The Seattle-based law firm launched LeadBetter to encourage companies to hire women in executive business roles.
Perkins Coie is offering a 15 percent discount on legal services for startups that have at least one woman in a senior executive position.
The Seattle-based law firm launched the program LeadBetter, stylized as Le(a)dBetter, to address the challenges female entrepreneurs face and to help cause change, said Fiona Brophy, a Perkins Coie partner in San Francisco.
LeadBetter, named for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, had a soft launch last month and will continue rolling out services throughout the year. The firm plans to offer networking and mentoring events to female entrepreneurs to encourage more of them.
The 15 percent discount applies to many services early startups often need, such as help with intellectual-property law, real-estate services, executive compensation and employee benefits. Qualifying companies must have at least one woman serving in a decision-making executive position, Brophy said, though the firm is not putting parameters around exact job title.
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Female founders and executives are somewhat of a rarity in the booming startup scene, where white men generally dominate tech companies’ executive ranks.
Brophy has worked in the tech community in the Bay Area for more than 15 years and said she’s seen a shift recently in how people talk about female entrepreneurs.
“In the last couple years, we’ve all seen the barrage of attention, which is good, on these issues of disparity and lack of women entrepreneurs and challenges women face getting funded,” she said.
The ultimate catalyst for Brophy to help form LeadBetter came from her middle-school daughters. For a school project, the girls created a petition urging the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
The petition got more than 7,000 signatures and drew attention from celebrities, including actress Patricia Arquette.
“I thought, ‘If my 11-year-old can do something about this, so can I,’ ” Brophy said.
LeadBetter will start launching events in Seattle this summer.