Empowering Women

Ladder Down is dedicated to the principles of leadership
empowerment, business development, and mentoring

About Ladder Down

Women need to be empowered

Empowerment comes from training and accountability

Ladder Down provides just that

Ladder Down Founders Alison Christian & Beth FitchLadder Down is a year-long program dedicated to leadership empowerment, business development, and mentoring – each of which is critical for women lawyers to better position themselves for success. The course is comprised of monthly large group training sessions and periodic small group accountability sessions.

The large group sessions begin with leadership training from experienced business consultant Lynn Moran. The goal of these sessions is to increase self-awareness, improve communication skills, and understand conflict resolution styles. The course then transitions to a four month business development boot-camp guided by Marianne Trost. Marianne shares tips for developing and sustaining client relationships, increasing visibility, and improving self-advocacy that are specifically geared toward women lawyers.

The last core session focuses on identifying mentors and champions, and the importance of paying it forward. These sessions are balanced with interactive panel discussions with national corporate clients, male partners, and local judges.

Anchor tag here


One of the most important elements of the program is accountability. The small group “accountability sessions” are facilitated by faculty members and are a supportive forum for goal setting, sharing successes, discussing obstacles/challenges, and providing encouragement. Accountability is what drives results and distinguishes Ladder Down from other programs. After the large group covers a particular topic, the small groups meet and set individual goals that must be accomplished before the next session.

Book of Business

In today’s world, having a book of business directly correlates not only to increased compensation and promotion to equity partnership, but also to women lawyers’ ability to exercise self-determination in their careers, to effectively compete for leadership positions in their firms, to negotiate alternative work arrangements (if desired), and to successfully pursue professional opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them. Ladder Down provides women lawyers with the skills needed to develop an independent book of business.

Paying It Forward

To a firefighter, “Ladder Up” means it is time to scale the ladder to help those trapped inside a high-rise fire. It’s synonymous with “help has arrived”! In modern slang, however, the phrase “Ladder Up” has come to represent the practice of achieving success and then pulling the ladder up after you so those below cannot follow [1]. For women lawyers, this definition can have a particular edge to it, as some who have made it to the top of the proverbial ladder of success have been perceived as “pulling the ladder up” after them. Our attention should be focused on how women attorneys can extend their hands down to pull their colleagues up. Or, in other words, keeping the Ladder Down! The first goal of the Ladder Down program is to teach women what it takes to become rainmakers and leaders. The next goal is to teach them how to be champions for other women.

[1] See, e.g., Definition