Missed Opportunities at Life Sciences Companies and Law Firms: Recognizing Implicit and Affinity Biases and Implementing Sustainable Diversity Practices to Move Forward

July 28, 2016 2:45pm

Elizabeth R. Salib Ph.D.
Director, Research
Catalyst Inc.

Marta E. Gross
Partner
Goodwin Procter LLP (New York, NY)

Vinita Ferrera
Partner
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Judy Jarecki-Black
Global Head, Intellectual Property
Merial, Inc. (Duluth, GA)

Sonia Chen Arnold
Assistant General Counsel – Litigation and Legal Compliance
Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, IN)

  • Acknowledging seemingly commonplace or unconsciously biased attitudes, even amongst women, which may be more damaging than overt acts of discrimination to careers and the bottom lines of businesses
    • Confronting our own potential biases in addition to facing down the biases of others’
    • Intersectionality: Acknowledging and respecting diversity of all kinds in the life sciences community including gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, familial status, and age
  • Taking a hard look at the data of representation of women throughout the law
    • Interpreting the statistics on gender and pay gap
    • Where are the red flags and where are we improving?
    • Exploring why law firms seemingly struggle more than corporate and government entities in obtaining, supporting, maintaining, and promoting women in the upper management/hierarchy
  • Designing and carrying out policies to ensure that traditionally underrepresented groups have a voice in the community and a path to success at life sciences companies and the law firms representing them
    • Discussing which diversity initiatives currently in place are working and which aren’t
    • Going beyond a stated commitment to diversity to action in inclusive leadership: plans and action items to maintain an inclusive community