After the success of our awards in the USA, Chambers instigated the 'Women in Law' Latin America awards, to recognise the achievements of law firms in the Latin America region in promoting and retaining their female talent.
The awards for 2012 were:
Best Gender Diversity Initiative
Firm initiatives which assist in retention, work/life balance and promotions for female lawyers.
Best Mentoring Programme
Sponsorship/mentoring programs and ways in which these have made a difference to the retention and promotion of female talent.
International Law Firm Award
Outstanding international firm with a strong Latin American practice and relations.
Nominations were based on submissions received for the above categories. The winners were selected by the Women in Law team in consultation with the Latin America Editorial team after an appraisal of the firms' initiatives.
The results were released online here in September 2012.
Best Gender Diversity Initiative
Mitrani Caballero Ojam & Ruiz Moreno
This full-service business firm has a committed approach to gender diversity and demonstrates this through recruitment, training, salary and promotions. Currently 48.3% of its managers are female. The firm also offers female attorneys a wide range of flexible working options such as remote access and working from home.
Kahale Abogados is a boutique firm whose founding partner is female lawyer, Roxana Kahale. Currently 50% of its lawyers are women and the firm offers full funding to associates who wish to take on postgraduate studies.
M. & M. Bomchil
M. & M. Bomchil is a prestigious law firm which has a high number of female lawyers at all levels of experience. 23.5% of partners are female and 57% of senior associates are women. The firm has a number of initiatives in place which assist lawyers with their work-life balance, such as flexible working arrangements and reimbursements for nursery costs.
Tozzini Freire has a large proportion of female lawyers. The firm has a number of welfare initiatives in place to make pregnancy and maternity periods as comfortable as possible. The firm also offers a number of women's networking events and mentoring programmes.
Pinheiro Neto Advogados
Pinheiro Neto Advogados set up a Committee for Women Lawyers in 2009. The Committee has created awareness within the firm of the importance of understanding women's needs and organises regular networking days and events between the female attorneys and their clients.
Mattos Filho Advogados
Mattos Filho Advogados is a firm which prides itself on accommodating its female lawyers. The firm offers a longer period of six months maternity leave, working from home and seminars designed specifically for women.
CorreaGubbins is one of the few firms which has a ratio of 50:50 male to female lawyers. The firms offers a unique, highly-structured mentoring programme, flexible working hours and additional vacation for all lawyers.
Carey has a wide-ranging approach to gender diversity with a particular focus on flexible working, equal pay and an emphasis on strong work-life balance.
Grasty Quintana Majlis & Cia
Grasty Quintana Majlis & Cia offers new mothers a flexible timetable both during and after maternity leave. The firm also has a distinct equal opportunities approach for all employees.
Lloreda Camacho & Co
Lloreda Camacho & Co has a high proportion of lawyers; 55% are women. The firm also offers female friendly networking and academic events as well as additional day's leave for all its employees.
Prietocarrizosa has a two-fold approach in accommodating gender diversity. The firm focuses on clearly established career plans for all lawyers and a flexi-time programme for working mothers.
Cavelier Abogados' gender diversity programme focuses on work-life balance, professional development and global exposure. Currently, 60% of the firm's lawyers are women.
BLP Abogados has had an extremely focused drive to develop its female legal population. Within nine years, the firm increased its female population to 46% among associates and 50% among legal assistants. BLP also offers a nursing lounge for new mothers and various flexi-time initiatives.
Arias & Munoz
Arias & Munoz has a sizeable group of female lawyers across all levels of experience. The firm adopts a variety of policies which includes flexi-time and a programme to develop leadership in female executives.
Sfera Legal has a highly committed approach to female retention and support. The firm operates a dedicated business mentoring programme aimed at women.
Jiménez Cruz Peña
Jiménez Cruz Peña provides a number of schemes in order to support the professional growth and flexibility working women require in their lives. 77% of its lawyers are female including 50% of its partners. The firm encourages talent promotion, flexible hours and a mentoring programme.
Squire Sanders is dedicated to supporting its female lawyers. The firm provides schemes for new mothers, mentoring, and encourages a work-life balance.
OMG is a strong proponent of gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 76% of its lawyers are female and two thirds of senior positions are held by women. OMG is committed to encouraging a work-life balance amongst its employees.
Fabara & Cia
60% of Fabara & Cia's partners are female. The firm is committed to flexi-time for lawyers and promoting a work-life balance.
ACZALAW has a high ratio of female lawyers with 55% female partners and 52% of all lawyers being female. The firm allows flexi-hours, encourages further study and offers a variety of pro bono schemes.
Littler is committed to retaining and developing women leaders within the firm. 50% of the partners are women and 40% of all other lawyers are also female.
Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa
Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa has a dedicated approach and focuses its efforts on professional, family, educative and social commitment values.
Galicia Abogados has implemented several family-friendly policies to help attorneys achieve a work-life balance including flexi-time and parental leave for both mothers and fathers.
López, Villanueva & Heuertematte (LOVILL)
López, Villanueva & Heuertematte is a unique firm where all of its lawyers are female. The firm operates in a female-focused way because of this and its lawyers are offered advantages such as extra paid maternity leave and support once back at work.
AFRA is committed to its female lawyers in a variety of ways. The firm offers flexible hours, mentoring, and is particularly supportive to women who have taken career breaks.
Berkemeyer Attorneys and Counselors
Berkemeyer Attorneys and Counselors has the highest amount of female lawyers in Paraguay (24 out of 33). The implementation of its balanced hours and female mentoring policies has helped to influence the retention of its female lawyers.
Currently 40% of Estudio Echecopar's attorneys are women. The firm offers equal pay for both men and women and a flexible working policy to accommodate family life.
Orihuela Abogados encourages the development and success of its female attorneys by offering a number of seminars and courses, remote office access and leniency during pregnancy, maternity leave and parenting.
Rubio Leguía Normand
Rubio Leguía Normand focuses on equal opportunities across the firm and at all levels of experience.
McConnell Valdés has been a strong proponent of diversity within the firm for the last two decades. The firm offers an active mentoring programme as well as flexible work options for women.
Ferrere has a high percentage of female associates and the firm encourages women to strive for partnership while being allowed to maintain a work/life balance. The firm also has a specific mentoring programme for female lawyers.
Guyer & Regules
Guyer & Regules offers its female attorneys part-time, flexi-time and home office options for work as well as a comprehensive mentoring programme.
Hughes & Hughes
Hughes & Hughes offers flexible and supportive schemes in order for female lawyers to find personal and professional work-life balance.
Despacho de Abogados miembros de Norton Rose
Half of Despacho de Abogados miembros de Norton Rose's lawyers are female and the firm is proactive in its awareness of gender diversity. The firm offers both paternity and maternity packages which include support for those undertaking fertliity treatments plus flexi-time work and a mentoring policy.
DLA InterJuris Abogados
With an extremely large percentage of female lawyers across all levels of experience, DLA InterJuris Abogados has recently introduced flexi-working and a mentoring programme in the last two years.
Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz
Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz offers its attorneys a reduced hours policy, a female monthly newsletter and female-friendly work-life events.
Beretta Godoy is part of Marianne - a French-Argentine association of business women which aims at developing business relations between both countries through networking and mentoring schemes. The firm has also undertaken a number of worthwhile pro bono cases such as assisting on the constitutional right to equal treatment and the legalisation of gay marriage in Argentina.
The Female Mentoring Programme at the firm is primarily handled by the firm’s senior women partners, who actively participate in the professional development of young female partners and female senior associates. The programme offers coaching for work-life balance and a networking programme and sessions relating to client relationships and satisfaction.
Prietocarrizosa provides a mentoring and coaching program which has successfully run for the last five years. The firm has set up a focus group of 15 female lawyers that meets regularly and discusses issues related to opportunities, developments and challenges of women in the firm.
Zurcher Odio & Raven
Zurcher Odio & Raven offers a comprehensive and structured mentoring programme. The transfer of legal know-how and experience from the most senior female lawyers to the juniors has helped maintain a high percentage (39%) of female attorneys.
Squire Sanders offers a global women's mentoring initiative aimed at attorneys at the very beginning of their legal career. The scheme also offers support in development and professional growth has been successfully running since 2004.
Barrera Siqueios Torres Landa
Barrera Siqueios Torres Landa has a three point structured mentoring programme which involves mentoring partners providing professional support across the firm's structure, lawyers learning 'first-hand' about the firm's work ethic and client relationships, and work experience for attorneys.
López, Villanueva & Heuertematte
LOVILL devotes significant time and resources to various mentoring programmes. These include a formal mentoring programme which partners up junior lawyers with senior mentors, an academic mentoring scheme which encourages participation in legal mooting competitions and the financial support for LOVILL lawyers to pursue funded further education.
Berkemeyer Attorneys and Counsels
Berkemeyer Attorneys and Counsels has a structured mentoring programme within the framework of mentoring allocation strategies and also offers its attorneys fully-funded postgraduate studies.
Hughes & Hughes
Hughes & Hughes aims to develop its lawyers both professional and personally. The scheme notably focuses on enhancing skills in networking, career development and leadership through establishing partner-associate relationships and shared experiences.
Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodriguez
Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodriguez offers its attorneys an education finance aid programme for those at any level of their career who wish to take on further study. The firm has a high retention rate of female lawyers due to the constant mentoring and training offered.
International Law Firm Award
Allen & Overy provides it attorneys with an excellent range of initiatives which help to retain and promote female talent. Amongst its numerous programmes, the firm offers: An active Diversity Committee, A&Out - an internal LGBT network - and 'Improving the Partnership for Women', which aims to assist career progression and retention of the best women lawyers by bringing them through partnership. The firm also has a strong mentoring program that includes language training and international secondments.
Best Gender Diversity Initiative
Cleary Gottlieb has a long history of supporting and promoting women in the Latin America practice. The firm elected its first women partner in this practice more than 20 years ago and today approximately 42% of partners in the practice are female and the majority serve as the main point of contact for key clients.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Weil, Gotshal & Manges has a long and deep commitment to gender diversity globally and the track record to support it. The firm has implemented a number of cutting-edge initiatives, notably Latinos@Weil. Latinos@Weil is comprised of Weil attorneys who have self-identified as Latinos/Hispanics and who come from various ethnic and national backgrounds, such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua and Argentina, with a focus on recruitment and retention.