In May 2019, the International Bar Association released a report on its survey of nearly 7,000 legal professionals worldwide on their experience with bullying and harassment at the workplace. The statistics were alarming. Over one-half of female respondents, one-third of male respondents, and over two-thirds of non-binary respondents reported being subjected to harassment or bullying at work. Additionally, 40% of women and 32% of men reported witnessing bullying at work. Not surprisingly, of those who report misconduct, the vast majority state that the workplace response was negligible or insufficient.
The American Bar Association, many state and local bar associations, as well as various professional groups report that our profession has difficulty retaining women and diverse lawyers. The legal profession loses so much talent, at least in part, due to feelings of exclusion, inequity, harassment, and bullying. As decision-makers and controllers of the purse strings, in-house counsel are in a unique position to influence the attraction and retention of women and diverse lawyers in their organizations and in the law firms with which they do business. Professional associations that focus on eliminating the revolving door for lawyers in historically marginalized groups, such as Minority Corporate Counsel Association, National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms and Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, provide resources to support in-house counsel to move the needle considerably. We can only make and sustain real change and genuine belongingness if in-house counsel wield their power and lead the profession in combating discrimination and bias that pushes many capable lawyers to leave before reaching their full potential.
In this program, Fran Griesing, Founder and Managing Member of women-owned and operated law firm Griesing Law, LLC, will discuss issues of bullying, harassment, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and how in-house counsel may leverage their role to combat harassment and invest in inclusion in the legal profession.
Francine Friedman Griesing is the founder and Managing Member of Griesing Law, LLC, a women-owned and operated law firm based in Philadelphia with offices in Cincinnati and New York. Fran is a valued, strategic advisor to top executives and general counsel at the region’s and country’s largest corporations and institutions. Fran has over thirty five years of experience representing clients in complex business transactions, high stakes litigation and alternate dispute resolution matters. Her clients include public and closely-held companies, not-for-profit organizations, government entities and executives. After practicing at AmLaw 100 firms and as Litigation Chair for the City of Philadelphia, Fran founded Griesing Law so women could reach their potential in the male-dominated legal field.
Fran has been recognized by Chambers and Partners USA, Best Lawyers in America, Client Choice Guide USA, and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for her expertise in commercial litigation and employment law. She has also been acknowledged as one of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Influencers of Law Lifetime Achievers and Diversity & Inclusion Lifetime Achievers, Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best of the Bar, The Legal Intelligencer’s Women of the Year, Ms. JD’s Sharing Her Passion Honoree, ABA Women in Litigation Joint CLE Conference Women Who Inspire Us;and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers’ Top 50 Women Lawyers and is the recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Education Center’s Excellence in Legal Education Award and the American Bar Association’s Excellence in Legal Writing Award.
Fran is a serial entrepreneur, having co-founded Bossible, a marketing and business development consultancy that helps entrepreneurs, professionals, small businesses and diverse businesses build and execute marketing plans that amplify them as thought leaders in their industries, and GriesingMazzeo Leadership, a training and human resources advisor for small, middle market, women and diverse owned businesses and professionals. She is highly regarded as a trailblazing entrepreneur, selected by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Bank of America as the 2018 Woman Business Owner of the Year and by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia as the 2018 Small Business Person of the Year. She also received the Women’s Business Enterprise Center East WBE Leadership Award. She has been included in Women’s Enterprise Magazine’s Top WBE CEOs, Philly Biz’s Executives of the Year, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year, Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction, Business Philadelphia’s Women to Watch and one of the Governor of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business.
Fran is a highly sought speaker and writer and is also featured in “The Road to Independence, 101 Women’s Journeys to Starting Their Own Firms”, published by the American Bar Association. She has taught Business Law, Public Employment Law and Advocacy Skills at Temple University's Beasley School of Law and Fox School of Business & Management and has been a guest lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Thomas Kline School of Law at Drexel University. Fran is an honors graduate of Binghamton University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review.