NOW Honors Heidi Levine, a Superadvocate for Women Lawyers

I am so pleased that the National Organization for Women (NOW) chose Heidi Levine, Co-Managing Partner of the New York office of DLA Piper, as one of the recipients of the Women of Power & Influence Award.  I am personally acquainted with her dedication to young women lawyers, and Heidi is a perfect choice.  As a participant in programs for women lawyers at DLA, I have witnessed Heidi’s devotion to the cause of retaining women in the profession and helping them advance to partnership and positions of management  and leadership.  She is a true believer in “paying it forward.”  Because that is a major theme of Best Friends at the Bar, I am particularly drawn to Heidi’s work and her messages.

Heidi’s rise to power has been meteoric, but it has not been without the kinds of challenges that many of you face and will face.  In her acceptance speech for the NOW award, she focused on the positive impact power and influence can have on the advancement of women in the workplace and how the power and influence of others has positively impacted her and her career.  Here are some highlights of her speech:

  • The solution to creating the next generation of women with power and influence is encouraging and providing incentives for men and women to make differences by acting as mentors;
  • Mentoring is not just talking and teaching.  Supervising lawyers give significant responsibilities to their young women reports and mentees and should challenge them to advance to the next level of practice;
  • Lawyers and clients can work together to recognize talent and to open doors for young women lawyers;
  • When a woman lawyer reaches the level of power and leadership in the profession, she owes a responsibility to give back and help provide those same opportunities to younger women; and
  • No matter how senior Heidi has become in her law firm, she never loses sight of the fact that she continues to benefit from having a mentor.

Heidi Levine does not just talk the talk.  She walks the walk.  She helped create a women’s initiative at DLA, which became an internal alliance of women committed to creating opportunities for other women and looking out for each other.  She made sure that the initiative included programs with inspirational speakers, law firm management consultants and other experts and was a true working alliance.  Through it all, Heidi was not concerned about the amount of time that she devoted to mentoring and encouraging young women lawyers.  She knew that it was time away from networking with the “big boys,” but she owned the choice because of her dedication to the futures of the women lawyers in her firm and to diversity in the profession.  Heidi Levine, a woman I admire and am honored to call my friend, is an excellent role model for women in the law, and I hope that all of you will benefit from her example.

I also am pleased to tell you that Heidi and I will be on a panel together at the University of Baltimore Law School next fall.  For those of you at UB Law or in Baltimore-area schools, stay tuned to the blog to find out the particulars.  We will be joined by a prominent female in-house counsel, and the panel will provide excellent advice for young women in all areas of practice.   Hope to see you there!

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