As an active member of Dechert’s Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) in London, Smridhi is a champion for gender equality, helping organize major events for the group and oversees a female focussed “soft-skills” training and development program. Smridhi is involved in the firm’s global Sponsorship and Sustained Support program, which helps senior women associates navigate the path to partnership. Her pro bono and charity efforts are diversity focussed: having handled the UK piece of a global pro bono project relating to the fair and equal treatment of female professional athletes; supporting Inspiring Girls International, an organisation seeking to raise the aspirations of young girls by connecting them with female role models; and helping organize a clothing drive for the “Dress for Success” charity in London providing support (including professional attire) for underprivileged women looking to get into work. Furthermore, Smridhi serves as an ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors which supports underrepresented individuals get into law.
Karen spearheaded the efforts of the Dechert Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) in London in order to create an internal support network for women at all levels at the firm. This involved organising events that enable female lawyers and business service professionals to meet and interact with more experienced colleagues. She organised a number of speaking events in London to showcase female talent, and devised a monthly training programme for female professionals at Dechert. Karen has also organised a number of sessions to develop lawyers’ and business service professionals’ technical skills and soft skills to provide women with the tools to develop and progress within the ranks of the firm. Throughout her career, Karen has provided mentoring services to more junior women to encourage people from different backgrounds to pursue professional careers. Pro bono matters have remained high on Karen’s agenda since the start of her career. She is currently supporting an NGO to analyse sexual offences laws in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to advocate for legislative changes to improve the rights of the LGBT community. She drafted a report for the Centre for Reproductive Rights to supplement the report of the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo scheduled for review by the Human Rights Council. She also volunteered with the Advocates for Human Rights to assess the implementation of domestic violence laws in Serbia and has worked with Oxfam on a similar project in Kenya which was commended by the Financial Times in 2014.
Abbi has strived to create opportunities for women since becoming a partner at Dechert in 1992. She has chaired Dechert’s Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) since its establishment in 2013, connecting and supporting Dechert’s women attorneys at all levels, across practice groups and 28 offices. The initiative now has dedicated local or regional chapters around the globe, which hold meetings, events and activities, and offer skills training and development as well as opportunities for internal and external professional and social interactions. Abbi also helped develop and implement the firm’s Sponsorship and Sustained Support (SASS) programme which focuses on supporting the firm’s most senior female associates, counsel and national partners in navigating the path to partnership. As of July 1, 2019, Abbi was appointed Dechert’s partner in charge of Diversity and Inclusion globally, representing the interests of all diversity affinity groups and women attorneys at the firm and ensuring maximum inclusion across all groups. Dechert today counts 4 women on its policy committee, 5 women office managing partners, 8 women practice group or industry sector leaders, and the firm has added more than 15 female lateral partners in the past year. Beyond Dechert, Abbi sits on the Dean’s Council for Penn Law Women as well as the Board of Managers for the Penn Law Alumni Society and regularly mentors students in both capacities, alongside mentoring women lawyers in the wider legal community. She also holds a number of leadership positions in organisations focused on targeting social injustices.
Within Dechert, Miriam has championed the Global Women’s Initiative, which provides opportunities for development, advancement and leadership for women within the firm. She works on the Sponsorship and Sustained Support (SASS) programme, which helps senior female associates navigate the path to partnership. Participants receive individual and small-group support, skill-appropriate training, individualized attention from Dechert partners, access to consultants and advisors, and networking opportunities with other programme participants and Dechert partners. She is also a Local Women Liaison, a network of women located in Dechert offices in the United States, Europe and Asia who host welcome receptions for new women associates and organize business and legal community events, including networking events for International Women’s Day. Externally, Miriam founded and currently chairs Inspiring Girls International, a charity that helps girls build self-confidence. Together with Melanie Hall QC, a barrister with Monckton Chambers, Miriam also co-founded the Lawyers’ Circle, a 100-strong association of female lawyers who channel their legal skills, networks and resources to furthering women’s rights. She is a prominent thought leader and forthright speaker, regularly exploring gender equality and related issues in the world’s print and broadcast media, including the Telegraph and the Guardian, GQ magazine, and BBC Radio 4.