Warsaw based Norton Rose Fulbright Piotr Strawa and Partners partner Magdalena Zienkiewicz advises on how to progress in the legal profession
How do you think the covid-19 pandemic has or will impact gender parity in the legal profession within your jurisdiction?
I do not think the covid-19 pandemic will change anything with respect to gender parity in Poland. It depends on the maturity of a given market/jurisdiction and corporate culture.
What obstacles have you had to contend with during your legal career that related to your gender?
I have never experienced any obstacles in my career because of my gender. I have been lucky to encounter supportive and kind people, both women and men, who helped me get to where I am now. Gender was never an issue in my case. I owe all my achievements to hard work. At the same time, I know that this is not always the case and that some women have very different experiences. Therefore, we should support each other and make sure that the organisations we manage create supportive environment for our development.
From the perspective of gender equality how does the environment in which you work now compare to the one you began your career in?
Norton Rose Fulbright is a law firm very committed to gender equality. From that perspective, it is the best company I have ever worked for. NRF has programs promoting women for partner positions. A glance into the NRF’s main management shows that gender equality has been put into practice. For example, the positions of the Global Chair and of the EMEA Chair are held by women.
Do you feel the legal profession within the jurisdiction where you are based treats women and men equally? If there are inconsistencies where are these most noticeable?
I think that women and men are now in general treated equally, which is the achievement of the last twenty years at least. There are still some inequalities in respect of remuneration but hopefully they will cease to exist soon. Women prove to be well educated, effective and committed to their work. Very often they demonstrate better soft skills which predispose them to management positions.
Who do you consider have been the leading figures in your jurisdiction’s legal profession in improving or challenging gender equality in the last decade and why?
Are there any initiatives within the legal profession in your jurisdiction to promote gender equality?
What initiatives do you have in place at your firm to promote gender equality? Does your firm have other diversity programmes?
Yes, at Norton Rose Fulbright women are well represented at partner level. In the Warsaw office, two out of three partners are women.
Do you feel women are well represented at partner level and in management positions in firms within the jurisdiction where you are based? If not, what do you think can be done to ensure women are well represented in these positions?
Yes, at NortonRose Fulbright women are well represented at partner level. In Warsaw office, two out of three partners are women.
What advice would you give to women in junior positions to encourage them to work towards attaining senior positions?
Reaching senior positions is not a matter of gender. Women often think that they have lower chances to succeed because of gender and that stops them from reaching out for those positions. This way of thinking is the biggest limitation. Getting rid of such preconceptions will free the opportunities.