She Breaks The Law.
People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together – Michelle Obama.
In 2019, Nike created a tribute to women in sport, called Dream Crazier. The ad essentially takes the below negative portrayals of women in sport and transforms them into motivational statements.
These negative portrayals include:
- If we show emotion, we are called dramatic.
- When we stand for something, we’re unhinged.
- When we’re too good, there's something wrong with us.
- And if we get angry, we are hysterical, irrational or just being crazy.
The ad seeks to empower women and girls at every stage of life. It does so powerfully, and to inspiring heights. And with applicability to areas and professions beyond sport, like the legal profession.
To use the words of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission: “Women are an intrinsic part of the legal profession across the globe. Women are graduating and participating in the legal profession at a high rate, however their career trajectories remain quite different to that of men.
The gender pay gap within the law (and outside of it) also remains a challenge across the economy. Attrition rates from the legal profession tend to be higher for women then for men.”
Indeed being a female in the law still has its challenges, as was confirmed by the findings in the Law Council of Australia’s National Attrition and Re-engagement Study.
Yet in 2017 in Australia, for the first time, women outnumbered men in the legal profession for the first time (but not in the senior ranks).
In APAC, the 2019 Financial Times Most Innovative Lawyers report had five out of eight profiled General Counsels as women. (In the same research piece in 2018, there were also more senior female lawyers than men innovation path finders).
So yes, in 2019, the females are tipping the legal innovation scales. They are #dreamingcrazy and shaping the future of the legal profession to ensure it is innovative, relevant and responsive to a business world that is changing rapidly. They are doing so courageously, with resilience, and despite the negative portrayals.
Speaking from first-hand experience, being a change agent is not as easy as it may look.
And that makes for the perfect segue to introduce to you, if you don’t already know about it, She Breaks the Law [SBTL].
Launched on International Women’s Day 2019, SBTL is founded by three courageous female leaders, on a mission to create a global platform for women leaders who are breaking the mould. Its members come from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, from female founders of disruptive legal start-ups to general counsel to innovation leaders in traditional law firms. They all have one thing in common: they are leading the change in the way that legal services are delivered.
The SBTL platform provides women leaders of disruptive change in legal to connect with like-minded women, to share experiences and stories with others, to develop themselves and others and to create new ideas with women from all over the world.
The co-founders believe that collaboration makes for better innovation, and so bring together current and former lawyers and other professionals together into a single community to share ideas, exchange experiences and make impactful changes.
As you may know, I’m on a mission to inspire others to “do law” differently by being bold, curious and disruptive. It's therefore an honour to be appointed to the SBTL Advisory Board and support its mission.
The SBTL group currently has an active LinkedIn Group with over 1,000 members globally and continues to grow rapidly. The successful launch event in London in April 2019 will be followed by chapter events in New York, Chicago, Amsterdam, London, Mumbai, Delhi and Toronto.
Join the She Breaks The Law community here - there is no membership fee.
You can access my ebook Legally Innovative here. With a foreword by Professor Scott Westfahl of Harvard Law School, it's been described as being thought provoking, practical and refreshing.
If you want to stay connected, then ensure you Stay in the Know.
If you want to raise your Innovation Intelligence, then discover Free IQ2.0 on my website.
For visual innovation inspiration, follow @legallyinnovative on Instagram.
Photo credit: Ian Dooley via Unsplash.