Jackson Walker has long prioritized the recruitment, retention, and development of our women attorneys.

Over a decade ago, we launched the Jackson Walker Women (JW2) initiative to attract, retain, and promote women professionals. Through its programs, JW2 creates opportunities for women attorneys to develop their professional skills while supporting women in their efforts to balance work and family responsibilities. The initiative also provides a platform for women attorneys to generate business and pursue positions in leadership.

In the pages that follow, we present our efforts to participate in events geared toward women in business, to facilitate business opportunities for women attorneys, and to support mothers throughout their pregnancy and continuing through their return to the Firm.

Last year, we shared a snapshot of what Jackson Walker represents—community, inclusion, leadership—intangibles that can't be summed up with dollars and dimes.

This year, we reflect on a year of growth and advancement in how we recruit talent, diversify our team, and develop our future leaders. This report details how Jackson Walker is igniting change through our efforts to recruit, develop, retain, promote, and celebrate a more diverse and inclusive team.

Advancing and Supporting Jackson Walker Women (JW2)

We are dedicated to contributing resources to maximize the opportunities for women to succeed. Through sponsoring community programs, speaking engagements, and networking events, Jackson Walker encourages women attorneys to better their communities and close the gender gap within the legal industry and the business world as a whole.

Women in the Know

Poverty is a complex problem. Nevertheless, the solution may lie with children. Inspired by a coalition of community partners dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty, Mary Emma Karam co-founded Women in the Know in 2016. Championed by the Dallas members of JW2, the initiative assembles a network of women who are passionate about ending intergenerational poverty and provides a forum where they can exchange ideas and solutions.

In August, Women in the Know hosted a Community Collaboration Luncheon, during which four leaders in the nonprofit sector came together and shared how they work collectively with community organizations to provide access to resources. From providing social services in healthcare to designating community leaders, linking organizations through technology, and encouraging girls to seek opportunities, collaboration was at the heart of the conversation.

Championing Our Maternity Leave Program

Jackson Walker's generous Maternity Leave Program supports expectant mothers from pregnancy through their return to practice. Female partner mentors work with attorneys, practice group leaders, and practice mentors to ensure smooth transitions, whether utilizing traditional or alternative work schedules. Taking maternity leave doesn't delay the partnership track.

"I was a working mother with young children, and I was the first attorney to make partner while on the alternative work schedule program." – Ginger Webber | Partner, Fort Worth

JW2 Lunches & Happy Hours

In 2018, the JW2 program facilitated almost 20 happy hours and events throughout the year to connect women with colleagues, mentors, clients, and the community.

"With JW2, it's nice to know that we're able to get together and just enjoy community and friendship." – Suzan Kedron | Partner, Dallas

Meet Michelle

“My vision for JW2 is to help the women attorneys of Jackson Walker achieve their potential, whatever that may be.

We want to support our women in any way we can – through internal programming, mentorship, business development training, and building connections in our communities.It’s my goal for JW2 to empower the women of Jackson Walker to succeed in their professional and personal endeavors.”

Michelle Moore Smith | Partner, Austin
JW2 Committee Chair

Meet April & Joan

Houston partner April Vasquez Leibman and Dallas of counsel Joan Sostek serve on Jackson Walker's Diversity Committee, and they're both involved in CREW, the network for Commercial Real Estate Women.

CREW brings together women involved in commercial real estate to help them succeed professionally. Joan has been involved in CREW Dallas and has served as co-chair of the Texas Regional CREW Conference. April is a member of CREW Houston, which is the leading organization for women real estate executives in Houston.

How JW Is Igniting Change