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AGENDA: Thursday, November 21, 2019

07:30 AM
08:30 AM
Promoting Diversity & Inclusion in Law Firms & Corporations: Disrupting Old Models & Lowering Attrition

According to McKinsey & Company, the Harvard Business Review and other highly respected institutions, organizations that commit themselves to diverse leadership, are more successful and more profitable. A growing body of evidence is finding that gender parity and racial diversity, particularly in decision-making roles, has a meaningful impact on innovation, productivity, and profitability. This is not breaking news. Why then is the legal field still lagging behind? 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 can In-House counsel 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 can individual counsel do to affect organizational culture?

09:15 AM
Work-Life Integration: Balancing Professional Success and Personal Fulfillment

Whether working at a large firm or a corporation, the demands of the workplace can be overwhelming. This holds true even if a firm or company has progressive family friendly policies such as flex time and paid parental leave. In fact, many professionals find that when they do take advantage of something like flex time, they feel they are marginalized onto a “mommy track” and penalized at compensation time. As these choices are becoming more acceptable for men, they too have felt the sting of retribution for taking personal time.

This panel will explore strategies to achieve greater personal & professional balance:

  • Self-representation, generating awareness and setting boundaries at work
  • How can companies and firms create new policies that address the need for more balance? Forward-thinking companies know this helps to attract and retain the best talent
    • Promoting teamwork through a collaborative partner compensation model that still meets the demands of clients while creating more space to have a life outside the office
  • Since life/work balance is different for everyone, how can you identify the right life/work balance for you, and then take the necessary steps to achieve that optimal balance?

10:00 AM
Leaders of Color: The Changing 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

10:45 AM
11:25 AM
Countering the #MeToo Backlash: Enlisting Men to Become Ambassadors for Change

Rarely do we see inclusion strategies that stress the need to include, listen to, and work with the dominant group — the one that is seeing its preeminence questioned. However, that is where leadership is most needed: in helping today’s dominant group embrace tomorrow’s reality. While it goes without question that women and minorities in positions of power must help others to move the needle, a better approach may be to engage everyone in bringing about change. When it comes to women’s advancement, men matter. 

This panel will explore:

  • Identifying Male Allies
  • Developing an engagement strategy
  • How can you self-advocate in order to get buy-in from others?
  • What can law firms and corporations do to help?
  • Tips and success stories from the panelists

12:10 PM
Redefining Success in the New Millennium: Knowing What You Want, Why You Deserve It, and How to Get It

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 position all the way up to being promoted to general counsel or making partner. Pursuing growth opportunities and nontraditional paths require the confidence to see your own potential and the necessary personal awareness to get in touch with what is important to you.      

This panel will explore:

  • Getting clear on what you really want
  • The ASK: Asking for what you want and knowing why you deserve it
  • The meritocracy and why it cannot be relied on
  • Dealing with rejection – every “no” means you are closer to a “yes”
  • Differentiating sponsors from influencers and mentors
  • Cultivating potential sponsors
  • How best to advocate for ourselves and others

12:55 PM
01:45 PM
The Executive Suite & The Legal Team: Working Together to Create a More Diverse Culture

Women leaders in both business and the legal profession are still rare. Because creating and maintaining a gender-balanced workforce is no longer a gesture of good will, but essential to financial growth, finding ways to foster diversity in corporate leadership is imperative.

This panel will explore:

  • Bridging the gap between the business and legal units
  • Recruiting and sustaining female talent
  • Increasing awareness of the effects of implicit biases around female stereotypes
    • They are not tough enough
    • They are more invested in their families than their careers
  • Tips and Success stories

02:30 PM
Working through Generational Diversity Among Leaders and Emerging Leaders (Boomers v. Gen X v. Millennials)

This is a timely topic now that the workplace is as age-diverse as ever before. And it seems that the generations differ on how things should be run in the workplace. Older workers say they feel like they are being pushed out while younger workers are leaving in large numbers because they feel under-valued. If organizations are going to thrive, everyone needs to understand their coworkers and, most importantly, avoid letting their implicit biases get in the way.

This panel will explore:

  • How to work through the stereotypes that encourage bias
  • Understanding and appreciating differences in perspectives
  • How to encourage better communication in order to bridge the gap
  • Constructive mentoring (formal and informal)
  • Succession planning that works for all

03:15 PM
03:35 PM
Career Transitions: From Associate to Partner, Law Firm to In-house

Change—even positive change such as making partner—is never easy. While the title carries more respect, more responsibility comes with it. Considering going from a law firm to an in-house counsel position? Making the move is more complicated than it seems. There are numerous differences between working in an in-house counsel role, as opposed to working at a law firm. Culture, salary, and workplace flexibility, are just a few of the many things to keep in mind.

This panel will explore:

  • Tips for new partners:
    • Learning how the business is managed and what is expected of you
    • Balancing your practice with your new obligations
    • Understanding your new compensation, benefits and tax structure
    • Keeping sight of your personal life
  • Tips for transitioning from a law firm to in-house:
    • Gaining insight into the company’s core business, initiatives and goals
    • Developing your business acumen in order to proactively offer legal solutions that advance and support the bottom line
    • Learning to work effectively with both the department and the business unit: Communication is key!

04:20 PM
Motherhood and Career: Mastering the Balancing Act

Motherhood is more demanding than ever. Women feel more pressure to breastfeed, to do enriching activities with their children, and to provide close supervision. Working in the traditionally male-oriented legal profession only serves to increase that pressure. Can female attorneys balance a fulfilling career AND raise healthy, happy children?         

This panel will explore:

  • Can working mothers really ‘have it all’?
  • Why companies should support – not penalize – working mothers
  • Changing the culture – programs that reduce stress and enhance productivity
  • What are some realistic tips for achieving balance?

05:05 PM