#PressforProgress: Amanda Aikman

Amanda Aikman is an associate in our New York office in our Litigation Group. Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster, Amanda worked as a prosecutor with the Department of Justice in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division, joining the Department as a trial attorney through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in 2008.

 What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day means pausing to appreciate both the immense strides women have made and the work that remains, as highlighted by recent conversations about issues related to sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination against women. It means reflecting on how I can discuss with and model gender parity for my children—now almost 2 and 4—as they get older.

Describe a way that you’ve seen a colleague at MoFo press for progress.

In an industry where pay and leadership gaps remain at senior levels, I have been impressed by how seriously and thoughtfully MoFo approaches these issues.

Frankly, it was only once I took maternity leave and compared notes with moms at other firms that I fully appreciated this progress. For instance, MoFo reduces billable hours expectations in the weeks immediately preceding and following maternity leave, which helps ease that painful transition period.

These initiatives and others, like signing on to pilot the Mansfield Rule initiative and our reduced hours arrangement (which provides a financial “true up” if you exceed your reduced billable hours requirement), exist because women and men at MoFo advocated for them.

What woman most inspires you, and why?

I am inspired by activist Ai-Jen Poo. She has long been a persistent and effective advocate for the rights of domestic and immigrant workers, including by championing basic labor protections and improved working conditions for domestic workers in New York State and across the United States.

These issues resonate because of my prior work at the UN preventing forced labor and human trafficking (forms of exploitation to which domestic and migrant workers are particularly vulnerable) and because my mother is from the Philippines, which has a sizeable migrant domestic worker population.

Ai-Jen Poo walked the red carpet at the Golden Globes with Meryl Streep as part of the #TimesUp campaign, and also received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2014, among other well-deserved accolades.