2020 Agenda

Tuesday, February 25th




Opening Remarks - Conference Chairperson

Patricia K. Gillette,
Public Keynote Speaker and Member of JAMS


KEYNOTE: How Diversity Delivers Improvements and Drives Innovation

In this keynote session Catherine makes the connection between diversity and transformation, continuous improvement, and innovation work. Known for her sense of humor, teaching abilities, and proven abilities to envision, strategize, and execute first-to-market initiatives, Catherine will share her lessons learned from inventing, training, and implementing Legal Lean Sigma®, Legal Lean Design™, and the Legal WorkOut®. These award winning methodologies that bridge frameworks and tools developed by manufacturing to the legal industry are employed by diverse teams with impressive results.

Because process improvement is always done with cross-functional, diverse members who are aligned and empowered to contribute a wide range of experiences, skills, and perspectives, it enables highperforming, high-functioning teams to produce significant improvements. Experiences and research provide compelling evidence that inclusive leadership and diversity are critical for success. The frameworks and concepts of process improvement empower organizations to harness the power of varied, new thinking to develop new offerings as well as different ways of doing and delivering work.

Catherine Alman MacDonagh, JD, CEO and Founder,
Legal Lean Sigma Institute LLC


CO-PRESENTATION: Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law

Why are women leaving the legal profession in material numbers—and what potential solutions exist
for the long-term retention and advancement of women in law?

This illuminating session will highlight an ABA research initiative exploring the unique issues and career dynamics facing women lawyers in practice for over 20 years, and the reasons for their disproportionately high rate of attrition. These senior women lawyers’ professional development entailed substantial investments by their firms and companies over the years, and they have created strong relationships with the clients they serve. Using life cycle models from the fields of sociology, social psychology, and economics, the focus of this
initiative is on the many benefits of women remaining in the profession.


Roberta Liebenberg, Senior Partner,
Fine Kaplan and Black

Paulette Brown,
Senior Partner & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Past President, American Bar Association, Locke Lord LLP




PANEL DISCUSSION: Leveraging Data to Create and Sustain Needle-Moving Women’s Initiatives

What gets measured matters. And what gets measured, gets done. Join us to learn from law firms that are using metrics to measure whether women’s initiatives are producing the intended effect, if they need to be tweaked to have a bigger impact, or if they should be eliminated in favor of another approach. In a discussion moderated by Diversity Lab’s COO, Jennifer Winslow, representatives from leading firms will discuss the research and data they used to develop innovative women’s initiatives along with the measurable outcomes that show what is working…and what is not working.

Jennifer Winslow, Managing Director, OnRamp Fellowship, COO,
Diversity Lab




CASE STUDY/CO-PRESENTATION SHOWCASE: Building an Innovative Diversity and Inclusion Infrastructure for ALL Women

What does it take to develop, enhance or implement policies, programs or processes that promote a
culture where people bring their whole self to the office, have the tools to maximize their strengths,
and explore all of their possibilities for achievement? In this case study attendees will learn about
Hogan Lovells’ journey toward achieving its goals of sustaining and improving its diverse and inclusive
environment. We will discuss the following tools:

  • Making an inventory of your assets
  • Building accountability systems to be inclusive
  • Measuring and benchmarking
  • Innovating

Leslie Richards-Yellen, Director of Inclusion-Americas,
Hogan Lovells

Bendita Cynthia Malakia, Esq., CPC, ELI-MP, Senior Inclusion Manager,
Hogan Lovells


CASE STUDY SHOWCASE: Navigating your Career - Insights from the Perspective of Firm Management

There are numerous and competing dynamics that can influence professional opportunities, career paths, and compensation. Understanding the business model, economics, and strategic goals of the firm can go a long way to providing valuable insight and guidance in shaping the trajectory and success of your legal career. In this case study, attendees will gain insights from Mary Gill (Alston & Bird) who formed and chaired the firm’s Women’s Initiative for 10 years, as well as the “Alternative Career Path,” for which she served as the Advisor. She just completed a 4-year term on the firm’s Partners Committee (which includes compensation decisions), which she also chaired last year.

Mary C. Gill, Partner,




CASE STUDY/CO-PRESENTATION SHOWCASE: A Corporate Journey Toward Gender Parity

Learn about a Fortune 500 Company’s journey toward gender parity. Executive sponsors will discuss the evolution from a grass roots movement to a mature Business Resource Group. Explore how various programming (including mentorship, sponsorship, hackathons, authenticity programming and ally training) has made a difference in the corporate realm, and what law firms might glean from these endeavors.

Vicki Gordan, SVP Chief Auditor,
Unum Group

Michelle LaFond, VP Chief Regulatory Counsel,
Unum Group


PANEL DISCUSSION: Creating the Gender “Tipping Point”—A Strategic Discussion

In 2000, innovative thinker Malcom Gladwell taught the world about the concept of the Tipping Point: “A place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than a possibility. It is—contrary to all our expectations—a certainty.” Have we hit the Tipping Point in the quest for gender balanced law firms—a norm where opportunities, influence and advancement potential are comparable for both men and women? Despite money spent on initiatives, countless conferences, numerous motivational certifications, and research proclaiming the benefits of a diverse  workforce—the numbers say, “not yet.” This discussion utilizes the concepts forwarded by Gladwell to stimulate new ideas about ways to move gender parity in law firms forward. Karen Kahn, psychologist and well-known strategic coach/consultant for law firms, will facilitate a novel discussion among four highly dedicated male law firm leaders about ways women and men can utilize Gladwell’s ideas to further stimulate firms to become entities where both men and women can achieve the success and impact that corresponds to their unique values and aspirations.

Karen B. Kahn, EdD, PCC,
Threshold Advisors, LLC

David M. Hashmall, Chairman Emeritus,
Goodwin Procter LLP
John Iino, Partner, Global Chair, Diversity & Inclusion,
Reed Smith LLP


CLOSING DISCUSSION: Understanding Gender-Based Communication to Combat Bias

It has been said that men and women are so different, they must be from different planets. Clearly, we all come from Earth, but men and women do have different ways of communicating—verbally and nonverbally—which quite easily (and often) leads to some form of communication failure. This disconnect is often a byproduct of a tendency to magnify stereotypes or focus on surface issues, instead of understanding why these differences exist. Diversity is NOT inclusivity. And inclusivity only happens when we clearly understand our differences and engage in practices that combat bias. What can organizations do to combat gender bias and stereotyping? This discussion will educate people about bias, providing tools to create change and connecting the dots from effective communication to establishing equity in the workplace through “inclusive diversity.”

Susan C. Freeman, CEO,
Freeman Means Business


Closing Remarks - Conference Chairperson

Patricia K. Gillette,
Public Keynote Speaker and Member of JAMS



Wednesday, February 26th




Opening Remarks - Conference Chairperson

Patricia K. Gillette,
Public Keynote Speaker and Member of JAMS


What is Growth Mindset? – And Why Your Firm Needs It...

Our mindset impacts how we understand ourselves, our abilities, and the obstacles we encounter. In this highly interactive session, Linda Chanow, the former Executive Director of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, will discuss how developing growth mindsets—both in organizations and in individuals—maximizes potential, increases flexibility and resilience, and ultimately leads to greater accomplishments.

Linda Bray Chanow, Founder, Empowering Strategies Group; Fellow, The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal
Profession; & Former Executive Director,
Center for Women in Law (2009-2019)


INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP-STYLE SEGMENT: Busting the Myths of What It Takes to be a Rainmaker

Building on the nationally acclaimed Rainmaker Study, this session and accompanying workshop will arm you with both the tactics and skills you need to enhance your business development efforts. We will start by demystifying what it takes to be a rainmaker. We will challenge the rubrics that have traditionally surrounded presentations on business development. And, in an interactive workshop, we will work with you to develop and practice the skills that fit your style for business development. You will leave this session with a new understanding of what it takes to be a rainmaker and with new tools to use as you grow your business.


Patricia K. Gillette,
Public Keynote Speaker and Member of JAMS




PANEL DISCUSSION: Learning the Rain Dance: How Women Lawyers Can Forecast Their Own Futures

A look at the women leading practices and firms tells an interesting story. Many are business
development stars who have cultivated successful practices. As business development ability is an
important factor in controlling one’s destiny, it’s an imperative that women have this as a skill set.
In Deborah Farone’s new book, “Best Practices for Law Firm Business Development and Marketing,” the country’s leading rainmakers - from small-to-multinational firms - shared their own methods as to how they’ve worked to develop their practices and how they continue to foster a stream of new business. In combination with tips from the book, and a panel of incredible women rainmakers, we will share how those secrets can be used by other women to produce the practices they aspire to create.

Deborah Farone,
Farone Advisors LLC

Mary Wilson, US Managing Partner,
Palmina Fava, Partner,
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Rebecca Matthews, Partner,
Wiggin and Dana LLP





CASE STUDY SHOWCASE: How Compensation & Operating Culture Impacts Inclusion and Diversity

A law firm’s compensation structure and its operating culture are inextricably intertwined. Choosing
non-subjective policies that govern the firm (in all areas) not only fosters inclusion and diversity, but these policies also play a crucial role in creating an equitable workplace. The compensation model
a firm chooses is the keystone of its business model and ‘sets the tone’ in terms of culture. Kelly
Rittenberry Culhane of Culhane Meadows, co-founder of the largest, national, woman-owned firm in
the US (and NAMWOLF member), discusses why she and her fellow founding partners discarded the
conventional law firm model and created a firm where there is full compensation transparency. Kelly will explain how Culhane Meadows came to make this choice, the compensation structure they chose, and
its impact on the firm’s culture.

Kelly Rittenberry Culhane, Co-General Counsel, Managing Partner,
Culhane Meadows PLLC



Do you worry that your network has gone stale and you need to step up your networking but you don’t know where to start? Do you feel you’ve exhausted your networking efforts but you haven’t had the success you want or need? At this session, you will learn how to systematically mine your network and unearth contacts through a web of connections you had no idea you could reach. You will also learn not only about building relationships but also about making an Ask – whatever that Ask may be. The trick? Listen and get to know a person’s needs, interests and challenges. The more you know, the greater your ability to help. Rather than frame your Ask as a favor, you will learn how to become a resource. You will leave this session armed with action steps and inspiration to be generous and provide value while learning to Ask for what will propel your and other careers forward.

Debbie Epstein Henry, Expert, Consultant, Best-Selling Author & Public Speaker,
Founder, DEH Consulting, Speaking, Writing; Co-Founder,
Bliss Lawyers


How to Get on Public and Private Company Boards

This illuminating discussion will address –

  • Overview of the current public company board make up
  • Why are there so few women on public boards today?
  • What can companies gain by having women serve on their boards?
  • What are the differences and similarities in private, public and non-profit boards?
  • What concrete next steps can you take to prepare to be on a board?
  • Tips on creating a board-ready biography
  • What are boards looking for?
  • How can you be noticed in a crowded field?
  • Future for women on boards (CA SB 826, etc.)

Catherine Zinn, Chief Client Officer,
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP


CASE STUDY SHOWCASE: Actions That Have Had A Direct Impact On the Road to Gender Parity…

The Toronto office of Lerners LLP is a litigation boutique with approximately 50 lawyers. By 2015,
55% of its lawyers and 45% of its partnership were women, more than double the national average
at the time. Today, it is still the case that more than half the lawyers in the office are women and the percentage of female partners has increased. Lerners partner, Jennifer Hunter, will speak about the
firm’s experiences on the road to gender parity, which began in the 1970s, the specific tools that have proved successful, and some of the lessons learned.

Jennifer Hunter, Partner,
Lerners LLP


CLOSING DISCUSSION: Boosting Your Reputation; Enhance your Influence, Build your Brand and Cultivate Powerful Relationships

Having a great reputation is key to professional success. For women attorneys looking to get a “seat at the table”, the ability to develop powerful relationships, gain influence and project a strong personal brand can be critical to being viewed as a leader and strategic advisor/partner. This closing, interactive segment, designed for attorneys/partners/in house counsel, explores the elements required to develop a strong professional reputation while providing a framework for attendees to: (1) identify personal behaviors or beliefs that may be impacting their own professional reputations, (2) learn about ways they can improve their professional brand, assert influence and cultivate those powerful relationships and (3) develop personal action plans that will help catapult their reputations to the next level.

Ellen Cohen, J.D., CPCC, PCC, Executive Coach & Consultant,
EBC Coaching & Consulting


Closing Remarks - Conference Chairperson

Patricia K. Gillette,
Public Keynote Speaker and Member of JAMS