Women’s Leadership Initiative

Program Overview


The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) is for early to mid-stage women attorneys both in firms and in-house legal departments. Women attorneys are significantly under-represented in leadership positions and this program is designed to change that. Women lawyers who participate in this program will gain visibility in practice, increasing the likelihood that decision-makers will view them as leaders and offer leadership roles in the future. WLI is an immersive, case-based learning program taught by all-women faculty.

2020 PROGRAM DATES: March 30-April 2, 2020
PROGRAM FEE: $11,500



HLS Executive Education’s Women’s Leadership Initiative is an intensive program designed to accelerate the leadership potential, experience, and visibility of promising women attorneys who are early to mid-stage partners or who hold a leadership position within an in-house legal department. This immersive, case-based learning program will help participants identify and strategize around their personal leadership style, develop their networks, and strengthen their skills of negotiation and influence.


The Learning Model

Case studies, lectures, classroom discussions, hands-on exercises, and small group discussions focused on law firms and other professional service firms will afford participants the opportunity to discuss the determinants of sustained firm success and effective leadership in such organizations.

In addition to learning the frameworks and tools necessary to cultivate personal leadership styles, effectively manage and influence teams, and become a law firm leader, participants will:

  • Learn how to use design principles to spark creativity and solve complex problems
  • Develop a peer network of women leaders
  • Increase visibility and raise your leadership profile within your organization
  • Practice leadership skills in a supportive program

The Women’s Leadership Initiative is designed for promising early to mid-stage women partners per firm. While the seniority level of participating attorneys will vary by firm, we offer the following guidance:

  • At two-tier (equity and non-equity partner) firms, the most appropriate seniority level is likely that of early equity partner or income partner up for equity partner in the coming year.
  • At one tier firms, since lawyers make equity partner earlier, the most appropriate seniority level is likely more senior in terms of number of years as a partner.

We recommend participants consider attending the program as part of a pair or small team from their firm or organization.

Visit the Admissions page for information on the process.

Our core faculty are members of Harvard faculty – distinguished academicians, educators, researchers, authors, and practitioners in their respective fields. Representing various disciplines, they are close to practice through relationships with law firm leaders and General Counsel and through personal involvement as consultants for top firms around the world.

Program Teaching Team

Hillary Sale

Michele DeStefano

Francesca Gino

Kathleen McGinn

Sheila Heen

Learn more about the faculty by visiting our Faculty page and using the drop down menu (“Search By Faculty Type”) to select the program of interest.