The practice of law has historically been a male-dominated field. The same was true at KMK Law, but in 1980 the Cincinnati-based firm hired its first female attorney. This year, 60 percent of their new attorneys
“The tide has really turned,” says Mary Ellen Malas, an attorney in KMK’s Private Client Group who has been with the firm for over three decades. “Women in our firm are soaring.”
And not just in the firm but also in the Cincinnati area. Because KMK Law wanted to connect women so that they could network and share ideas, in 2014 the firm created the KMK Women’s Initiative Committee. Today the KMK Women’s Initiative is led by Malas and Kelley Brandstetter Tracy, an attorney in KMK’s Business Group, both of whom are passionate about this important work.
“This committee has really enhanced the cultural health of the firm and it has spilled over into the community” says Malas. “When people feel like they’re a valued member of a team who are rowing in the same direction, that’s a good thing.”
What began as a way to enhance relationships among women in the firm evolved into something more. KMK began hosting an annual event in which they invite more than 100 women including business owners and community leaders (judges, city council people, and heads of religious and academic institutions) to gather for camaraderie, communication and collaboration.
“We bring a large cross-section of the community together,” says Tracy, “It’s a unique networking opportunity for clients of the firm and other women leaders in the public and private sector across Cincinnati. It’s become a ‘women in the city’ event.”
Tracy notes that they want to make sure that the focus on women throughout the community is a central mission for the Women’s Initiative.
“Though it’s important within the firm, the way we’re working to engage externally is also critical as we work to enable the success of women-owned businesses and the women within those and other businesses,”
Those at the firm are so passionate about connecting women across the community that they have begun teaming up with other businesses to help local causes that are women-centric. As such, KMK Law partnered in 2017 with Johnson Investment Counsel to raise money and materials for Sweet Cheeks, a diaper bank serving underprivileged children, and are in the process of finalizing the organization they plan to work with in 2018. “There are so many great organizations within the Cincinnati community, we are excited to have the opportunity to partner together to make a real difference” said Tracy.
Some women tear each other down. The culture at KMK Law is to boost women up. That is part of the reason the firm has been named to the Top Workplaces list of best places to work for the past five years.
“The support of women in the community is something that not only the Women’s Initiative focuses on but KMK Law feels strongly about,” says Malas.
KMK Law is located at 1 E 4th St #1400, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 513.579.6400 or visit www.kmklaw.com