- Gender diversity continues to be an issue, especially in IP
- Greenberg Traurig recently hired two shareholders who buck the trend
Greenberg Traurig hired two new women shareholders to work in fields associated with technology law, and firm officials say gender diversity is improving in an area that is traditionally known as a boys’ club.
Greenberg Traurig recently announced the addition of Elizabeth Valentina, a former vice president at Fox Entertainment Group who will now serve as an intellectual property litigator in the firm’s Los Angeles office, as well as former Squire Patton Boggs partner Gretchen Ramos, who will join Greenberg Traurig’s cybersecurity and privacy practice in San Francisco.
While increasing gender diversity continues to be a challenge in many legal fields, including patent litigation, Valentina says more women are becoming attorneys in technical areas. That’s because women in tech have “become normalized,” according to Valentina.
“That’s partly because people have come around to the idea—‘women can be techy too’—and partly because you’re seeing more women rise to positions of leadership in IP and technology, which spreads awareness and invites other women to join the industry,” she told Bloomberg Law July 27.
Valentina added that, when she started in IP law 20 years ago, the culture was “very male dominated.” Opportunities for women were tough to find, and “you had to be tough and thick skinned,” she said.
“But we broke through one by one, forged ahead, stuck with it, and now—in rising to senior leadership positions—we’ve become more visible and are attracting more women to the field,” Valentina told Bloomberg Law in an email.
Ramos, who counsels companies on privacy and compliance issues and has experience with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), also said clients in the tech and IP space are increasingly working with their outside law firms to “encourage and support truly diverse teams.”
“This means that they look beyond just numbers,” she told Bloomberg Law in an email. “They work hand-in-hand with the legal service providers with the joint goal of achieving greater utilization of minority attorneys and professionals at all levels of a representation.”
Firm officials pointed to the Greenberg Traurig Women’s Initiative (GTWI), which “supports the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women attorneys at the firm.” Susan Heller, co-managing shareholder of the firm’s Orange County office and co-chair of the GTWI, says diversity is important in relation to “ideas, backgrounds, genders, and viewpoints.”
“Inherent in IP are the constant elements of invention, change, and disruption,” Heller, a trademark attorney, told Bloomberg Law July 27. “Our inclusive work teams, with diversity of people and ideas, allow us to provide the most strategic and creative thought leadership to our clients.”