Catherine is a former corporate counsel and law firm executive. She now teaches and provides training and consulting services with a focus on process improvement, project management, operational and process excellence, innovation, organizational development and strategy. A Legal Lean Sigma® Black Belt and a certified Six Sigma Green Belt, Catherine is the CEO and a Founder of the Legal Lean Sigma Institute, which offers consulting and the first and only process improvement and project management certifications, courses, and workshops designed specifically for the legal profession. Catherine created Legal Lean Sigma®. She also invented the Legal WorkOut®, a collaborative method of engaging in process improvement together that has won multiple awards, including the 2018 Process Excellence Award for Best Business Transformation Project and the ACC Value Champion Award.. Catherine offers coaching, training, and strategic planning consulting services through her practice, FIRM Guidance and is the Chief Enthusiasm Officer of Mocktails LLC, which offers experiential networking training programs for lawyers and everyone else. She is also an adjunct professor at Suffolk Law School and George Washington University (Master’s in Law Firm Management) and a frequent guest lecturer at other academic institutions and highly rated speaker at industry events. She is the author of Lean Six Sigma for Law Firms and the co-author of The Woman Lawyer's Rainmaking Game and The Law Firm Associate's Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills. She is a contributing author to seven books: Design Thinking for the Legal Profession; Redefining Matter Management: A Best Practice Guide to Improving Processes and Profitability; The Lawyer’s Guide to Strategic Practice Management; The Lawyer’s Guide to Project Management; The Bigger Picture: Driving Client Value Through Collaboration; The Lawyer’s Guide to Process Improvement; and The Procurement Handbook. Honors and awards include: Fellow, College of Law Practice Management; Legal Marketing Association Hall of Fame (the association’s highest honor); Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40; two years on the prestigious MLF 50 (Marketing the Law Firm Top 50) List; and several Legal Marketing Association Your Honor Awards. Catherine is a founder of both the Coalition of Professional Services Providers and the Legal Sales and Service Organization, which presents the annual RainDance Conference. She serves as the Legal Marketing Association Northeast Region President-Elect and has a long service history with the association, including: International Board, LMA New England Chapter President for two terms, co-chair of the Education and Sponsor Relations Committees, Annual Conference Advisory Committee and on many task forces. She is a member of the Association of Legal Administrators and serves on the Standards Review Committee, where she is contributing to the development of the Uniform Process Based Management System’s standard code set.
Catherine lives in Boston, MA, USA with her family, which includes three Havanese dogs. She is a sports fan and enjoys cooking and volunteer work.
Linda Chanow is a lawyer, national speaker, non-profit executive, and professor, who has spent more than twenty years working to advance women, particularly in the legal profession and other professions and industries not traditionally hospitable to women. Her renowned educational programs have empowered hundreds of women nationally to achieve fulfilling careers and significant leadership posts in their respective firms, corporations, and associations.
Linda is the Founder of Empowering Strategies and a Fellow at the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. A sought-after speaker, Linda presents to audiences of all sizes on a variety of topics, including leadership, inclusive women’s initiatives, grit and growth mindset, unconscious bias, pay equity, and workplace flexibility. Linda provides strategic guidance to a wide array of stakeholders, including C-suite executives, chairs of global law firms, judges, deans and government officials on how to advance their careers and the careers of women within their organizations. She advises leaders of women’s initiatives on content for training workshops and retreats and how to create programming in which Women of Color and other intersectional women feel welcome and empowered.
Prior to starting her consultancy, Linda led the Center for Women in Law for a decade. Under her leadership, CWIL grew from a start-up to industry leader. At CWIL, Linda conceived, built, and directed the Consortium for Advancing Women Lawyers, the leading convocation of national advocates that gathers annually in New York City. The forum crossed race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and generational identity to advance the cause of all women lawyers. She initiated a first-of-its-kind national study on the experiences of women of color in law schools and directed all aspects of the biennial Women’s Power Summit, a conference for industry leaders that is now one of the most sought- after invitations in the national legal community. For the past five years, Linda also taught a leadership theory course at Texas Law that was oversubscribed each year. In addition to directing all substantive programming and growing CWIL’s influence nationally, Linda increased the annual budget from $150,000 to $1.2 million, built a $2 million plus endowment, and secured reserve funds in excess of $1 million.
Linda has authored or co-authored six publications as well as two op-ed pieces for The Texas Lawyer. Her writings include Power Plays that Matter, Power for Change; Power in Law; Reduced Hours, Full Success: Part-Time Partners in U.S. Law Firms; Actions for Advancing Women Into Law Firm Leadership: Report of the National Association of Women Lawyers National Leadership Summit (2008); and Creating Pathways to Success: Advancing and Retaining Women in Today’s Law Firms (2006)(chaired Reporters’ Committee). She has been quoted or her organization featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, The Austin-American Statesman, Dallas Morning News, The American Lawyer, The Texas Lawyer, ABA Journal, Bloomberg Law, Law360, The Texas Lawbook, HBR Blog Network, Forbes, ForbesWoman, and Postcards (Fortune).
The Texas Minority Counsel Program honored Linda with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and Lawdragon named her one of the 100 Leading Legal Consultants and Strategists for 2018, 2017, and 2016. Linda has been asked to serve on two Presidential Initiatives for the American Bar Association (Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law and ABA Toolkit for Gender Equity in Partner Compensation) and as a liaison to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession for the past ten years. She was a Team Advisor for the first Women in Law Hackathon and is a member of the advisory board for the Bexar County Women’s Bar Foundation LEAD Academy. In 2013, the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association presented her with the Advancement of Women Award. Linda is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Dell Medical School Society for Health & Women. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (Term 2007-10) and co-chaired its Initiative on Advancement and Retention of Women.
Before taking the helm at CWIL, Linda was an Assistant Director of the Project for Attorney Retention, an initiative of the Center for WorkLife Law of the University of California Hastings College of the Law. While at PAR, Linda conducted research regarding flexible work schedules, assessed law firm and law department policies on flexible work schedules, and provided implementation guidance to legal institutions.
Linda began her legal career as a commercial litigator at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. after graduating magna cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law in 1999. While in law school, Linda focused on employment law and worked with Distinguished Professor of Law Joan C. Williams on the development of her book, UnBending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It.
Paulette Brown Senior Partner & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Locke Lord LLP
Paulette Brown is the first woman of color to lead the American Bar Association (ABA) in its then 137 year history. As the leader of this 400,000 voluntary member organization, Brown was responsible for governance, advocacy and serving as the voice and face of the ABA. As a result of her initiatives as president seven major policies were developed and approved by the ABA’s governing bodies that will have a long lasting impact on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and justice system. Brown simultaneously served as Chair of the Labor & Employment Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association becoming the first person of color to hold that position in 140 years. Brown also served as president of the National Bar Association and led a delegation to monitor the first free and democratic elections in South Africa. She currently serves as the Chair of the Africa Council for the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative.
Brown is a senior partner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Locke Lord LLP and has been engaged in the practice of law for more than forty (40) years. Prior to her current role, she has served in numerous legal capacities including a number of in-house positions and as a Municipal Court Judge.
Brown is nationally recognized for her dedication and efforts relating to diversity & inclusion, including the impact of implicit bias and is a frequent speaker and educator on both. Brown served on the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession and during her tenure, she had the opportunity to serve as the Co-author of the nationally acclaimed Report, Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms. Following the launch of that report, Brown formed an organization, now in its 12th year, “Women of Color Law Collective”, providing a safe environment for women of color focusing on cross-generational personal and professional development. Brown is currently the co-chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Research Study on the Long term careers of Women of Color in the Legal Profession.
She has been recognized for her commitment to community service and to the advancement of women and women of color. Resulting from her commitment to community service and in recognition for her esteemed career, Brown has won numerous awards and honors, including being named by the National Law Journal as one of the most 50 Most Influential Minority Attorneys in the United States, by Savoy Magazine as one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate Business, recognized by U.S. News & World Report on its list of Best Lawyers in America and a NJ Super Lawyer since its inception. She is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American Law Institute.
Brown has received numerous awards including the C. Francis Strafford Award, the highest award bestowed by the National Bar Association, The ABA’s Margaret Brent and Spirit of Excellence Awards, The Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Award of Excellence, The Equal Justice and Gertrude Rush Awards from the National Bar Association and the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Garden State Bar Association.
Brown is proud to have received the Outstanding Graduate of the Year from Howard University, Alumni of the year from Seton Hall University School of Law and three honorary doctorate degrees.
ELLEN COHEN, J.D., CPCC, PCC is an executive, business, career and wellbeing coach with over 10 years' experience, certified by both CTI (CPCC) and International Coach Federation (PCC) who works with corporate executives and lawyers across many industries to enhance their productivity and effectiveness, build leadership skills, and cultivate wellbeing and resiliency. Her coaching style incorporates scientific/neuroscience-based coaching, emotional intelligence skills and well-being modalities all designed to help her clients stand out.
With 20 years’ experience as an entertainment attorney, Business Affairs attorney and senior executive negotiating high level talent and business deals in film, TV and digital for major studios including Disney, Sony, Microsoft, Fox, and Showtime, Ellen has a particular expertisein working with lawyers both in law firms or in corporate environments includingGeneralCounsel, Business/Legal Affairs andCorporate Legal departments to help them and their team/associates (1) build relationships across different internal functions and clients, (2) enhance their ability to be influential, develop a meaningful professional brand and departmental mission statement and (3) cultivate powerful relationships. Ellen is an enhanced practitioner in Conversational Intelligence (CIQ) which is about the neuroscience of communication and how our interactions impact our neurochemistry. Additionally, she has studied the neuroscience of stress and its impact on performance, leadership, team building, and interpersonal relationships and her programs incorporate this knowledge to improve productivity, effectiveness and job satisfaction. As a result, she has many resources to offer her clients to deepen their own knowledge, develop new skills and explore new behaviors and habits both within their professional and personal lives.
Representative clients include EVP/SVP/VP level corporate executives in many areas from IT to Finance to Sales to Business Development; Attorneys including Partner/executives at major law firms, General Counsel and in-house attorneys; medical professionals including doctors, medical director; and PhDs at such prestigious companies as Latham & Watkins, Boston Scientific, IMAX, Kaiser Permanente, City National Bank, University of Pennsylvania, Los Angeles County Health, The SEC, CVS, BMI and Cap Gemini.
Ellen received her J.D. from Emory University School of Law and a double B.A. from Brandeis University in Philosophy and French Language & Literature. She also admitted to practice law in the state bars of CA, NY, FL & GA. She earned her coaching certification credentials from CTI and was awarded the PCC credential from International Coach Federation (ICF). She is also a 200 hour Certified Meditation Teacher (Unplug Mediation) and a 550 Hr. Certified Yoga instructor (YogaWorks). She is a contributing editor to Attorney At Law Magazine - Los Angeles edition where she writes about executive coaching issues facing attorneys. She is also a member of the ABA Attorney Well-being committee.
You can find out more about Ellen at Ebccoaching.com
Debbie Epstein Henry is an expert, consultant, best-selling author and public speaker on careers, workplaces, women and law. Debbie runs DEH Consulting, Speaking, Writing and consults with and speaks at events for companies, law firms and other professional service firms as well as non-profits. She regularly speaks at private retreats and events as well as at conferences and other public venues. Debbie’s international work includes multiple engagements in The Hague as well as in Paris at the French Senate and in London and Vienna and other cities abroad. For 20 years, hundreds of news outlets have featured her work including The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and The National Law Journal.
Debbie runs the DEH Speaker Series, offering programming with New York Times best-selling authors, TED speakers, and thought leaders in NYC and by webcast, drawing more than 1,000 participants per quarter. In 2007, she conceived of the Best Law Firms for Women initiative, a national survey she developed and ran for a decade with Working Mother to annually select the top 50 law firms for women and report on industry trends. Debbie is the author of LAW & REORDER, the #1 best-selling ABA Flagship book for 2011 and the co-author of another ABA best-selling Flagship book in 2015, FINDING BLISS. By 2008, her public speaking, press exposure and advocacy enabled her to build a national network of over 10,000 lawyers. From there, in 2011, Debbie co-founded Bliss Lawyers, a company employing high caliber attorneys to work on temporary engagements for in-house legal department and law firm clients. In 2020, Bliss Lawyers was acquired by Axiom, the global leader in high-caliber, on-demand legal talent, and she now serves as their executive consultant.
Debbie volunteers her time with a number of non-profits. She is Vice President of The Forum of Executive Women, a nomination-only, membership organization of the top 450 women in business in Philadelphia. Debbie also sits on The Forum’s Board and co-chairs its annual Leadership Symposium. Additionally, she chairs Brooklyn Law School Women’s Leadership Circle which runs a national women’s law student and alumnae initiative. Debbie has received numerous awards including being named among the Philadelphia Business Journal‘s "Women of Distinction.” In 2017, Debbie received the Anne X. Alpern Award, presented annually to a female lawyer who demonstrates excellence in the legal profession and who makes a significant professional impact on women in the law. She received her B.A. from Yale and her J.D. cum laude from Brooklyn Law School. A native New Yorker, Debbie lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband; they have three sons.
Deborah Farone has had the unique opportunity to play a role in developing the best practices in legal marketing by working with the most respected and most demanding professionals in the world.
Her advisory practice focuses on helping law firms with their strategic planning, marketing strategy, training and development, as well as moderating and speaking at law firm partner retreats and workshops. She is the author of the best-selling legal marketing book, “Best Practices: Marketing and Business Development for Law Firms” (PLI 2019), a book based on more than 60 interviews with leading law firm leaders and marketers, general counsel, and innovators in the profession. Heidi K. Gardner, PhD, Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, has called Deborah “the leading expert in law firm marketing. Not only has she studied this complex topic from the peak of the legal profession, her research into what works and what doesn’t is priceless for anyone interested in growing their business.” The book is carried by bookstores of the country’s highest ranked law schools, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia.
Over the past two decades, Ms. Farone has carved out a niche by distinguishing herself as the chief marketing officer of two of the United States’ most prestigious law firms, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Prior to diving into the legal marketing profession, she honed her business development and communications skills by working at Towers Perrin (now Willis Towers Watson), a global management consulting firm.
Ms. Farone has also been involved in the academic arena. She recently spoke at Cornell Law School and at Fordham Law School, and has served as an adjunct Assistant Professor on the faculty of New York University. While at NYU, she developed and taught several courses, including “Effective Marketing and Public Relations for Professional Service Companies” and “Marketing and Public Relations for Law Firms,” the first course of its kind offered by a major university.
Ms. Farone co-chairs the annual PLI program “All Stars in Business Development” along with Brad Karp, Chairman of Paul Weiss. She is a past President of the Legal Marketing Association’s New York Chapter and past Chair of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s marketing communications committee. Ms. Farone is a charter member of the Luxury Marketing Council and a member of the National Investor Relations Institute and Ellevate. Ms. Farone serves as an advisor to the Chairman of the Board of the New York Public Library. Several years ago, she was an appointed member of the International Trademark Association’s public relations task force.
Ms. Farone was recently inducted as a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. She was also recently honored with the Legal Marketing Association’s Legacy Award, in recognition of making “a distinguishable mark on the chapter and the profession.” In addition, she was an honoree at the YWCA’s Women Leader Luncheon and serves as a member of the organization’s Academy of Women Leaders. For many years, Ms. Farone served on the Board of Directors of The Girl Scouts Council of Greater New York.
Ms. Farone has a B.S. in Marketing and Mass Communications from Boston University’s College of Communications, graduating magna cum laude. Upon graduation, she was the recipient of the College’s Alumni Award for Student Excellence and a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.
With over 20 years of experience, Palmina represents clients in internal and government investigations, litigation, and corporate governance counseling, with a principal focus on matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), international anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and anti-bribery laws, accounting irregularities, bid rigging and unfair trade practices, off-label pharmaceutical marketing, misappropriation of trade secrets, fraud, cybersecurity, and data privacy.
Palmina regularly represents companies in matters before the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), other federal and state agencies, and international regulatory bodies. She leads teams in investigations in Latin America, throughout Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Relying on her extensive language skills, she is capable of assisting clients in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English.
Palmina also designs and implements comprehensive, practical, and user-friendly corporate compliance programs tailored to a client’s particular risks and growth strategies. She provides employee and third-party training; conducts proactive reviews of a client’s high-risk business areas; structures commercial arrangements to protect against compliance risks; and handles due diligence of agents, joint venture partners, and targets in mergers and acquisitions or other investment transactions.
Palmina’s litigation practice focuses on commercial, business tort, and intellectual property disputes. She has served as lead litigation and trial counsel in matters involving breaches of fiduciary duty, breaches of contract, fraud, negligence, misappropriation of trade secrets, and insurance coverage. She has tried and defended cases in federal and state courts, and before arbitration panels, and represented clients in appellate arguments, mediations, and negotiations.
Susan’s goal is to help women in business communicate effectively with the world -- and to help men communicate effectively with women in business!
Susan’s training draws on her experiences as a sales executive in the financial services industry, her business development and leadership training in the legal industry, and her graduate-level studies in Communication.
Susan’s passion for helping women succeed is long-standing. She co-founded “Women’s Business Connection” in Massachusetts and “Girl Power” with over 6,000 followers. She has also taught “Girls in Politics,” a program created to introduce girls to politics, policy, and the branches of government. Susan recently completed Cornell University’s “Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship” program of studies. Her enthusiasm for the benefits of building meaningful relationships has made her a great connector and as such, she has over 15,000 followers on social media. As an ENFJ, she excels at building relationships and teaching others to do the same. She helps professionals communicate effectively in order to develop new business. She trains professionals to use client-centric insights to assess needs and identify solutions that meet strategic goals.
Susan was graduated with honors from Hawaii Pacific University with a Master of Arts degree in Communication and she was graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Political Science and Journalism, with a minor in Marketing. She also studied Marketing at Northeastern University in Boston. Susan has lived in Louisiana, Switzerland, Italy, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and now, California. Throughout her sojourns, she has developed a large, interconnected circle. Susan lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Mike Futrell.
With more than 35 years of experience, Mary Gill is the senior woman in Alston & Bird’ Securities Litigation Group. She has been lead counsel in securities, financial services, and complex transaction-related litigation across the country. Mary is highly experienced in representing companies and financial institutions and their officers and directors in litigation, investigations, and enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and other regulatory agencies. As a member of the executive committee, she helped lead the Enron investigation on behalf of the Bankruptcy Examiner.
Pat Gillette is one of the country’s leading experts and most sought-after speakers on gender diversity and equality. She was rated as a top employment litigator and trial lawyer by Chambers and other organizations for 40 years and was a leader and rainmaker in her firms, At the end of 2015, she resigned to pursue her passion for empowering women through keynote speaking and writing. She was also invited to join JAMS to mediate employment cases.
Ms. Gillette’s newest book, “Rainmakers: Born or Bred” is filled with practical tactics and strategies that can be easily implemented to enhance business development skills and books of business. The book highlights the nationally acclaimed Rainmaker Study and includes helpful tips from rainmakers and clients across the country. This groundbreaking study, coupled with Ms. Gillette’s insights from her own experiences, brings a fresh perspective and approach to business development.
Ms. Gillette has been widely recognized for her work to advance women in the profession. Most recently, she was chosen as the 2018 recipient of the ABA Margaret Brent Award, the highest honor given to women lawyers for professional achievements and advancing the interests of women lawyers. She has also received the ABA Golden Hammer Award, the California Women Lawyers Association’s Fay Stender Award, the Transformational Leadership Award as one of the Top Women Rainmakers, and the Barristers Association of San Francisco Award of Merit.
Ms. Gillette is the co-founder of the Opt-In Project, a nationwide initiative focused on changing the structure of law firms to increase the retention and advancement of women. Ms. Gillette has been a Commissioner on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, a member of ABA’s Gender Equity Task Force, Co-Chair of the BASF No Glass Ceiling Initiative, and she serves on several non-profit boards dedicated to protecting and promoting women, including Equal Rights Advocates and DirectWomen,
Ms. Gillette is the proud mother of two successful and enlightened sons and lives in Kensington, California with her husband of 40+ years. She was an elected official in her town and is active in political and community organizations and activities.
Vicki Gordan is Senior Vice President, Chief Auditor, responsible for the Internal Audit, Internal Controls, and Internal Claims Audit functions for Unum Group. Previously, Gordan has held a number of different positions within Unum, including Vice President and CFO, National Client Group & US Business Development; Vice President of Business Development, Planning and Metrics for the Benefits Center; Vice President, Underwriting Services and Metrics; Vice President, Corporate Planning; Vice President, Customer Model; Vice President, Group Universal Life and Life Macro Risk; Vice President, Corporate Strategic Planning and Development; and Counsel, Mortgage and Real Estate Investments.
She is also a co-executive sponsor of Unum’s Women’s Professional Network. She graduated from Bates College with a BA in History; received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maine School of Law; and received her MBA from the University of New Hampshire.
She also is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She is active on several boards and charitable organizations in
David M. Hashmall serves as Chairman Emeritus of Goodwin, a leading Global 50 firm with more than 1,200 lawyers across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Mr. Hashmall led the firm as Chairman from 2014 to 2019, and under his leadership Goodwin grew from a primarily U.S.-focused firm into a global leader with over $1 billion in revenue. During his tenure, Goodwin expanded in Europe with office openings in Frankfurt and Paris, unveiled a new brand reflecting the firm’s unprecedented work, sharpened its focus on key client industries and talent, and brought value to clients by focusing on both the business and practice of law. He founded and led the firm’s Inclusion Advisory Committee and throughout his tenure as Chairman leveraged the power and visibility of his position to promote greater diversity and inclusion at Goodwin and in the broader legal community. As Chairman Emeritus, in addition to returning to his IP litigation practice, he continues his focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives at Goodwin and more broadly.
Prior to becoming Chairman, Mr. Hashmall led Goodwin’s Litigation Department in New York for over 10 years. He has more than 40 years of experience litigating complex commercial disputes at both the trial and appellate levels. His extensive IP litigation experience is concentrated on patent infringement in the pharmaceutical industry, with a specific focus on Hatch-Waxman litigation. His efforts on behalf of clients have earned him distinction as a BTI Client Service All-Star, a designation determined by BTI’s annual in-house counsel survey. He has also been recognized as a leading IP lawyer by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, where clients have called him “a terrific trial lawyer” and “a great relationship partner.”
Jennifer Hunter is a partner at Lerners LLP. Her practice focuses on civil and administrative litigation in the areas of insurance defence, cyber litigation, professional regulation, health and appellate advocacy. She has appeared at all levels of the Court in Ontario, and before various administrative tribunals and regulatory college disciplinary proceedings. She was recognized in the 2020 Edition of Best LawyersTMin Canada for her work in the area of Medical Negligence.
Jenn is the only partner at the firm with a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma, and applies this expertise in project management by serving as the co-Chair of our Support for Litigation in E-Discovery Committee (SLED), which oversees all things related to the use of technology in the practice of law for Lerners, and as a member of the Digital Leadership Committee, creating a strategic plan to set out how the firm will improve its leverage of technology to better serve clients by focusing on innovation and efficiency.
She is also a leading member of the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, focused on developing both internal and external facing efforts to establish Lerners as a leader in this area. She also served as a key member of the organizing committee for the Firm’s annual Extraordinary Women’s Event. Now in its 15th year, this marquee event brings more than 200 women from a wide range of professions together to network and build relationships in an environment in which they can be their authentic selves. She is also a mother to two active sons and avid music lover and concert goer.
John Iino Partner, Global Chair, Diversity & Inclusion
Reed Smith LLP
John is a proven change agent, helping individuals and organizations achieve excellence through his experience as a global law firm leader, diversity professional and executive coach. He serves as Reed Smith’s Chief Diversity Officer, leading Reed Smith’s efforts to sponsor and achieve diversity and inclusion in the legal community. He is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) from the Institute of Diversity Certification. Some of the most notable accomplishments during his tenure as Reed Smith’s CDO:
• Recognized as one of the top three major law firms to receive the Thomas Sager Award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association for diversity & inclusion programming and successes (2019)
Increased number of women lawyers by 15%; increased number of diverse lawyers by 20% (2016-2019)
Decreased attrition of diverse lawyers from 21% to 11% (2016-2019)
John also serves as a Professional Coach, and received his training from The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). His coaching has helped numerous individuals reach their goals and achieve greater awareness.
John is a member of Reed Smith’s Global Leadership Team and an ex-officio member of the Talent Committee of the firm’s Executive Committee. He previously served as Global Chair of Reed Smith’s Business & Finance Department, Chair of the U.S. Corporate & Securities Group and Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office. In 2010, John became the first Asian American to serve on Reed Smith's Executive Committee and Senior Management Team. He previously served as the Chair of Reed Smith's Asian American Affinity Group. John was recognized as “Nation’s Best (Western Region)” by Lawyers of Color (2019) and was one of the inaugural recipients of the “DiversityFIRST™” Award from the California Diversity Council (2019). He was named among the top 500 ''Most Influential People in LA'' by the Los Angeles Business Journal (2018) and has been named ''One of the Nation's Most Influential Minority Attorneys'' for two consecutive years (2014-2015). John received the ''Lifetime Achievement Award'' at the Los Angeles Business Journal's Asian Business Awards (2016), the "Volunteer of the Year" Award from Ednovate, Inc. (2019), the Leadership Award from the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association (2017) and the President's Award from the USC Alumni Association (2017).
He is a frequent speaker and trainer on topics such as diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership and law firm management.
Karen, the Founder and Managing Partner of Threshold Advisors, LLC, a growing “collaborancy™” that focuses on developing talent in the legal industry, is a professional who answers the request, “Tell me something I don’t know,” with fascinating responses. She lives on the cutting edge of new ideas and is driven to find new ways to solve old problems as is illustrated in her book Daunting to DOable: You CAN Make It Rain (2015).
Powered by her knowledge as a psychologist, talent as a certified coach, and respected expertise working with lawyers at various levels and roles, Karen has developed a reputation among law firms and law departments as the “go- to” person to generate success in the ever changing world of being an attorney.
The expanse of her work is vast: strategic business development, leadership skills (particularly implementing collaborative models) and building/strengthening gender initiatives that have a true ROI for firms and organizations to name a few. Personally and professionally she is a strong believer and implementer of the people helping people philosophy; she practices what she teaches (and coaches). Whether delivering a program/seminar, consulting with a law firm, or coaching attorneys, Karen seeks to be a valuable, active contributor. Her belief in inclusivity, the power of community, operating with a clear vision, and strong sense of purpose allows her to help organizations take action toward developing cultures where individuals stay and succeed. She accomplishes these goals in one-on-one, group, and workshop formats as well as through organizational collaboration and consulting.
Karen is a frequent presenter for organizations including the National Association of Women Lawyers, Legal Marketing Association, and National Association of Law Placement.
Before founding Threshold Advisors, Karen maintained a successful private coaching/psychology practice. She also established herself as a thought leader through her activities as a university professor, author, and developer/leader of more than 1000 seminars and workshops
Karen earned her doctoral degree in psychology from the University of Virginia in 1977, following an internship at The Ohio State University. She received a B.A. with honors from Trinity College in Connecticut in 1973.
Karen happily resides on the beach in Westport, Connecticut from which she frequently commutes to New York City. Spending time with family, friends and her two golden retrievers and pocket boxer, and basking in the excitement of her children who are following their passions brings smiles to her face.
Michelle is VP & Chief Regulatory Counsel for Unum, a global Fortune 500 financial services company that helps people gain affordable access to disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision benefits through the workplace. Michelle is a regulatory and legal insurance expert known for being proactive, creative and client focused. She leads a team responsible for all regulatory and product compliance matters in the United States.
At Unum she previously ran a legal team that provided counsel to the sales, service and underwriting business areas. Michelle has also been a litigator both at Unum and as a partner in a litigation law firm in Portland, Maine.
Michelle is committed to supporting women and is an executive sponsor for Unum’s Women’s Professional Network Employee Resource Group and a leadership advisor for the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute.
Michelle has been an active volunteer, serving on multiple Boards of Directors and founding and coaching a high school debate team that had nationally ranked debaters and won four state
championships. She has held volunteer leadership positions for Dartmouth College and Maine Law, her alma maters.
Roberta (Bobbi”) Liebenberg, a partner at Fine, Kaplan and Black in Philadelphia, focuses her practice on antitrust and class actions. She has been appointed by courts to represent plaintiff classes in many class actions, and is now Lead Counsel for the End Payer Purchaser class in the Generic Pharmaceuticals Pricing Antitrust Litigation, which is the largest pending antitrust MDL in the country. She was one of trial counsel for the class in the Urethanes Antitrust Litigation, where a $1.06 billion judgment was entered against Dow Chemical Company after a four week jury trial. That was the largest price-fixing judgment ever. The judgment was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit and during Dow’s appeal to the Supreme Court, it settled for $835 million, the most ever obtained from a single defendant in a price-fixing case. She has also defended Fortune 500 companies, including Southwest Airlines, in class actions and other complex commercial litigation.
Ms. Liebenberg has chaired numerous organizations devoted to gender equality in the profession, including the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the ABA Gender Equity Task Force, the ABA Presidential Initiative on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law, DirectWomen (the only organization devoted to increasing the number of women attorneys on corporate boards), the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations’ respective committees on women in the profession, and the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness. In these leadership roles, she has spearheaded a number of initiatives, studies, and publications concerning the gender pay gap, the under-representation of women lawyers in equity partnerships and positions of power and influence, implicit bias, sexual harassment, and myriad other issues of importance to women lawyers. Working in collaboration with Stephanie Scharf, Ms. Liebenberg has been at the vanguard of cutting-edge research addressing the dearth of women in lead roles at trial (“First Chairs at Trial-More Women Need Seats at the Table”) and the high rates of attrition of experienced women lawyers from private practice (“Walking out the Door: The Facts, Figures and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice”). In those groundbreaking publications, Ms. Scharf and Ms. Liebenberg provide concrete best practices and solutions to create a more level playing field for women lawyers.
Ms. Liebenberg has received many awards and honors, including induction into the American Antitrust Institute Private Enforcement Hall of Fame, the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the Lynette Norton Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Sandra Day O'Connor Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Florence K. Murray Award from the National Association of Women Judges, the Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award from the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, the Martha Fay Africa Golden Hammer Award from the ABA Law Practice Division, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Corporate Counsel and Inside Counsel magazines, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s “Influencers of Law-Lifetime Achievement Award,” the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Distinguished Leader Award from The Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia's daily legal newspaper, and the “Outstanding Achievement Award” from Chambers Women in Law. She was named by former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell as a "Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania,” was named by the National Law Journal as one of the “50
Most Influential Women Lawyers in America,” was named by the National Law Journal as one of the country’s “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar,” and was named by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the “Best of the Bar.”
Bendita Cynthia Malakia is Senior Inclusion Manager at Hogan Lovells. Her vision is to transform the legal profession into an inclusive industry where women, minorities, LGBT+, differently-abled and other professionals are able to thrive. She works with Leslie Richards-Yellen, the Director of Inclusion-Americas, and the Americas Inclusion team to create and implement the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy, integrate diversity into all aspects of the firm, and to leverage diversity and inclusion for the benefit of our clients, our diverse lawyers and business services professionals and our culture. Bendita works to create meaningful opportunities for our diverse lawyers to develop and advance, senior management to learn and be catalysts for diverse and inclusion, and for our clients to engage in the firm in mutually beneficial partnerships that center diversity and inclusion.
Bendita practiced law for nearly a decade and draws on her experiences as a large law firm lawyer financing projects in emerging markets, in-house counsel at International Finance Corporation and Goldman Sachs, a diversity consultant for large and mid-size organizations, and a certified professional coach to catalyze change in institutions and individuals. Bendita was honored as a 2015 Rising Star by Super Lawyers, to Who’s Who Legal – Project Finance in Washington, DC for 2015, and to Who’s Who in Black Dallas in 2016 and 2017.
Bendita invests in increasing inclusivity in the legal profession through service as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the National LGBT Bar, as a member of the Institute for Inclusion in Legal Profession’s Social Impact Incubator, and as part of the national Mansfield Rule Taskforce, implementing the transforming diversity rule in the legal industry. She previously spent nearly a decade as a member of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Real Estate Academic Initiative. Bendita is a proud graduate of Barnard College and Harvard Law School. You can connect with Bendita at www.linkedin.com/in/bendita
Rebecca Matthews is a Partner in Wiggin and Dana’s Health Care and Corporate Departments, Chair of the firm’s Academic Medical Centers, Hospitals and Health Systems Practice Group, and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She counsels health care clients through significant and strategic transactions to help them accomplish their business objectives and improve care in their service areas. Her understanding of health law and the health care industry has helped clients successfully navigate the uncertainties of a constantly changing regulatory environment.
Rebecca has guided clients through mergers and affiliations, acquisitions, joint ventures, and corporate reorganizations. Her health care regulatory experience includes certificate of need matters, licensure matters, HIPAA, fraud and abuse, and other Medicare compliance matters. Rebecca also advises academic medical centers, universities, and health care providers on licensing deals, R&D (research and development) agreements, strategic alliances, and contract issues.
Rebecca understands the legal challenges health care clients face because she comes from that world. Prior to Wiggin and Dana, Rebecca was in-house counsel at a large integrated health care delivery system, where she was responsible for the legal aspects of various strategic relationships and compliance functions coordinated at the system level.
Rebecca devotes significant time to advocating for increasing diversity among the health law bar. She contributes her high energy to hiring and recruitment for the firm and participates actively in a joint Yale New Haven Health System / Wiggin and Dana Diversity Scholar Program. She also serves on the Diversity+Inclusion Council for the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).
Rebecca received her J.D. magna cum laude from Boston College Law School and her B.A. summa cum laude from The George Washington University. She is admitted to practice in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.
She teaches a course on health care business transactions at the Quinnipiac University School of Law.
Doug helps professionals in the professional services market grow their business in an authentic and sustainable manner. He is a business development coach, leadership trainer, facilitator and speaker. He leverages his more than three decades of business development and sales leadership experience to teach individuals and teams how to drive revenue growth. He provides leadership and business development consulting, one-on-one coaching, group coaching, practice group leadership skills development, strategic planning, workshops, and public speaking.
Doug’s focus is working with lawyers and accountants at firms of all sizes – from solo practitioner firms to large international firms.
Prior to starting Doug Ott Consulting LLC in 2016, Doug coached and trained professionals for 15 years at three different consulting firms in leadership positions. During that stretch, Doug enjoyed training and coaching Managers and Partners in Deloitte’s Forensic Group for 8 years on the West Coast where he developed long-term relationships with in-house and law firm lawyers.
When Doug is not coaching professionals, he enjoys living the mountain life with his wife, son, and three dogs in Truckee, CA. He is an avid cyclist, skier and musician. He has played the blues harmonica since college and is always looking for opportunities to play live music. He is also a lover of fine wine and craft beer and is an investment partner in a winery in Anderson Valley.
Leslie Richards- Yellen Director of Inclusion-Americas
Leslie Richards-Yellen is Director of Inclusion – Americas at Hogan & Lovells US LLP. She previously served as Hinshaw & Culbertson's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer/Partner, in addition to managing her public finance practice. Ms. Richards-Yellen has over 30 years of experience as in-house counsel and in private practice.
Previously, Ms. Richards-Yellen was Associate General Counsel with The Vanguard Group, where she provided legal services and analysis for the Fixed Income Group. Ms. Richards-Yellen currently serves as a Past President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL). Previously, Ms. Richards-Yellen sat on the Boards of NAWL, the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, as well as Scenic Hudson.
She serves on board of the Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network and the Advisory Board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, and is a member of the National Mansfield Taskforce. Ms. Richards-Yellen was a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers’ Steering Committee, was appointed a Commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (ISCCP), served as the Chair of the ISCCP's Diversity Committee, and chaired the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms.
Ms. Richards-Yellen received the Ms. JD “Sharing Her Passion Award” for inspiring younger women lawyers, and the Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award, which honors individuals who have made the law and the legal profession more accessible and reflective of the community at large.
Kelly Rittenberry Culhane Co-General Counsel, Managing Partner
Culhane Meadows PLLC
Kelly Rittenberry Culhane is a founding partner of Culhane Meadows, the largest woman-owned, general practice law firm in the US. Drawing on her former and current experience as General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of two national law firms (and outside General Counsel to a Tokio Marine insurance company). In addition to serving as Chief Operating Officer and Co-General Counsel, she is a nationally recognized expert in Insurance Law and the outsourcing of human resources and professional services. She counsels domestic and global/multinational corporate clients on reducing legal and financial exposure in connection with strategic partnerships. Kelly’s passion for children led her to serve on the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Texas Regional Office, and she spends most weekends keeping up with her busy teenagers, traveling to their various club sporting events.
Kelly and her partners created a cloud-based, partner-only law firm that combines the best traits of BigLaw with a business model that fosters inclusion, diversity, and a deep collaboration among partners representing sophisticate clients, including many Fortune 500 companies. The firm’s compensation structure means work/life balance isn’t just a soundbite, but a reality at Culhane Meadows. A proud member of NAMWOLF, Culhane Meadows frequently features on 'Best of’ lists from Working Mother, Law360 and U.S. News and World Report.
Mary Wilson is Managing Partner of Dentons US and a member of its Board. She is a national finance, health care law and tax-exempt organization lawyer.
In her finance practice, she counsels and represents borrowers (including health care organizations, cultural institutions, schools and universities), underwriters, banks (as liquidity and/or credit providers) and issuers (including cities and counties in municipal financings), and she serves as bond counsel in tax-exempt bond issues and other finance transactions. Over the years, Mary has worked on billions of dollars worth of financings in many states, including put bonds, self-liquidity bonds, lines of credit, direct purchases, accounts receivable financings and fixed-rate financings and swaps. She also works on a wide variety of secured and unsecured lending transactions. In her practice, she:
Advises clients with respect to securities, regulatory and tax compliance in the tax-exempt finance area
Assists financial institutions and borrowers in negotiating documents that address the current regulatory requirements and risk environment
Assists borrowers in structuring financings and in negotiating and drafting documents to maximize flexibility and minimize risks and restrictive covenants
Counsels clients before and after closing on compliance with bond documents, loan documents and applicable law
In addition, Mary advises and represents hospitals and health systems in corporate transactions, such as restructurings, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, joint operating arrangements, physician contracting and alignment, as well as in finance strategy. She represents and counsels all types of tax-exempt organizations in transactions, governance matters, tax-exemption issues and organizational issues.
Mary is a regular speaker on finance, health care and transactional issues. She is a past board member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL) and has served twice as a member of the Steering Committee for NABL’s Bond Attorneys’ Workshop.
As COO of Diversity Lab, Jennifer Winslow oversees all of the Lab’s initiatives, including the OnRamp Fellowship, the only global returnship program for the legal profession. She joined Caren Ulrich Stacy in launching the Fellowship in January 2014.
After graduating from UCLA School of Law, Jennifer began her legal career as an associate at Morrison & Foerster in Los Angeles. After practicing for six years, she refocused her career on attorney and law student recruitment and development, as well as diversity initiatives for the legal profession.
As a Managing Director for Major, Lindsey & Africa, Jennifer counseled lateral attorney candidates on their job searches and collaborated with law firms seeking to fill specialized roles. In the University of Colorado Law School’s Career Development Office, she managed the on-campus interview and judicial clerkship programs. While serving as the school’s representative to the Colorado Pledge to Diversity Committee, she worked with leaders of the state’s efforts to increase the number of underrepresented attorneys within the profession. Jennifer speaks frequently on issues related to recruiting, retaining, and advancing women and underrepresented lawyers.