International Women's Day Interview-Jill Cranston Rice

Dinsmore champions women’s rights and initiatives across all industries, and is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day and the unmatched mark of women in all areas of society. We want to introduce you to some of the women, both attorneys and staff, who help make up the fabric of the firm and contribute to help us accomplish more. Each of them has given their thoughts on the significant impact of women at Dinsmore and in society, as we look to a future of creating a more inclusive culture.

Meet Jill Cranston Rice, Partner

How has the firm contributed to your professional success?

Dinsmore has given me a platform to grow my practice. The firm’s national footprint, coupled with the breadth of experience of our lawyers, positions us to provide the best possible service to clients in the most efficient way, and we can handle clients’ needs across state lines and across practice areas very seamlessly.  We are a big firm, so we have lawyers who really know their subject areas.  I don’t do ERISA work, for example, but when we have a client who needs advice in this very specialized, technical area, I love that I can get an answer with a quick call.  That’s a tremendous resource for our clients. 

There is also the support I feel every day from my colleagues and our firm’s leaders – that we all are on a mission to raise the ship together, to work hard to serve clients, to serve each other, to be stewards of our communities and employees, to take care of each other.  We are very value driven, and I am really proud of who we are as a firm. Our firm’s values are really important to me, so that daily motivation – doing what I love and believe in with people I care about – may be what has been the biggest contributor of my professional success.

How do you feel about the inclusive culture and the advances the firm is making in this area?

I love the activities of the Women’s Initiative and our other affinity groups.  They help create a sense of community and provide opportunities to network and develop.  For me, as important as my participation in them – and they are intertwined, has been the firm’s ability to recruit and retain female lawyers who are leaders in their practices, communities, and in our firm.  They are impressive, and I love working, collaborating, and spending time with them as colleagues, friends, and mentors.  We learn, grow, and support each other.  But, let me say this, some of my strongest advocates at Dinsmore are men, so I would be remiss if I left them out because I would not have the opportunities I have had without my male mentors and sponsors.  We truly are a 360 degree, inclusive culture that facilitates success and professional opportunities for women.

What do you feel are still significant challenges for women?

I’ve often said the biggest challenge professional women face is society’s historical, and still stubborn, expectation women carry the primary domestic and child-rearing responsibilities. While the balance has improved dramatically in my 20+ years of practice, it is still a challenge for women who are forced to choose between doing it all, wearing thin, or finding balance that requires some sacrifice that, too frequently, means sacrificing professional opportunities.

With that said, Dinsmore took a big step and sent a strong message to address this by revising its parental leave policy a couple of years ago because it’s an explicit recognition of this challenge, that non-birthing parents should also be able to be home after a birth or adoption of a child to provide care and bonding, and the responsibility does not fall exclusively on one parent.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, tailgating at WVU games, playing golf, and staying active.


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