The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the launch of a free online CLE that explores the barriers women attorneys face in the current legal landscape. Advancing Women in Law Summit Parts 1 and 2 is based on the Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law, a March 3, 2020 event convened by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession.
The summit featured four panels of diverse senior leaders in law, including chief judges, partners, and general counsels. The panels explored topics like the obstacles that prevent women from reaching their full potential as lawyers, why women leave the legal profession, strategies for advancing women into law firm leadership and general counsel positions, and gender balance in the judiciary.
The CLE consists of two, 30-minute sections that feature highlights from the summit’s panels, as well as key practice takeaways for women in the legal profession.
Lawyers taking the course can expect to:
- Learn some of the potential pitfalls for experienced and senior female lawyers
- Develop strategic initiatives to help lawyers and their firms support women in law
- Understand how members of the judiciary use their position to drive change
- Learn how policies targeting inclusion can have real results
“Despite an increased focus on diversity initiatives and enhanced awareness of the challenges women face in law, the advancement of women into legal leadership positions has been slow,” said Dan Davies, Education Manager at the Commission. “While data from the National Association of Women Lawyers shows that men and women enter associate classes at relatively equal numbers, this drops off as careers advance. This course, which was created to both distill and expand the reach of the important topics addressed at the Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law, helps confront the reasons why. We hope to equip legal professionals and their organizations with strategies to support women attorneys throughout their careers.”
Advancing Women in Law Summit Parts 1 and 2 is available on the Commission’s website. It is the Commission’s sixth online CLE. Each part of the course is eligible for 0.5 hours of diversity and inclusion professional responsibility CLE credit in Illinois, for a total of 1 hour for completion of both Part 1 and Part 2.
The Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law was developed and presented by the Summit Steering Committee. Members included Corinne Cantwell Heggie, Partner, Wochner Law Firm LLC (Co-Chair); Mary Smith, Vice Chair, VENG Group, and CEO and Chair, Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation (Co-Chair); Aurora Austriaco, Shareholder, Valentine Austriaco & Bueschel, P.C.; Kenya Jenkins-Wright, General Counsel, Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission; Eileen Letts, Partner, Zuber Lawler; Pamela Sakowicz Menaker, Communications Partner, Clifford Law Offices; and Jayne Reardon, Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court established the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism in 2005 under Supreme Court Rule 799(c) to foster increased civility, professionalism, and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers and judges, the Commission on Professionalism works to better serve clients and society alike.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director