ABA / WBAI Women in the Law Summit Will Address Gender Bias in the Legal Profession

Women in the Law SummitThe ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession will host a Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law on Tuesday, March 3, at the Dirksen United States Courthouse in Chicago. The Summit will bring together influential leaders from the federal judiciary, law firms, and corporate legal department to discuss the current landscape for women in law and explore takeaways from new research on gender bias and the courts. The Women’s Bar Association of Illinois is also sponsoring the event.

“The Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law will provide a platform for legal and judicial leaders to address the systemic challenges that stand in the way of successful and fulfilling careers for women in law,” said Jayne Reardon, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and a member of the Summit Steering Committee. “The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is thrilled to serve as a co-sponsor for this important event, which will support a roadmap for change.”

The Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law will feature four moderated panel sessions on topics including:

Why Do Women Stay and Why Do They Leave: Findings from the Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law Research Initiative

The Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law initiative set out to understand the barriers that prevent women from reaching their full potential as lawyers and why women leave the profession. Co-chairs Stephanie Scharf and Roberta Liebenberg will share key findings from the research initiative and discuss efforts to develop solutions with ABA Past President Paulette Brown.

What Will Drive Change: Law Firm Leaders Weigh In

Women make up more than 50% of law school graduates and nearly 45% of AmLaw 200 associate classes, yet women somehow represent less than 25% of all AmLaw 200 equity partners. A panel of law firm leaders will discuss what law firms are doing to advance women into roles of leadership, what’s working, and what can be improved.

New Ways to Break Old Barriers: The General Counsel View

Clients and customers are increasingly demanding diversity in corporate leadership, causing companies to look beyond profit and embrace inclusion. What can be done to retain, promote, and develop women lawyers into the role of general counsel? A panel of general counsels will discuss the changes occurring in companies and what barriers still need to be broken to promote diversity.

What Do We See and What Do We Say: A View from the Bench

Gender balance in the judiciary isn’t only important for representation of women lawyers, but also for a balanced rule of law. A panel of judges will discuss their journey to the bench and why diversity in the judiciary enhances the legitimacy of courts. The panel will also discuss the biases they experience and why diverse women’s voices are needed on the bench.

The Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law will run from 12:15 – 4:40 p.m. A reception will follow. Registration is free. The event is approved for 3.75 hours of diversity and inclusion CLE credit in Illinois. Please visit the ABA’s website to learn more and register.

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