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2015 Mid-Year Meeting Sponsors



Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 565-1234

Special guest room rates of $139/night plus applicable taxes

Reserve online or by calling 888.421.1442


2014 Mid-Year Meeting Highlights


The Power of Us: Building a Better Future Together


8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Please join NAWL for breakfast to network with our Practice Area Affinity Groups.


9:00 AM - 10:15 AM



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Connie K. Duckworth

Social entrepreneur Connie K. Duckworth founded ARZU, which means "hope" in Dari, in 2004 to empower destitute women weavers in rural Afghanistan. From 30 weavers, ARZU has grown into a learning laboratory for holistic grassroots economic development, employing some 500 Afghans. Ms. Duckworth retired in 2001 as a Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, the first woman to be named a sales and trading partner in the firm's history. For the past decade, she has focused her business lens in roles as a corporate director, author and activist. Ms. Duckworth is the recipient of numerous awards for leadership, advocacy, social impact, and innovation.


10:15 AM - 10:45 AM


10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

SESSION A: Building Clout While Navigating Gender Bias: Opening Up Career Opportunities for Women Lawyers

Having “clout” means “to have strong influence and have the respect of peers.” This requires attention to building your personal brand and understanding and navigating gender stereotypes and biases. As women lawyers, how do we increase our clout and manage bias in our professional lives? What skills must we cultivate to build “clout” and what avenues are open to us to cultivate these skills? How do we navigate gender stereotypes and develop the stature we deserve? How do we stay active, visible and informed to gain clout within our own niche or area of expertise? How do we use our clout to open up career opportunities, build a client base and seamlessly step into leadership positions? How do we maximize our clout to promote ourselves and others? For women lawyers today, how can we maximize our clout while minimizing gender bias?

Andrea S. Kramer
, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery

Chasity Boyce, Associate General Counsel, Office of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner; President, BWLA
Carrie Hightman,
Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, NiSource Inc.
Stephanie D. Neely
, Vice President – Assistant Treasurer, Allstate Insurance Company
Margo Wolf O'Donnell, Shareholder, Vedder Price 

SESSION B:  How to Make Arbitration Clauses Work for You

Arbitration can be an efficient and effective means of resolving disputes. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why this isn’t always the case, starting with a failure to include key details when crafting an arbitration clause. This program will discuss several considerations for transactional attorneys, in-house counsel and litigators when drafting and interpreting arbitration clauses including guidance on how a well-tailored clause can give parties more control over the process and make arbitration more economical, final and appropriate for your specific purpose. Special attention will also be paid to what types of disputes are—and are not—best suited to arbitration.

Elizabeth Carter, Vice President - East/Central Region, JAMS 

Monica H. Khetarpal, Shareholder, Jackson Lewis P.C.
Mary Margaret (Mimi) Moore, Partner, Bryan Cave LLP
Hon. Julia M. Nowicki (Ret.), Circuit Court of Cook County, Arbitrator and Mediator, JAMS
Laurie S. Randolph, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
Tina B. Solis, Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP


12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Join NAWL in honoring this year's award recipients who truly embody the theme of this year's meeting, The Power of Us: Building a Better Future Together

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Susan S. Sher, Senior Adviser to the President of the University of Chicago and to the Executive Vice President of Medical Affiars, is the recipient of this year's Public Service Award. Previously, Ms. Sher served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. The Public Service Award is presented to a lawyer who has demonstrated throughout her career a dedication and commitment to exemplary public service and social responsibility.

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McDonald's Corporate Legal Department is the recipient of this year's Challenge Award. Gloria Santona, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, will accept the award on behalf of the McDonald's Corporation. The Challenge Award is presented annually to an in-house legal department that has either met or adopted policies designed to meet the NAWL Challenge--that by 2015, women will represent 30% of law firm equity partners, 30% of chief legal officers, and 30% of tenured law school faculty members.

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Laurel G. Bellows, Principal in The Bellows Law Group, P.C. and former ABA President, is the recipient of this year's Leadership Award. The Leadership Award is presented to a lawyer whose personal contributions have helped advance women lawyers and promote diversity in the legal profession.


1:30 PM - 2:00 PM


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Power Panel

Striving for power is not traditionally what "nice girls" do.  Our panel will put an end to that myth by sharing their experiences and wisdom from their different paths to leadership.

Susan L. Lees
, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Allstate Insurance Company

Laurel G. Bellows, Principal, The Bellows Law Group, P.C.
Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General
Gloria Santona
, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, McDonald's Corporation
Susan S. Sher, Senior Adviser to the President of The University of Chicago and to the Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs, The University of Chicago


3:30 PM - 3:45 PM


3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

SESSION A: Making Legal Economics Work for You

Committee assignments, origination credits, the billable hour, mandates to curb legal spend – these and other legal economic issues can impose hidden roadblocks on women attorneys’ career advancement, taking the focus away from the quality of the attorney’s work. The panelists in this session will identify and explain the impact these issues can have on women outside counsel and in-house counsel. The panelists will then offer real world tactics at both the individual and structural level that women attorneys (and their colleagues, clients, and outside counsel who support them) can employ to make legal economics work better for women.

Katherine Minarik, Partner, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP

Thomas S. Finke, Managing Director, West Region Operations, Axiom Law
Amy B. Manning, Partner, McGuireWoods LLP
Martha A. Sabol
, Partner, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Scott A. Westfahl, Professor of Practice and Faculty Director, Executive Education, Harvard Law School

SESSION B: Demystifying Difficult Conversations: A Scene Study

This hands-on, interactive session is designed to walk attendees through difficult communications scenarios. Have you ever stared at the phone wondering how to break bad news to a client? Have you ever struggled over how to respond to criticism during a review? Have you ever avoided a conversation about origination credit because the idea of the conversation overwhelmed you? There are numerous difficult conversations that attorneys face in all types of practices. Try out your hand in crafting difficult messages in tricky situations and then see experts tackle these tough conversations with scenes from the trenches.  Attendees will discuss and evaluate different approaches to each scenario, focusing on the "do's and don'ts" of quality interaction.

Jenny Waters, Executive Director, National Association of Women Lawyers

Alan Bryan, Associate General Counsel, Outside Counsel Management, Walmart Stores, Inc.
Lindsay G. Carlson, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
Deborah S. Froling, Partner, Arent Fox LLP; Immediate Past President, NAWL
Suzan ("Sam") Miller, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Intel Corporation
Susan E. Moser, Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Jayne Reardon, Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism


5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Before you depart for the day, please join us to unwind, debrief your favorite sessions, and connect with new (and old) contacts and friends.

*agenda is subject to change