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AGENDA: October 2020

07:30 AM
08:30 AM
Increasing Diversity In-house and at Law Firms - The Role We All Play

According to McKinsey & Company, the Harvard Business Review and many other highly respected institutions, companies that commit themselves to diverse leadership, are more successful and more profitable. growing body of evidence in favor of D&I, finding that gender parity and racial diversity, particularly in decision-making roles, has a meaningful impact on companies’ innovation, productivity, and profitability. This is not breaking news. Why then is the legal field still lagging behind? What is the answer to solving the diversity issue at law firms? The answer is that there is no single answer. Change will happen when the issue is pushed by both the law firm and the client.

This panel will explore:

  • How In-House counsel can have a direct impact not only by fostering an inclusive culture within their departments, but also by committing to hiring law firms that employ and promote women and minorities.
  • What steps law firms can take, such as re-thinking the allocation of origination credit,  instituting a gender-diverse committee and third-party oversight of the firm’s practices, and ensuring the firm’s succession plan is gender neutral.
  • What individual counsel can do to affect organizational culture

09:15 AM
Dealing with Unconscious Bias & Discrimination

Whether discrimination comes from overt prejudice or unconscious bias, minorities and women are not receiving equal opportunities or treatment when it comes to landing in-house counsel positions, earning promotions, or making partner in a law firm. In fact, the impact of unconscious bias can be insidious and underestimated or rationalized too easily. How can lawyers identify their own unconscious biases and overcome discrimination when it affects them directly?

This panel will explore:

  • The types of unconscious bias to look out for:
    • Power of language
    • Institutional bias
    • Ignorance and education
  • How to approach:
    • Managers
    • Peers
    • Direct reports
  • When an official approach is needed – reporting bias

10:00 AM
Succeeding in a Male-Dominant Legal Field

For many women and minorities in the legal field, tradition and culture often mean that they are the only woman or minority in the room or office. This can create many challenges, including underestimation, intimidation, stereotyping, and even condescension. Their opinion may be overlooked when discussing a case, they may be underpaid compared to equally qualified male/Caucasian lawyers, and their additional responsibilities to their family or community may go unrecognized.

This panel offers a micro-study for female and minority lawyers by offering insight into how to effectively self-advocate and create change in what has traditionally been a white male-dominated environment.

10:45 AM
11:25 AM
Self-Advocacy & Countering Personal Negation When Advancing a Legal Career

By now it’s fairly common knowledge: Women often do not apply for a job if they don’t check every box, whereas men regularly seek jobs for which they are only partially qualified. This is no less true in the legal profession, and applies to landing an entry-level associate position all the way up to being promoted to general counsel or making partner.

The reality is, as you advance in your legal career, you very rarely have all the skills, experience and capabilities that a new post will require. Instead, pursuing growth opportunities requires the confidence to see your own potential and enlist the right mentor to develop the necessary commercial awareness, analytical skills or litigation experience on the job, rather than waiting until you’re “perfectly prepared.”

This panel will explore:

  • How to position current success and experience
    • Let your cases speak for you
    • Make your manager your advocate
  • Dealing with rejection – every “no” means you are closer to a “yes”
  • Utilizing peer groups to enhance confidence
  • Panelist success stories

12:10 PM
Leaders of Color in Law: Changing the Landscape

Leaders of color are resolute in their determination to get ahead. Why then do so few make it to equity partnership in Big Law? The numbers are even lower for women of color with 2.81 percent in partnership positions and 3.9 percent the C-suite of major corporations. Attrition and lack of a bigger pool are often cited as the reasons for the lack of diversity in law firms and companies. However, studies indicate that the real reason has more to do with the perceptions of advancement opportunities compared to their white counterparts. And while awareness of this disparity is at an all-time high, and diversity initiatives are becoming more commonplace in both law firms and corporate America, progress is slow.

This panel will explore:

  • The challenges that minority leaders face in the legal profession
  • Why law firms and other employers should care about retaining and advancing people of color
  • Affinity groups and other resources
  • Success stories - Advice for young attorneys of color

12:55 PM
01:25 PM
Sponsors, Influencers & Career Engineering for Legal Counsel

To create a rewarding legal career, one must seek out challenging and visible professional opportunities: getting on the right case, satisfying the important client, winning the big settlement. For women and minorities, however, finding these opportunities often isn’t enough; effective sponsors and influencers are needed to help seize them.

Behind closed doors, who is vouching for you and pushing your name forward for the opportunities you want? What can you do to strategically foster sponsors and influencers?

This panel will explore:

  • The importance of women and minorities in law
  • Differentiating sponsors from influencers
  • Redefining the “old boys network” in the legal profession
  • Identifying current and potential sponsors

02:10 PM
From Awareness to Inclusion: A Call to Action

Key elements from the conference will be reviewed interactively with the audience. What questions/comments do you have about today’s panels, roundtables and presentations? Our panelists will summarize their key takeaways from the panel discussions and facilitate a conversation on how to create positive change for women in law.

This panel will examine

  • Key points, summary and thoughts on the topics of the day
  • How can the country’s attention be utilized for change?
  • Audience questions and discussions
  • Call to action

02:55 PM
03:15 PM
Roundtable Discussions

Four rotating, 20-minute discussions hosted by a topic expert.

Roundtable 1: Dealing with Unconscious Bias & Discrimination

Roundtable 2: Self-Advocacy and Promotion

Roundtable 3: Increasing Diversity at Law Firms & In-House: The Role We All Play

Roundtable 4: Work-Life Integration

Click here for more info. 

04:35 PM