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2020 Mid-Year Meeting
Wednesday, March 11 - Thursday, March 12

323 East Upper Wacker Drive | Chicago, IL

NAWL invites you to join us for the 2020 Mid-Year Meeting & Awards Luncheon in Chicago. The comprehensive program offers both professional development opportunities and skills training to help attorneys in all fields of legal practice thrive in their careers. Members will have the opportunity to shape the future of NAWL and the legal profession. We will also recognize and honor leading lawyers and business leaders who have made a significant impact on improving and diversifying the legal profession. As always, there will be plenty of time for networking built in throughout the event.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

NAWL Challenge Club Event | 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

***Event for In-House attorneys and NAWL Challenge Club members***

Welcome Reception | 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Kick off the Conference with a fun opportunity to catch up with colleagues, make new friends, and create valuable connections and benefiting a local charity.

Committee Dinner | 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM

***Invitation only event for host committee & NAWL Board***

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Optional Group Walk | 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM 

When registering, let us know if you're interested in joining a brisk group morning walk led by Heather Stenmark (Mid Year Committee member and Counsel, Insurance Operations Law at Allstate).

Registration & Networking Breakfast | 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Start the conference by caffeinating and creating valuable connections.  

Opening Session - BEST PRACTICES FOR REAL CHANGE | 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM  

For twelve years, NAWL's Annual Survey of the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms has tracked the professional progress of women in the nation’s 200 largest law firms. While the representation of women has increased, women continue to be underrepresented among equity partners and firm governance and while women work as much as men, their client billings and compensation continue to lag behind that of similarly-situated men. But there are signs of positive change, with firms adopting more women and family-friendly policies, investing more in training and support for women and diverse attorneys, and some recent activity, such as the make-up of new classes of equity partners, showing increasing representation of women.

This session will turn the tables and ask the audience to lead a discussion around best practices that actually help women lawyers succeed professionally. Roll up your sleeves and help us create real change!

Elizabeth Manno Banzhoff, Partner at Perkins Coie LLP and Chair of NAWL’s Annual Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms

Concurrent Workshops | 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM  


The proliferation of law-related technology continues to create both challenges and opportunities. The sea of change mean that lawyers need to embrace innovation and technology to succeed.  Join us to discuss how flexible lawyers can leverage legal technology to re-imagine and reinvigorate their practices to meet the needs of their future clients and the profession.

Moderator, Diedre Dunn, Senior Counsel at McDonald's
Melissa A. Anyetei, Intellectual Property Partner at Mayer Brown LLP
Phi-Hang Tran, Director of eDiscovery Services at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite


Pro bono work provides lawyers with opportunities to give back to the community, but there are other, less-recognized career benefits that stem from pro bono work. Newer lawyers can gain experience, confidence, connections, and visibility both inside and outside their firms. More senior attorneys can gain even greater visibility as well as case-management and leadership skills. This session will explore how busy lawyers can and should make time for pro bono work.

Moderator, Aracely Munoz, Director Lawyers Network and Director, Washington D.C. office of the Center for Reproductive Rights
Alexia D. Korberg, Litigation Partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Dorri McWhorter, Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago
Elizabeth Lewis, Pro Bono Partner at McDermott, Will, & Emery

AWARDS LUNCHEON | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM 

We will recognize and honor leading lawyers and business leaders who have made a significant impact on improving and diversifying the legal profession.

Concurrent Workshops | 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM  


The key to influencing others is not your smarts or message. You must catch attention, keep attention, and make your message stand at attention through memorable content and delivery. The latest research shows that there are key persuasion differences in female attorneys' and leaders' arsenals as compared to our male counterparts. Karen Lisko, Ph.D., Senior Litigation Consultant at Perkins Coie, will speak to us about the latest techniques in effective messaging and delivery that we can use to be our most influential in our professional environments. 

Karen works with attorneys to increase their persuasiveness and effectiveness. A veteran of hundreds of civil cases heard in bench and jury trials and arbitration forums, Karen strategizes to help legal teams construct compelling and prevailing arguments. Karen holds a doctorate in legal communication, a specialized degree attained by only a few consultants in the nation, and is the author of two books, Patently Persuasive and Proven Jury Arguments and Evidence.

Karen O. Lisko, Ph.D., Senior Litigation Consultant at Perkins Coie LLP


Focusing on how women need to be “fixed” to achieve career success draws attention away from the real problem: the different workplace dynamics women and men experience. These different dynamics have far more to do with how women and men feel, act, and aspire than any innate characteristics that differentiate women from men. This panel will discuss the reasons women are not achieving the same overall career success as men, by focusing on the nature of the workplace, not the nature of women themselves. Panelists will discuss the stereotypes, biases, and structural characteristics that lead to women’s systematic disadvantages in relation to men as they pursue career success and how these disadvantages can be dealt with. The panel will also discuss the unique difficulties faced by women with distinctive social identities and just how much tougher career advancement is for women who are not white, straight, able-bodied and under 40. 

Alton B. Harris, Partner at Nixon Peabody LLP; co-author of Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work and It's Not You, It's the Workplace: Women's Conflict at Work and the Bias that Built it
Andrea S. Kramer
, Partner at McDermott Will & Emery; co-author of Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work and It's Not You, It's the Workplace: Women's Conflict at Work and the Bias that Built it
Deborah J. Baker, Arbitrator at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Plenary Session - MINDFULNESS FOR LAWYERS 101 | 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM   

As lawyers, we immerse ourselves in conflict and competition daily and these pressures can take a serious toll - stress, anxiety, and burnout are enormous problems in the profession. Mindfulness offers an alternative to our habits of worry, anxiety, and frustration. Derived from ancient meditation methods and validated by modern science, it is a simple mental practice that introduces a calmer, more satisfying mode of being.

This session is designed to introduce mindful meditation and give lawyers the building blocks for sustainable, tangible methods for managing stress and increasing mental wellness. During this session, attendees will be guided through the fundamental practice of using breath and body awareness as tools to focus attention in the present moment. This session will teach you how mindfulness can produce a positive impact in and out of the office.

           Darrell Jones, Co-Head of Teacher Training and Programming/Meditation Guide, ChillCo.


Join us for a conversation with top legal officers on how to excel in a legal environment through the power of innovation and acceptance of new challenges. Discover how these top attorneys from different cross-sections of the law have leveraged their personal power to create successful careers and foster development of stellar successors in their own legal teams and beyond. Conference attendees will walk away with proven tools and techniques for leadership and success. 

Kimberly A. Yuracko, Dean; Judd and Mary Morris Leighton Professor of Law at Northwestern Law School
Kristin Oliver, Chief Human Resources Officer at Walgreens
Hon. Rebecca Pallmeyer, Chief Judge, Northern District of Illinois 
Susan C. Levy, Executive Vice President & General Counsel for Northern Trust Corporation

Closing Networking Reception | 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM 

Before you depart, join us to unwind, and debrief your favorite sessions.

Offsite Networking Event: Second City Dinner and a Show | 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Add this event on to your Mid-Year registration at any time, or email for assistance. 

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Thank You to Our Planning Committee

Tamela Merriweather
The Northern Trust Company
Chicago, IL
Conference Co-Chair

Jennifer Mikulina
McDermott Will & Emery
Chicago, IL
Conference Co-Chair

Kelly Clark
Northbrook, IL
Board Liaison

Kristy Gonowon
Northbrook, IL
Program Co-Chair

Johnna Darby
Fox Rothschild LLP
Wilmington, DE
Sponsorship Co-Chair

Nicole Denise Allen
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
Atlanta, GA

Lisa Atty
McGuireWoods LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Eleanor Atkins
McDermott Will & Emery
Washington, DC

Elizabeth Banzhoff
Perkins Coie LLP
Denver, CO

Kathleen Blaszak
Eversheds Sutherland LLP
Washington, DC

Gretchen Miller Busch
Faegre Baker Daniels
Denver, CO

Elizabeth Carter
New York, NY

Melodie Craft
McGrath RentCorp
Dallas, TX

Diedre Dunn
McDonald's Corporation
Chicago, IL

Leora Freire
Gray Robinson
Boca Raton, FL

Susan Freeman
Freeman Means Business
San Francisco, CA

Rachel Reingold Mandel
Ogletree Deakins
Boston, MA
Program Co-Chair

Lauren Steinhaeuser
Faegre Baker Daniels
Minneapolis, MN
Marketing Co-Chair

Nioura Ghazni
San Francisco, CA

Elizabeth Gingold 
Clark Alston & Bird LLP
Atlanta, GA

Megan Gold
Northbrook, IL

Jenny Goltz
Cozen O'Connor
Chicago, IL

Erika Goven
Kutak Rock LLP
Omaha, NE

Cassie Johnson
Alston & Bird
Atlanta, GA

Barbara Joan Klas
Casepoint LLC
Minneapolis, MN

Kaitlyn Lavaroni
Jackson Lewis, PC
Sacramento, CA

Teresa Lii
Paul Weiss
New York, NY

Rosanna Lopez
Lopez and Wu
Reston, VA

Mimi MacDonald
St Louis, MO

Amie Penny Sayler
Bassford Remele
Minneapolis, MN
Logistics Co-Chair

Sara Markert
Bryan Cave
Irvine, CA

Brigid McCarthy
McDermott Will & Emery
Chicago, IL

Jordan McCarthy
Perkins Coie
Chicago, IL

Margie Meier
The Rudnicki Firm
Oklahoma City, OK

Michele Miller
Cozen O'Connor
Santa Monica, CA

Jodie Wilner Moran
Jackson Lewis PC
Chicago, IL

Aracely Munoz
Center for Reproductive Rights
Washington, DC

Lauren Nevidomsky
McDermott Will & Emery
Chicago, IL

Maureen O'Brien
McDermott Will & Emery
Chicago, IL

Lizbeth Ochoa
Fisher and Phillips
Irvine, CA

Rana Odeh
Northbrook, IL

Linette Wright
State Farm
Bloomington, IL
Logistics Co-Chair

Emily Pontius
Fredrickson & Byron
Des Moines, IA

Sree Surya Rao
Northbrook, IL

Carolyn Rashby
Covington & Burling
San Francisco, CA 

Katherine Sandberg
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
San Francisco, CA

Heather Stenmark
Northbrook, IL

Libby Stennes
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Minneapolis, MN

Daniel Taylor
Faegre Baker Daniels
Minneapolis, MN

Carrie Trabue
Carrington Legal Search
Austin, TX

Phi Tran
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
Denver, CO

Gabriela Traxler-Romin
Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Anna Wermuth
Cozen O'Connor
Chicago, IL