Women and Men Report Starkly Different Experiences at Big Law

The work experiences of women and men are vastly different within the nation’s largest law firms, according to a new study commissioned by the American Bar Association (ABA).

The study, which surveyed more than 1,300 participants from the nation’s 350 largest law firms, was designed to help retain women, who are leaving the law profession earlier in their careers and in larger numbers than men, according to an Aug. 3 article in The American Lawyer.

The greatest divergence emerged in questions about sexual harassment and gender bias.

  • Unwanted sexual conduct or contact? The answer was yes from 49% of women and 6% of men.
  • Demeaning communications? Yes, said 74% of women and 8% of men.
  • Mistaken for a lower-level employee? Yes, 81% of women reported. Not one man responded yes.
  • Denied a salary increase or bonus? Yes, reported 54% of women and only 4% of men, the study said.

The report also revealed significant differences in perceptions of advancement of women in Big Law between female partners and managing partners.

  • Are firm leaders “active advocates” for advancing women? Among MPs, 80% said yes while 61% of female partners agreed.
  • Do firms promote women into leadership positions? Three-quarters of MPs said yes versus 54% of female partners.
  • Is gender diversity a priority? Of the MPs, 79% said yes, while 54% of female partners answered in the affirmative.
  • Are firms doing a good job of promoting women into equity partnerships? Among MPs, 71% said yes while the number was 47% among female partners.

“The longer I do this, the more frustrated I have become that we continue to have to ask these same questions: Why are there so few women who make it to the level of equity partner? Why are there so few women on compensation committees? Why are there so few women managing partners?” said ABA president Hilarie Bass, who commissioned the study. “It really begs the question of what we need to do to have more women in these upper levels, if in fact almost half of women have left by the time they’re 50.”

The survey asked about men’s and women’s general level of satisfaction within Big Law to help answer the question of why women are leaving their firms. Again, the differences were wide.

  • Satisfied with compensation methods? Yes, said 69% of male partners versus 44% of female partners.
  • Satisfied with recognition received? Yes, said 71% of male partners and 50% of female partners.

For lawyers with more than 20 years of experience, the survey asked about home life responsibilities as well.

  • Do you arrange child care? Yes said 54% of women, but only 1% of men did so.
  • Do laundry? Yes, reported 42% of women and 8% of men.
  • Leave work often for their child’s needs? Yes, reported 34% of women versus 5% of men.

Stephanie Scharf, of Chicago’s Scharf Banks Marmor, said many of the suggestions will be aimed at changing law firms. She is chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and took part in conducting the survey.

“In looking at the parameters where women are much less satisfied than men, all of those factors are pretty much within the control of the law firm,” Scharf told the American Lawyer. “We did not see differences in opinion [between men and women], for example, on the challenge of your work or the individual responsibility of your work. I underline that because I do believe this is within control of the employers.”

The full report will be released around Labor Day.


Given the importance of Millennials and Generation X to the future of the CPA profession, in 2016 INSIDE Public Accounting and ConvergenceCoaching analyzed input from more than 700 young professionals at CPA firms across the country, providing a focused look at what it takes to engage and retain these key team members. You may access the complimentary report.

Benson Joins HLB as Chief Regional Officer for Western Markets

Lisa Benson

Lisa Benson

HLB International has named Lisa Benson as chief regional officer for Western Markets. In this role, she will focus on creating value for North American and Western European member firms.

“Being part of HLB, one of the leading global accountancy networks, is an ideal fit and I couldn’t be happier,” says Benson. “As a leader in the accounting profession I have focused on creating measurable value for the firms I have served. I understand the power of collaboration and have spent my career building relationships and connecting people with the resources they need”.

Marco Donzelli, CEO of HLB International says: “We are excited to work with Lisa on developing Western Markets. Her presence will be of great benefit to our member firms and to our cross border business development plans”.

Bell & Company Joins CPAmerica International

North Little Rock, Ark.-based Bell & Company PA has joined CPAmerica International. Bell & Company is the fourth firm to join the accounting association in 2018.

Founded in 1982, Bell & Company is a full service accounting firm that specializes in the transportation industry, and works with small businesses in all areas of business.

“From the initial meeting with Alan, to being a guest at the Leading Partner Retreat in D.C. last fall, and all the time in between we have already felt the warm welcome from the CPAmerica family and cannot wait to fully engage in its sharing culture,” says Jennifer Bell, VP of Bell & Company. “We are truly honored and humbled to officially join CPAmerica and be among such highly respected trusted advisors.”

As an association of independent CPA firms, CPAmerica provides opportunities for its members to continuously improve. CPAmerica is a member of Crowe Global, which has members in more than 750 offices in 130 countries and is ranked among the top-10 global accounting networks.

“We are excited to bring Bell & Company into the CPAmerica community,” says Alan Deichler, president of CPAmerica. “They now belong to a group that is determined to improve through sharing and where members support each other’s success through discussing best practices, sharing experiences and building professional relationships.”

New MSNA Program Tackles Technological Disruption

Moore Stephens North America has launched a new program to provide informational webinars and discussions surrounding the evolution of technology.

The Digital Transformation Webinar Series brings together discussion leaders from QuickStart Training, CloudPulse Strategies, AICPA and Boomer Consulting, along with moderators from member firms, to provide insights on the technological disruptions accounting firms are facing.

“Our members are addressing the evolution of technology internally, but many are concerned they are not where they want or need to be regarding planning for the future,” says Tony Szczepaniak, CEO of MSNA. “By bringing the conversations into the forefront and engaging our members, we’re taking the guesswork out of it. Our members thrive and grow through collaboration…we’re just giving them the opportunity to do so!”

Members are encouraged to form digital transformation committees within each of their firms, attending the webinars as a group and leading active conversations that stretch beyond the sessions, resulting in the implementation of necessary changes.

“At this point, the what and the why of digital transformation should be clear to firm partners and leaders,” says Cody Page, COO and IT risk services practice leader for Peterson Sullivan of Seattle. “This series is designed to help MSNA member firm committee members focus on the how: educating members on specific technologies impacting the industry and how to deploy them internally and as a service to clients.”

Twelve sessions are available to members through September and address a variety of topics including “Understanding Audit Analytics,” “Preparing for Blockchain’s Disruption of the Profession,” and “Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Public Accounting.”

The Digital Transformation Webinar Series is just one of the association’s new programs, aimed towards advancing member knowledge and enhancing resources. To learn more about the Digital Transformation Webinar Series or other MSNA programs, contact MSNA Program Manager, Audrianna Schenck at aschenck@msnainc.org.

HLB International Appoints New Member in Vancouver

HLB International has appointed a new member firm in Vancouver, Canada, Facet Advisors.

Established in 1998, Facet supports local, national and international businesses and individuals with services in audit, business consulting, succession planning, corporate tax planning, U.S. tax services and personal taxation. In particular, Facet is a full-service accountancy and business advisory firm, helping clients structure their affairs in Canada, the U.S. and internationally.

“Our clients are growing, successful, privately-owned enterprises who do business globally,” says Darren Millard, CEO of Facet Advisors. “HLB is one of the top 12 accounting networks in the world and its member firms undertake significant international work. It is important to Facet Advisors that we have business and taxation expertise worldwide we can draw on, to support our clients’ international needs.”

Facet Advisors is already working closely with other HLB members in the region, Asia and Europe, and forms part of the HLB Canada federation.

TIAG and TAG Alliances Welcome Eleven New Member Firms Across Four Continents

TAG Alliances has begun the first half of 2018 with tremendous growth by adding 11 member firms that span four continents. These new additions bring TAG Alliances’ overall global reach to 295 member firms located in over 750 offices in 110 countries.

The newest member firms include:

  • Al Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal & Co. in Oman (TAGLaw);
  • Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP in Gurgaon, India (TIAG);
  • Calegari & Morris Accountants in San Francisco, Calif., U.S. (TIAG);
  • Camero Camero & Associates in Panama (TIAG);
  • Gecić Law in Serbia (TAGLaw);
  • Marwick & Co. in South Africa (TIAG);
  • Monroe Moxness Berg in Minnesota, U.S. (TAGLaw);
  • Owen Gleaton Egan Jones & Sweeney LLP in Georgia, U.S. (TAGLaw);
  • SEUM Law in Korea (TAGLaw);
  • Varin Wardwell in Idaho (TAGLaw); and
  • WOOIN Accounting in Korea (TIAG).

“This has been a fantastic start to 2018 for the TAG Alliances and all our members around the world,” says Richard Attisha, president of TAG Alliances. “Not only are we growing numerically, but the bonds between our members continue to grow as they leverage the multidisciplinary global resources of TAG Alliances. We are seeing an increase in collaboration, cross marketing and business development between our members. All of this translates into an increase in the volume of referrals worldwide and ensures that our members’ clients receive the highest standards of service and responsiveness wherever they may be doing business.”

Collectively, TAG Alliances members provide legal, accounting, financial and business support services on a worldwide scale. TAGLaw is an international alliance of independent law firms and TIAG is a similar alliance of independent accounting firms. TAG-SP, an accompanying association, consists of strategic business partners for TAG Alliances.

Overheard At The 2018 AAM Summit …

“Brand awareness is one of the worst marketing terms ever invented. Relevance is what you want.” – Jeff McKay, founder and CEO of Prudent Pedal, a marketing consulting firm.

Requiring employees to fill out timesheets is treating your team “like an input and not a creative professional.” – Jody Padar, CEO, New Vision CPA Group, on everyday innovation.

“Don’t let professionalism suffocate personality,” John Garrett, comedian and “Recovering CPA.”

“Pull back and give them space. If they’re going to find their way, they’re going to find it without getting crowded by you,” Guy Gage, owner of PartnersCoach, advising marketers on supporting partners to get involved in marketing without taking on too much responsibility.

“It’s amazing.  When we write things down, they tent to stick with us and they tend to get accomplished.” – Kevin Gienger, MP, Boldt Carlisle, on writing down three priorities for the day and the week.

“If your job gets taken by a bot, your job probably sucks anyway,” Ed Kless, senior director of partner development and strategy at Sage.

“Innovation is more important to today’s customers than relationships.” – Jody Padar

“This blockchain thing is real. Bitcoin may not be,” Ed Kless

On putting the best minds in the firm to work on preparing for the future, Ed Kless says,  “Why do we still have brain surgeons piercing ears?”

PKF International Welcomes New Member Firm in Canada

PKF International announced that Calgary, Alberta-based PFC Accounting has joined PKF International.

PFC offers a wide range of accounting and tax services to mid-market in Western Canada. PFC also provides Management and IT Consulting services to large public companies in Canada and the U.S. They have a particular expertise in assurance and management consulting of oil and gas exploration, oilfield services, construction and steel industries, non-profit organizations, real estate, and tech sector.

“We are very pleased to be part of the PKF International network,” says Erkin Atakhanov, MP. “The relationships we are now forming, both nationally and internationally, will be instrumental in assisting our clients whose growth objectives go beyond their local borders. We will also be well positioned to provide a variety of services to support PKF’s multinational clients who have operations and/or planning to expand in Canada.”

John Sim, CEO of PKF International, added, “We are pleased to welcome PFC Accounting to the PKF family as we continue to expand and strengthen the PKF brand. PFC Accounting fits well with our value proposition of quality with integrity, and also meets our strategic objective. PFC is an important cornerstone firm as we continue to build PKF International’s presence in North America.”

Pic – there should be a PKF logo in the blog imagery already (featured image only)

PKF International welcomes new member firm in Canada

PKF International announced that Calgary, Alberta-based PFC Accounting has joined PKF International.

PFC offers a wide range of accounting and tax services to mid-market in Western Canada. PFC also provides Management and IT Consulting services to large public companies in Canada and the U.S. They have a particular expertise in assurance and management consulting of oil and gas exploration, oilfield services, construction and steel industries, non-profit organizations, real estate, and tech sector.

“We are very pleased to be part of the PKF International network,” says Erkin Atakhanov, MP. “The relationships we are now forming, both nationally and internationally, will be instrumental in assisting our clients whose growth objectives go beyond their local borders. We will also be well positioned to provide a variety of services to support PKF’s multinational clients who have operations and/or planning to expand in Canada.”

John Sim, CEO of PKF International, added, “We are pleased to welcome PFC Accounting to the PKF family as we continue to expand and strengthen the PKF brand. PFC Accounting fits well with our value proposition of quality with integrity, and also meets our strategic objective. PFC is an important cornerstone firm as we continue to build PKF International’s presence in North America.”

CPA Canada Announces New Reciprocal Membership Agreement

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) announced the signing of a Reciprocal Membership Agreement with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).

The agreement, which came into effect June 1, provides for increased recognition of qualified professional accountants and identifies an expedited pathway by which one body’s members are eligible to obtain the credential of the other.

“The signing of this agreement clearly demonstrates the commitment of the Canadian CPA profession to help advance labor mobility through international recognition,” says Joy Thomas, president and CEO, CPA Canada. “These agreements help our members by reducing barriers to global career opportunities as well as attract top talent to Canada which contributes to economic growth as well as social well-being.”

New President for DFK Canada

Nigel Jacobs

Nigel Jacobs, CEO of Hamilton, Ontario-based Taylor Leibow (FY17 net revenue of $12.4 million) has been appointed as president of the national group of DFK International.

He officially took over from Andrew Logan, senior partner of Teed Saunders Doyle, at the annual conference of DFK Canada held in New Brunswick in June.

Chad Knippel, partner at Kingston Ross Pasnak, was made president elect and Beth Porter, partner at Noseworthy Chapman, was welcomed as vice president, becoming the newest member and first woman to serve on its executive committee.

Jacobs joined Taylor Leibow after moving to Canada from his native South Africa in 1994, the same year that the firm joined DFK International, and has since progressed within both organizations.

He was appointed CEO of Taylor Leibow in 2002, one of the largest independent regional accounting and advisory firms in Southern Ontario, and was made vice president of DFK Canada in 2014 prior to becoming president elect in 2016.

“I am really excited to take on the role of president,” says Jacobs. “DFK Canada is in a strong position and Andrew did a great job in terms of furthering our leadership program by making sure we train our future leaders. I intend to build on this platform by focusing on strategic new member recruitment but not forgetting about effective succession planning within our member firms, and engaging more with our younger partners to make us stronger.”

“Technology is also important and we want to help our firms prepare for change so that they stay ahead of the curve,” Jacobs continued. “The beauty of DFK is that we are independent and yet we share best practices to learn from each other which is very valuable for our firms, and I will be looking to further enhance this as part of a strategic review that I am undertaking with our Executive Director Lynn Morrovat.

Reflecting on his term as president, Logan said, “We have made some significant changes in the last two years or so and I think they put DFK Canada in a much stronger position. We moved to an association management firm to run our affairs – and we hit a home run.  We are seeing the rewards and it will leave a very good legacy going forward.”