Women’s Empowerment in Intellectual Property – Part 2

Published: March 31, 2020

Brand & New

Internet Explorer users, please open this podcast episode in Spotify here: Women’s Empowerment in Intellectual Property – Part 2



Cristina Carvalho Firmwide Managing Partner, Arent Fox LLP Washington, D.C., USA

While among U.S. corporations, women now comprise 28 percent of general counsels, the situation is worse in law firms where women represent only about 19 percent of equity partners. In the United States, scores of law firms have signed on to “The Mansfield Rule,” named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman ever admitted to practice law in the U.S. Self-certification with this rule implies that firms must actively consider diverse candidates, including women, for at least 30 percent of open leadership and governance roles in the firm, including equity partner promotions and lateral hires. Many other firms have signed on to implement formal sponsorship programs designed to retain and promote women attorneys to partnership, with the intent of  limiting the high volume of female attorneys who leave the profession before they can get to a leadership position. Intellectual property (IP) law is unfortunately not an outlier to this situation, despite the fact that in law schools IP classes are still mostly attended by female students.

In this environment, today’s guest truly stands out. Cristina Carvalho is the managing partner of Arent Fox LLP, a law firm based in Washington, D.C., USA, with around 450 lawyers globally. She joined the firm in 1997, and in 2016 she was appointed managing partner at the firmwide level.  In this episode, Ms. Carvalho discusses the challenges she faced to raise to the top, the pivotal role of women mentoring programs, what it means to be one of the most powerful women in Washington, D.C., the opportunity and asset of being both a Brazilian and American lawyer, and how IP can ultimately be a tool to promote a more inclusive business field.  This episode is part of Brand & New’s Women’s Empowerment in IP series, reflecting the International Trademark Association’s “The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative.”

Related Resources


To go further:
About Cristina Carvalho
About Arent Fox LLP

Also of interest:
International Trademark Association’s “The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative”
Brand & New podcast (March 8, 2020): International Women’s Day – Women’s Empowerment in Intellectual Property “How IP Rights Empower Women”
Managing IP: “International Women’s Day: IP counsel reflect on gender challenges and progress”
American Bar Association: Making Strides Toward Gender Equality in the Legal Profession”
IP Watchdog: “Are Women Under-Represented in IP Litigation?
Law Practice Today: “Women Are Ready: Is the Legal Industry?”
World Economic Forum: Mind the 100 Year Gap
Washingtonian: “The Most Powerful Women in Washington”

About Brand & New

Brand & New podcasts from the International Trademark Association

Host Audrey Dauvet discusses compelling business and legal topics relating to intellectual property, innovation, technology, and change with an international roster of influential experts and industry visionaries.

Brand & New guests contribute to this podcast in their personal capacity, and the opinions expressed (or experiences shared) are their own. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of INTA or our members.

See Details