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Ida Abbott

Areas of expertise:

  • Mentoring
  • Sponsorship
  • Advancing women
  • Leadership
  • Retaining, managing and developing legal talent

Professional and Practice Profile

Ida Abbott has been helping employers develop, manage and retain legal talent since 1995.  She also serves as a mentor and coach to high achieving individuals seeking professional success. Ida has long been recognized as a leader in the fields of mentoring and sponsorship, leadership development and legal talent management, and is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.

Ida’s practice addresses lawyers’ professional development, particularly mentoring, sponsorship and leadership. Ida is Vice-Chair of the California State Bar Mentoring Task Force and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Legal Mentoring Consortium, on the Board of the Institute of Mentoring, as Special Advisor to the International Bar Association’s Law Firm Mentoring Program, and as a member of the Council of Management Experts based in India. Interested in innovation in the legal profession, she has been a mentor in Law Without Walls, a unique global law school program, since its inception. Ida is a founder and former board member of the Professional Development Consortium, served as Vice-Chair of the Academic and Professional Development Committee of the International Bar Association, and has held many other leadership positions in bar associations and legal organizations. One of the ways Ida promotes effective law firm management and leadership is by bringing leaders together on a regular basis to learn, share and network with each other. She operates Roundtables for professional development leaders in global law firms and for women law firm leaders.

For many years, Ida has been at the forefront of efforts to promote women in the legal profession. She is co-Founder of the Hastings Leadership Academy for Women at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, where she is also a Faculty Fellow. She established and co-chaired the Bay Area chapter of Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) and has served on the California State Bar Committee on Women in the Law and on the Advisory Boards of the New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation and the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia.

Ida’s clients are located throughout the world. They include firms and companies of varying size and complexity, from small and mid-size local offices to global law and accounting firms. Before starting her consulting firm, Ida practiced law for 20 years. She specialized in complex litigation at Heller Ehrman LLP, where she also ran the firm's professional development and pro bono programs. She often served as a judge pro tempore in the San Francisco Superior Court and as a private and court-appointed mediator and arbitrator.

Ida has authored dozens of articles and numerous resource materials, as well as several highly acclaimed books, including Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know, Women on Top: The Woman's Guide to Leadership and Power in Law Firms, Lawyers’ Professional Development: The Legal Employer’s Comprehensive Guide (2nd Edition), and The Lawyer's Guide to Mentoring. She has been a columnist for Diversity & the Bar Magazine and serves on the Editorial Board of Women in Law International. Her newsletter, Management Solutions, can be found on her website, www.IdaAbbott.com. Ida has been featured and quoted in numerous publications and is a popular speaker at national and international professional conferences. 

 Ida received her J.D. from Hastings College of the Law, M.A. from the University of Miami, and A.B. from Smith College.