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5:00pm - 5:30pm
Diversity Committee Meet-Up
Learn more about the Diversity Committee and network with other diverse Mid-Year attendees in a more intimate setting before the official conference welcome reception.

5:30pm - 7:00pm

Join other Mid-Year Meeting attendees as we meet and network in the W South Beach's outdoor garden: The Grove.

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Host Committee Dinner

***Invitation only event for host committee***


9:00am - 9:30am

9:30am - 10:45am


Mayanne Downs
President & Managing Director
GrayRobinson, P.A

Mayanne is the President and Managing Director of GrayRobinson, the first woman to hold that position. She has served as president of the Orange County Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society, and the 100,000-member Florida Bar. She graduated at the top of her class at the University of Florida, and is a member of the University of Florida Hall of Fame. She is City Attorney for Orlando, the first woman to be appointed, and is also a member of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which disciplines judges. She is proudest of being the first female managing partner of a major law firm in the Southeastern United States and the single parent of Barry, a Nashville musician, and Savannah, a third generation University of Florida law student.

Mayanne served as president of The Florida Bar from 2010-2011. As president, she traveled thousands of miles throughout Florida and the country, speaking to law organizations and newspaper editorial boards and testifying before the Florida Legislature. She implemented the first direct communication between bar leadership and bar members about legislative matters. Mayanne has also served as president of the Orange County Bar Association, president of the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association and president of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and was a member of the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. In addition, Mayanne is honored to serve as a member of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the constitutionally-based entity that handles disciplinary matters for Florida judges, and has been a hearing panel member of several trials.

Mayanne received both her bachelor’s and juris doctor from the University of Florida. In law school, Mayanne held two senior editorial positions at the University of Florida Law Review; was chancellor of the Student Honor Court; was a member of the University of Florida Hall of Fame; tapped into Florida Blue Key; received numerous book awards by American Jurisprudence; and graduated with highest honors. She also was inducted into Order of the Coif.

11:00am - 12:15pm

Gender Bias in the Courtroom - Perception or Reality?

As women continue to make significant strides in the legal profession, gender biases in the courtroom persist in creating obstacles for women litigators and trial attorneys. Join this research-based discussion about the unique challenges women lawyers face in the courtroom, including how jurors perceive and respond to men and women differently based on courtroom style and strategy. Participants will learn about how best to overcome these challenges, the benefits of a diverse trial team, and strategies for capitalizing on the strengths of being a woman in the courtroom.

Christina Marinakis, J.D., Psy.D., Director of Jury Research, Litigation Insights

Shifting the Data Breach Paradigm

As businesses are increasingly collecting and relying upon vast amounts of data and as news of major data breaches regularly appear in headlines, companies are increasingly concerned about investing in and improving their data security. However, in an environment of constantly evolving legal standards governing such information and the ever-changing nature of data breaches themselves, this panel will discuss the need to focus on establishing a robust data breach response plan. We will hear different perspectives regarding cybersecurity compliance, best practices for a data breach response planning, investing in and improving cyber defenses, the importance of establishing protocols and routine testing, and other related topics.

Colleen Theresa Brown, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Laura Louthan, Founder, Angel Cybersecurity
Laura Juanes Micas, Director of Privacy Policy, Facebook Inc.
Kevin Parker, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Division
Moderator Molly McGinley, Partner, K&L Gates LLP

12:30pm - 2:00pm

NAWL President's Address

Presentation of Awards

Leadership Award
for her personal contributions to advance women lawyers and promote diversity in the legal profession to Marlene Gordon, General Counsel at Bacardi North America Corporation.

Challenge Award
for adopting hiring, retention, promotion, and general employment practices and procedures designed to strive to meet NAWL's One-Third by 2020 Challenge goal to increase the representation of women to one-third of leadership positions in the legal profession and to increase by one-third the diverse female attorneys (including women of color and LBTQI) in every segment of the legal profession to Brightstar Corp. Catherine Smith, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel, and Secretary will accept the award on Brightstar's behalf.

Public Service Award
for her dedication and commitment to public service and social responsibility to Hon. Patricia A. Seitz, Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

2:00pm - 3:15pm

The Great Communication Divide

Explore the impact communication styles can have on our success as both in-house and outside counsel with Patricia Gillette, leading expert on gender diversity and equality in the workplace. As lawyers we know that what we say is important - but we must appreciate that how we say it is equally important. An upswing, a halting style, or a hestitation in responding may not change the substance but may change how the message is received. Our posture, the volume of our voice, and our choice of words impact our effectiveness. These differences in communication styles are oftern gender based. Do we need to talk like men to ensure we are heard? If we do, what are the consequences since men are allowed more variation, while women are expected to present within certain parameters. Women possess communication styles that enhance our ability to build client relationships and in-house alliances that are unique to our gender. Come to this session and learn how to self-promote, speak confidently, and make sure you are heard without having to sacrifice our unique and powerful "femaleness".

Patricia K. Gillette, leading expert on gender diversity and equality in the workplace

3:30pm - 4:45pm

Sex Harassment & Discrimination 2018: Is Your Company Prepared?

This lively session will provide participants with an examination of the harassment and discrimination issues that have been a theme in the news. We will explore key developments and issues that companies face in the current environment including an alert about new EEO and harassment trends that companies should anticipate, best practices for employee training and litigation avoidance, how to deal with he said/she said issues, consensual romantic relationships and love contracts, balancing multiple perspectives being expressed in the workplace, and managing employees' expectations regarding an employer's "obligation" to mandate "civility in the workplace." The Miami District EEOC Director will also share his perspectives regarding the EEOC's recent task force study on harassment as well as the new "Respectful Workplace" training and guidance that the EEOC will be issuing in 2018.

April Boyer, Partner, K&L Gates LLP
Asilia S. Backus
, Director & Senior Attorney, American Airlines, Inc.
Michael J. Farrell, District Director, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Miami District
Niza M. Motola, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Employment and Litigation, Univision Communications Inc.
Moderator Melodie Craft, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson P.C.

Failure Can Be Your Greatest Teacher

Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” For every lawyer, there will be times when we succeed and other times when we fail. Many of us are happy to reflect on what we learn from a big success, but our failures can be equally, if not more, important. And while we may perceive our failures negatively, they can be some of the most instrumental developments in our careers. Join us as we discuss how to turn failures into opportunities to learn, grow, and excel – not in spite of failures, but because of them.

Lacey J. Bundy, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary, EXPRESS
Jacqueline Hourigan Rice, Director, Adtran Corporation
Beth Pagel Serebransky, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Moderator Marisa Murillo, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP

4:45pm - 6:00pm

Lawyers Leading - Reaching One Hand Forward While Extending the Other Hand Back

For decades women lawyers have been striving for leadership roles within the profession: as leaders in corporate law departments, law firms, government agencies, law schools, and bar associations. But leadership is more than just filling a position or keeping a seat warm. Hear from a panel of leaders who have achieved the titles and are leveraging those leadership roles to have a positive impact on the careers of other women and lawyers from underrepresented groups.

Hon. Marcia G. Cooke, District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Marlene Gordon, Vice President, General Counsel, at Bacardi North America Corporation
Tammy L. Knight, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
Michelle R. Suskauer, President-Elect, The Florida Bar
Moderator Dorian Denburg, Assistant Vice President - Senior Legal Counsel, AT&T; NAWL President 2010-2011

6:00pm - 7:00pm

Before you depart for the day, join us to unwind, debrief your favorite sessions, and network with all of your new contacts! Join your fellow attendees for cocktails and cappuccinos in The Grove, the W South Beach's outdoor garden. For the locals, this is a great opportunity to make new connections while waiting out the traffic!

Hosted by   GTLogo_Black.jpg

10:00am - 12:00pm


Hon. Catherine Cortez Masto, United States Senator for Nevada, will kick-off our day. Senator Cortez Masto served two terms as Attorney General of Nevada and, in November 2016, became the first Latina and the first woman from Nevada ever elected to the United States Senate.


Join NAWL for brunch and an interactive session featuring a panel of outstanding leaders of our country's most prominent national specialty bar associations representing over 225,000 attorneys. Join in on an engaging conversation regarding the challenges women and diverse attorneys experience in the legal profession. Attendees will walk away with tangible, concrete ways in which individuals and organizations can work together to make the legal profession more diverse and inclusive.

Angela Beranek Brandt, Partner, Larson · King, LLP; NAWL President 2017-2018
Cyndie M. Chang, Los Angeles Managing Partner, Duane Morris LLP; NAPABA President 2016-2017
Erica V. Mason, Partner, Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP; HNBA President 2017-2018
Patricia Menéndez-Cambó, Vice Chair, Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Vice Chair, International Bar Association's Women Lawyers' Interest Group
Elizabeth F. Schwartz, nationally recognized advocate for the legal rights of LGBT community; National LGBT Bar Association Member
Moderator Cristina Pereyra-Alvarez, JAMS; Retired Judge 11th Judicial Circuit

Brunch hosted by   JAMS.jpg

12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
NAWL Challenge Club Bootcamp

***Invitation only event for NAWL Challenge Club Members and In-House Attorneys***