Michal Rozenboum, Partner - Advocate, Charcon, Ben Ami, Rozenboum, Asher & Co. Law Firm.
How long have you been working for your current company?
I have been a full partner in the law firm for the past 6 years. During the last year, our law firm has expanded and merged and currently, it is known as Charcon, Ben Ami, Rozenboum, Asher & Co Law Firm.
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
I took my first steps as an advocate at a private law firm, as a litigator in the commercial department. I started my career as a civil servant, when I was appointed as head of the Dissolution Department at the registrar of Non-profit Organizations, and later on I was appointed as head of the personal obligation committee at the inquiry department of the Israeli Ministry of Interior, which handles investigations of mayors and head of local authorities' misconduct.
Simultaneously, I was appointed as Director at Ayalon Highways on behalf of the state of Israel. After my last position as a civil servant, I used the skills and professional experience in the public law field and joined as a partner at Rogel, Ben Ami, Roazenboum & Co. Law Firm who recently expanded as mentioned above. As a part of my role in the firm, I established a unique department, which focuses on the regulatory aspects of municipal, governmental and public institutions as well as non-profit organizations.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
In all my public roles, I operated in order to achieve healthy and proper functioning of public organizations, local authorities, the Municipal Corporation and Non-profit Organization. As a part of that, I'm very proud of my evolvement as Board member at "ken- wepower" who works to achieve legislation for equal representation of women in municipal and governmental corporations.
Another satisfying achievement was the recuperation of Chevra Kadisha which is the largest organization in the field of funeral services in Israel. The Chevra Kadisha Organization was managed improperly and therefore a recovery plan was implemented during the period of my Commission, and under my management as head of the Dissolution Department at the registrar of the Non-profit Organization.
I am also proud of becoming a full partner in a law firm which, for more than a decade, was ranked in Israeli and international legal directories as a leading Israeli law firm. I established a unique department, which focuses on the regulation aspects of municipal and governmental institutions
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
I believe that the greatest challenge is obviously the work-life balance and more specifically, the social perceptions of women in this regard. In my field of occupation, I deal mainly with figures that hold key positions, amongst others, politicians, executive managers, etc. While motivated with the ambition to evolve, learn and get ahead, I have also faced prejudices or other false perceptions with respect to gender differences. I had to prove my abilities, talents and professionalism to both my colleagues and my clients. I believe in doing so, and by choosing partners who accept and respect me, regardless of me being a woman, as an equal professional partner. In general, our firm has a very comfortable work environmentfor women which enables our employees to combine career and parenting. This way the gender differences are non-issue, as the focus is always on the main issue discussed.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
Sometimes I find it very difficult to achieve the right balance. Therefore, I have scheduled days on which I step out of the office early; these afternoons are devoted to my kids and family. Thanks to a supportive work environmentand advanced technology, such as e-mail, smart phones and i-Pad, I manage to obtain flexibility while being able to always provide my clients with the best legal services they can find.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
Yes indeed. Adv. Eli Zohar, the founder of Seligman Law Firm which has lately merged into Goldfarb Seligman Law Firm, was definitely my role model as he is a significant figure, who serves as an adviser to the most influential executives in the Israeli economy and state.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
I personally believe that diversity initiatives are important and therefore I choose to volunteer as a member at the board of The Non-profit Organization, Ken - Wepower. We at Ken - Wepower work to achieve equal gender representation in senior executive roles in the Israeli economy such as the directorate at municipal corporations, Israel's parliament etc. The Municipal Corporation represents the public and should have equal representation of its public, all diversities included, and therefore the "Ken - Wepower" motto is: "Like Society- Like Company".
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
Sometimes during my career, I felt that being a female, as well as a mother was a disadvantage, at least in the eyes of some. I personally always did and still do the best I can to convey professionalism. That's my way of thinking and I truly believe that thoughts create reality. In other words, in my opinion, providing clients with the best service in terms of professionalism, reliability and availability at all times is definitely the key to a successful career.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
In the last few years, we have witnessed women achieving executive positions – from executive positions in the law department of state, through the executive positions in the academic field, while the most significant appointment is, without a doubt, that of Mrs. Dorit Beinisch as president of the Israeli Supreme Court.