Women in law series: Kjersti Borgen
In celebration of the International Women's Day on March 8th we’ve asked some of our female lawyers from across our international offices what it’s like being a woman in law today. Read our third interview with Kjersti Borgen, senior lawyer at Wikborg Rein's Oslo office.
Oslo, 08.03.2022: Kjersti Borgen came back to Wikborg Rein in 2018 after seven years of working as an inhouse lawyer and as a lawyer in a trade union. She has worked with employment law since 2008 and we start by asking Kjersti what inspired her to study law.
“My interest in arguments about justice, fairness, and every person’s right to be treated equally and unequal’s unequally. I was quite annoying as a child, claiming and discussing fairness in all possible situations.”
Do you have a female role model in your field?
“I have many role models, both men and women, lawyers, and persons with other backgrounds. Inspiring female lawyers I have been lucky to meet on my way includes among others Susanne Munch Thore, Anette Fjeld, Line Coll and Ingvild Andersen.”
What is it like being a female lawyer today?
“It’s great, and we’re lucky to have a former generation fighting for equal rights before us. However, there are still challenges in our sector, such as ensuring equal opportunities and retaining female lawyers in senior positions.”
Can you think of a story from your studies or career where being a woman either benefited you or posed a challenge?
“As an associate, I was a few times asked by different opponent (male) lawyers to get them coffee. We were both there to negotiate the same case. I am still not sure if they believed I was the secretary or coffee maker, or if this was a strategy or "negotiation technique".”
Do you believe that we need the International Women's Day, and if so, why?
“Yes. From an international perspective, we all know there are still several challenges relating to gender equality, discrimination and unfavorable treatment, which also happens in the workplace. One of the main issues is the continued lack of women in positions of power, from corporate boardrooms to the courts and political leadership in the world. I believe that the lack of women in leadership positions holds back not only women, but also development of diversity and the society in general.”
In your opinion, what should law firms do to recruit and retain female lawyers?
“The short answer to this is diversity in the management team and the partner/senior group. I believe diversity is important for young female lawyers, which includes having senior female lawyers and leaders in the firm. Firms should also especially be aware of the need to communicate with their employees during their first years of becoming a parent.”