Meeting the Challenge is a forum for law firms, corporations, government, nonprofits, and other stakeholders to share best practices, learn from thought-leaders, and forge meaningful and lasting connections necessary to meet NAWL's One-Third By 2020 Challenge. Issued in March 2016, the 2020 Challenge urges the legal profession to increase the representation of women to one-third of general counsels of Fortune 1000 companies, one-third of law school deans, one-third of entering partner equity classes, and one-third of entering law firm lateral hires and to increase by one-third the number of diverse female attorneys (including women of color and LBTQI attorneys) in every segment of the legal profession.

    In addition to programming focused on what institutions can do to increase the number of women in leadership roles, Meeting the Challenge will feature sessions focused on strategies for individuals to advance and flourish in their existing environments. NAWL will also unveil its 2017 Survey on the Promotion and Retention of Women in Law Firms administered by Professor Destiny Peery, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.


    Program Agenda

    8:30 AM - 9:00 AM
    REGISTRATION & NETWORKING BREAKFAST

    9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    PLUGGING THE LEAKY PIPELINE: AN INTERACTIVE SESSION TO JUMPSTART THE NAWL 2020 CHALLENGE
    In 2006, NAWL issued a Challenge to increase the number of women equity partners, chief legal officers, and tenured law professors to at least 30 percent by 2015. Since then, NAWL has championed and tracked progress towards this goal - disappointingly, the needle has barely moved particularly within law firms. Join us for an interactive session that will help you jumpstart your organization's efforts to plug the leaky pipeline and achieve NAWL's renewed One-Third by 2020 Challenge.  

    Lisa B. Horowitz, 2008-2009 NAWL President; Founder & Principal Strategist, Attorney Talent Strategy Group, LLC

    10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
    CURRENT STATUS OF WOMEN IN LAW -- A REPORT ON NAWL'S SURVEY RESULTS FOR 2017
    With more women joining the profession than ever before, are we finally seeing more progress in advancement? Join us as NAWL unveils its Annual Survey of the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms. For over ten years, NAWL’s Survey has tracked the professional progress of women in the nation’s 200 largest law firms through a comparative view of the careers and compensation of male and female lawyers at all levels of private practice, and data analysis focusing on the factors that influence career progression. This Report and the Conference will highlight best practices to meet the NAWL On-Third by 2020 Challenge to increase the number of women in leadership roles in the profession.

    Destiny Peery, Assistant Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and NAWL 2017 Survey Author and Principal Researcher

    10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
    THE NUDGE APPROACH -- FORGING A PATH TO THE TOP 
    Ordinary dynamics of supply and demand, which sees firms closing the gender gap by hiring from an increasing supply of gender-diverse talent, has not yielded the solution. How can firms consciously work to recruit and retain more female talent? In this session Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio’s will show how small pushes – or “nudges” – work to close the gender gap.

    Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, Chair, Executive Leadership Research Initiative for Women and Minority Attorneys and Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School

    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    BETTER PRACTICES AND STRATEGIES FOR WOMEN'S PROGRESS IN THE PROFESSION
    What real world practices are working to put more women in leadership roles? This distinguished panel of women leaders will discuss the practical steps (and missteps) their law firms and corporate legal departments have taken to effect change and increase the number of women in leadership roles, as well as reflect on the best practices highlighted by NAWL’s and Dr. Cecchi-Dimeglio’s research.

    Moderator Sharon E. Jones, President, Jones Diversity, Inc.
    Jane D. Goldstein, Partner, Ropes & Gray LLP
    Sheila M. Murphy, Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel, MetLife, Inc.
    Sally Olson, Chief Diversity Officer, Sidley Austin LLP

    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    LUNCHEON & KEYNOTE PRESENTATION - "Senator Harris, Let Him Answer" Exploring the Intersection of Gender and Race in the Careers of Black Harvard Law School Graduates
    Join us for an informative presentation on the important intersection of race and gender, and cutting-edge trends in diversity and inclusion.  Using data generated from After the JD, a ten-year nationwide longitudinal study of lawyers' careers; The Harvard Law School Career Study, examining, among other things, differences in the experiences of male and female graduates and the careers of lawyers who do not practice law; and The New Social Engineers, charting the historical development and current experiences of black lawyers in corporate law practice, we’ll hear what academic research relating to the profession and lawyers’ career trajectories has found and what we can expect to be new issues and challenges in the future.

    David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School

    2:15 PM - 3:15 PM
    STRATEGIES FOR INCLUSION AND INTERSECTIONALITY
    Intersectionality has garnered greater attention in recent years as an area to watch. After Professor Wilkins’ highlights the critical importance of intersectionality, a panel of professionals will discuss challenges that intersectional attorneys face and share strategies to overcome those challenges, as well as how allies can be of practical and lasting support to their intersectional colleagues. This session is intended to provide a positive space for honest, thoughtful discussion as well as an empowering opportunity for attendees to develop concrete, innovative steps towards improving the legal profession for all women in law.

    Moderator Elizabeth R. Khoury, Partner-Elect, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
    Anna Brown
    , North America Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Baker McKenzie 
    Lizette M. Pérez-Deisboeck
    , General Counsel, Battery Ventures
    Sandra Yamate
    , Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

    3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
    WOMEN AND PAY EQUITY ISSUES - STRATEGIES FOR MAXIMIZING YOUR COMPENSATION AND ACHIEVING EQUITY
    The Equal Pay Act and Title VII were signed into law in the 1960s. Over 50 years later, women’s compensation is still significantly lagging that of men. This session will examine what proactive measures states like California and Massachusetts are instituting to narrow the gender pay gap, as well as how this gap uniquely affects the legal profession. Join us as we discuss real world answers to hard questions concerning women lawyers and their answers, including how to identify drivers of inequity, tangible steps organizations and individual attorneys can take to narrow the pay gap  and best practices for negotiating for higher compensation to reduce the gender pay gap. 

    Moderator Diane M. Saunders, Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
    Lauri A. Damrell
    , Partner, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
    Andrea Kramer, Founding Attorney, Kramer Frohlich LLC
    Lauren Stiller Rikleen, President, Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership

    5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    A VIEW FROM THE TOP: LESSONS FROM LEADERS IN THE LAW
    What does it take for women lawyers to succeed as leaders in the law? Our panel of leading women lawyers will discuss their perspectives on developing skills that are critical to success, provide advice on adapting to constant change, and share strategies for overcoming obstacles you may face as you navigate your careers. Topics will include leading with confidence and managing through crisis, dealing with the challenges of implicit and explicit biases, as well as fostering an environment of mentorship and inclusion.

    Moderator Kate R. Cook, Of Counsel, Sugarman Rogers
    Sue Lee
    , Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Entegris, Inc.
    Leslie M. Turner
    , Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, The Hershey Company
    Rachael Rollins, Strategic Consultant and former General Counsel of Massachusetts Port Authority, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and Massachusetts Department of Transportation
    Ruth H. Silman, Partner and Boston Office Managing Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP

    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    CLOSING NETWORKING RECEPTION
    After a day of exciting programming, join NAWL for a networking reception.


    Thank You To Our Sponsors

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    Thank You To Our Partnering Organizations

    Association for Women Lawyers (Wisconsin)

    Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City

    Boston University School of Law

    Florida Association for Women Lawyers

    Georgia Association for Women Lawyers

    Minority Corporate Counsel Association

    Ms. JD

    National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum

    National Conference of Women's Bar Associations

    New Hampshire Women's Bar Association

    Women Lawyers Association of Michigan

    Women's Bar Association of Maryland

    Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts

    Women's In-House Network


    Christopher Lewis, Principal, General Counsel, Edward Jones

    National Association of Women Lawyers®

    American Bar Center MS 19.1, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654 T: 312.988.6186 F: 312.932.6450 nawl@nawl.org