CBA Record July-August 2019


Report from theWorkingWomen’s Legal Summit By Jennifer E. Byrne, with contributions from Brittany Kaplan and Tiffani Mims A fter The Chicago Bar Association hosted its first annual Working Women’s Legal Summit on Inter-

national Women’s Day earlier this year, CBA members were inspired to examine gender diversity and unequal pay in the legal profession and to leverage members’ talents to improve outcomes for working women. In the summer of 2019 a steer- ing committee comprising members of the Board of Managers, the Alliance for Women, the Young Lawyers Section Execu- tive Council, and the YLS Women in the LawCommittee joined forces to coordinate a day-long series of speaker programs. The sessions featured a diverse cross-section of legal professionals from government, private practice, academia, and corporate America to discuss issues facing working women today. The sold-out program, which featured 100 in-person registrants, engaged a large group of stakeholders to develop action- able plans to improve gender diversity and women’s equality in the legal profession and in the workforce generally. State of Women in the Legal Profession The Summit began with opening remarks from Karla Fiaoni, former Chief of Police for Chicago Heights who now practices as a private criminal defense attorney. Her comments were followed by a panel discussion entitled, “WhereWe Are,Where DoWe Go FromHere?,” which featured an overview of the current state of women in the legal profession and a discussion with a variety of women leaders who discussed lessons they have learned and career advice for female attorneys. The panel was mod- erated by Sharon Jones of Jones Diversity and included Barbara Dawkins, First Chair, Felony Trial Assistant for the Office of the Cook County State's Attorney; Marci Eisenstein, Managing Partner of Schiff

Catherine R. Landman (center), chief legal and human resources officer for Corelle Brands, was one of the participants in a panel discussion held during the CBA’s Working Women’s Legal Summit in March. She was joined on the panel by Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Barbara L. Dawkins (left) and Schiff Hardin LLP managing partner Marci A. Eisenstein (right). Photo Credit: David Thomas, Law Bulletin Media

Hardin LLP; and Cathy Landman, Chief Legal and Human Resources Officer of Corelle Brands. Sharon Jones shared the following star- tling statistics from the U.S. Census (2018) and the NALP Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms regarding the current state of diversity in the legal profession: Law Firm Associates: • 54% of law firm associates are men, and 46% are women • 76% of law firm associates are white • 14% of law firm associates are women of color Law Firm Partners: • 77% of law firm partners are men, and 23% are women • 90% of law firm partners are white • 3% of law firm partners are women of color General Counsels of Fortune 500 Companies: • 74% of general counsels are men, and 26% are women • 11% of general counsels are lawyers of color

• 5% of general counsels are women of color The panelists provided advice in a number of areas. For example, their advice on how to become a leader in the law included: become a trusted advisor and good listener; develop a sense of resilience; have a strong and stable support system; embrace and be proud of who you are; be flexible enough to know when you’ve made a misstep; use setbacks as catalysts for growth; learn the art of customer service; know your craft; always be prepared for when opportunity arises; and use humor to be relatable to others. The panelists also emphasized the need to understand that your personal definition of “success” will always be evolving. Equally important is understanding that success means striking a balance between personal success and professional success. To improve diversity in the profes- sion, the panelists encouraged everyone listening to find a mentor or be a mentor. They emphasized that female leaders in the profession must lead by example. At the same time, law firms need to create


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