Today’s headline from UK’s The Lawyer summed it nicely, ‘Reed Smith launches women’s career forum and sacks female blogger.’
Reed Smith fired Denise Howell, a leading blogger, IP lawyer, and mother last week. The firm has been getting crucified in Internet discussion since then. Comments include:
- Slimming down for a merger.
- Firm is having financial problems.
- Proof that big law is without a clue.
- Reed Smith who wanted to be known as innovative will forever be known as the firm that dumped one of blawging’s greatest talents.
- Women continue to lose their jobs because employers cannot put together sensible workplace flexibility policies.
Read between the lines of what Denise posted on her blog about being a mother and a lawyer in a large law firm.
…[F]irms still have a long way to go before being “flexible and creative” transcends the realm of sound bite and recruiting/retention pitch, and enters that of core value.
Reed Smith’s response to the firing’s negative reaction, per the The Lawyer article:
- Reed Smith spokesperson: ‘Her departure had nothing to do with blogging or being a mother.’
- Firm’s launch of its Women’s Career Advancement Workshop in the UK.
- Reed Smith chairman Greg Jordan: ‘Reed Smith is committed to the advancement of our women lawyers.’
The best way for Reed Smith to repair this damage to its reputation is to launch a blog. Ironic.