry as a whole. 

Here are the ten common solutions that were implemented in various forms and to various extents at the firms that participated in the project.

  • Anonymous reporting system
  • Happy leavers
  • Balance sheet for parental leave
  • Support and practice towards partnership early on
  • A clearer career path
  • Mentorship for the modern lawyer
  • Firms need to stop staring themselves blind at grades
  • Prove the myths about the profession to be wrong
  • Avoid the evening work culture, introduce a flexibility policy and shared project management
  • Handbook for inclusive leadership

The project was a collaboration between the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and Swedish Women in Arbitration Network (SWAN) and the process and the workshops were led by the StoryDoers. 

Each firm selected ten men and women to participate in three relentlessly, solution-orientated workshops.

Workshop 1 was about scrutinizing the fitness of each firms’ processes and routines and pinpointing which ones allowed biased perspectives and preferences to inform decision-making and undermine opportunities for lateral thinking.

In Workshop 2 we developed ideas for change and considered the viability of the suggestions, did the math, and prioritized.

In Workshop 3 each firm presented their ideas for all the other firm’s executive management  and sat down at each firm to select what ideas to implement and in that way fast-tracked the changes.

Visit the project site for Level The Playing Field