College basketball dominates office water cooler talk every spring, but Jennifer Zimmerman noticed that many women in Morgan Stanley’s legal department stayed out of the conversation. So Zimmerman, leader of the company’s employee benefits legal group, founded a March Madness bracket competition and encouraged women to participate — even counseling them on how to pick teams.

Five years later, many women in the legal department follow the tournament, giving them an easy topic for elevator conversations with colleagues. The ­winners get lunch with chief legal officer Eric Grossman while the pool proceeds go to charity.

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