For as long as women have practiced law, female lawyers have grappled with whether it’s possible to have both a successful, rewarding career and a family.
When women began entering the profession in large numbers in the 1970s, they were often faced with an either-or proposition: Either practice law or become a parent. In the 1980s and 1990s, the word on the street was that women who wanted to practice and parent should consider moving to in-house positions, where they were likely to find better work-life balance. But toward the mid-1990s, things started to change. Big Law began to recognize that it was spending valuable time and money to train associates, only to lose that investment when female associates were driven away by inflexible workplace policies and unattainable hourly billing requirements.
Change hasn’t always happened quickly, nor have all law firms uniformly embraced family-friendly policies, but change is happening. Just ask Deborah Heald, an associate at Bryan Cave and mother of two. Heald recently authored an article for Working Mother: This Lawyer Mom Is Enjoying Her Own Version of “Having it All.”
In the piece, Heald discusses how her part-time, flextime schedule–an option available to all firm lawyers, regardless of whether they are parents–works.
“When I tell other attorney mothers that I have a part-time schedule, they always have the same reaction. Something like: ‘Oh, but part-time is never actually part-time. You can’t really control your workload, and then you work full-time and get paid a part-time salary. There’s no point.’ Then I feel compelled to launch into my defense: ‘No, I really do work part-time hours. I have autonomy over my workload and schedule. I usually make it home by 5 p.m. I take my little one to Mommy and Me. I’m a room parent. It’s working for me. I’m happy!’”
But Heald admits that not every firm has a policy that’s as flexible as Bryan Cave’s. “At the core of this model,” she writes, “is a firm that promotes a culture of support and respect for its working parents…. More and more firms offering flextime is certainly an encouraging first step, but the policies and the practice need to mesh. Flextime only works where there is legitimate flexibility.”
Baker & McKenzie has named women to chair three of its practice groups. Paris-based Principal Alyssa Gallot-Auberger will chair its newly formed consumer goods and retail industry group. Sao-Paulo-based Simone Musa has been elected to chair the firm’s global tax practice, which consists of about 950 practitioners. She is the first women at the firm to hold such a role. And Brussels-based partner Fiona Carlin has been named to chair the firm’s competition and antitrust group. She is the third consecutive woman to lead the group over the last decade. Additionally, for the sixth consecutive year, the firm has won the “Best International Firm for Women in Business Law” award from Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Asia Women in Business Law Awards.
King & Spalding partner Carolyn Alford has been elected Vice President of the American College of Investment Counsel (ACIC). Four other women were elected as trustees: New York Life Investment Management’s Maureen A. Cronin; Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ Tina Smith; Debevoise & Plimpton’s My Chi To; and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada’s Ann C. King.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
Latham & Watkins Partner Kathy Ruemmler has received the Robert F. Drinan, S.J. Alumni Public Service Award from Georgetown Law. The award is presented to Georgetown Law alumni whose career enhances human dignity and advances justice. Before rejoining Latham in 2014, Ruemmler worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House for about six years.
Ruth Grant, who chairs Hogan Lovells’ Global Diversity and Inclusion Committee, has been named “Woman Lawyer of the Year” at The Law Society Excellence Awards 2016. Grant is a London-based litigation partner at the firm.
The National Law Journal has named its 2016 Cybersecurity Trailblazers. Female honorees were Jennifer Archie at Latham & Watkins; Donna Balageur at Fish & Richardson; Julie Brill at Hogan Lovells; Megan Brown at Wiley Rein; Kendall Burman at Mayer Brown; Robin Campbell at Crowell & Moring; Ann LaFrance at Squire Patton Boggs; Jennifer Martin at Covington & Burling; Dana Rosenfeld at Kelley Drye & Warren; Lynn Sessions at Baker & Hostetler; Erin Sheppard at Dentons; Liisa Thomas at Winston & Strawn; and Miriam Wugmeister at Morrison & Foerster.
Morgan Lewis Associate Lynne Powers became only the third woman in the last decade to earn the highest score on the Texas bar exam. Powers, a Loyola University New Orleans College of Law graduate who now works from the firm’s Houston office, earned 875 out of 1,000 possible points. She was notified of her accomplishment through a personal phone call from Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, who serves as the court’s liaison to the Texas Board of Law Examiners.
New York Law Journal released its list of the Top Women in Law 2016, which recognized two WILEF board members: Elise Bloom of Proskauer Rose and Stacy Kanter of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Others who were recognized were Jaculin Aaron of Shearman & Sterling; Meriam Al-Rashid of Dentons; Deborah Archer of the New York Law School; Barbara Becker of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Kerry Berchem of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Diane Bosse of Hurwitz & Fine; Carrie Cohen of Morrison & Foerster; Jennifer Cona of Genser Dubow Genser & Cona; Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy; Victoria Cook of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz; Mylan Denerstein of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Mary Beth Hogan of Debevoise & Plimpton; Tanya Hobson-Williams of Hobson-Williams P.C.; Natalie LaMarque of New York Life Insurance Co.; Wendi Lazar of Outten & Golden; Sharon Cohen Levin of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Judith Livingston of Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore; Carmelyn Malalis of the New York City Commission on Human Rights; Taryn Merkl of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York; Patricia Miller of the New York City Law Department; Sheila Mortazavi of Andrews Kurth; Sharon Nelles of Sullivan & Cromwell; Carolyn Nussbaum of Nixon Peabody; Faiza Saeed of Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Leslie Spencer of Ropes & Gray; Tamara Steckler of the Legal Aid Society; Carol Villegas of Labaton Sucharow; Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of the US Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York.
The Profiles in Diversity Journal has named its 2016 Women Worth Watching. Lawyers who were recognized include Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider’s Gail Gottehrer; Campbell Soup’s Tara Smith; Choate, Hall & Stewart’s Brenda Herschbach Jarrell and Melissa Tearney; Dechert’s Catherine Botticelli; Delta Air Lines’ Meg Hopkins Taylor; Fish & Richardson’s Natalie Arbaugh, Linda Liu Kordziel and Cynthia Johnson Walden; FordHarrison’s Tiffany Downs; Freshfields’ Valerie Ford Jacob; Greenberg Traurig’s Annapoorni Sankaran; Haynes and Boone’s Kenya Woodruff; HD Supply’s Susan Stucker; Holwell Shuster & Goldberg’s Dorit Ungar Black and Blair Kaminsky; Jones Walker’s Marjorie A. McKeithan; Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman’s Linda Kornfeld and Jennifer Recine; Latham & Watkins’ Sarah Ray; LinkedIn’s Lora Blum; Marshall, Gerstein & Borun’s Heather Kissling and Katherine Neville; Mayer Brown’s Lisa Ferri; Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp’s Melanie Figueroa; Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg’s Leah Schleicher; New Jersey State Bar Association’s Denise Sharperson; Reed Smith’s Kit Chaskin; Richards Kibbe & Orbe’s Julia Lu; Robins Kaplan’s Kathleen Flynn Peterson; Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox’s Tracy-Gene Durkin and Eldora Ellison; Stikeman Elliott’s Ramandeep Grewal; Sullivan & Cromwell’s Sharon Nelles; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan’s Vanessa Scott; Ulmer & Berne’s Patricia Shlonsky; Wal-Mart Stores’ Phyllis Harris; and WilmerHale’s Lia der Marderosian and Jeannie Rhee.
The Lawyers Alliance for New York presented several women with the 2016 Cornerstone Award for extraordinary pro bono work. Those honored were Rita Dattola of Holland & Knight; Mara B. Levin of Herrick, Feinstein; and Jill Rosenberg of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
The National Diversity Council has released its 2016 list of the Top 50 Women Lawyers. The honorees are Jennifer Bellah Maguire of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Lisa Bodensteiner of SunPower; Angela L. Castro of DLA Piper; Sharon A. Cheever of Pacific Life Insurance; Anne Choi Goodwin of Squire Patton Boggs; Carla Christofferson of AECOM; Aimee Contreras-Camua of Sidley Austin; Karen L. Corman of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Dorian Daley of Oracle; Darragh J. Davis of PetCo; Laura Fennell of Intuit; Amber S. Finch of Reed Smith; Barbara A. Fitzgerald of Morgan Lewis & Bockius; Brandi Galvin Morandi of Equinix; Andra B. Greene of Irell & Manella; Tanya L. Greene of Kirkland & Ellis; Julie Gruber of Gap; Susan L. Heller of Greenberg Traurig; Karen P. Hewitt of Jones Day; Julie Hsu of Yahoo!; Denise Jackson of AMN Healthcare; Michele D. Johnson of Latham & Watkins; Julie M. Kane of PG&E; Mary M. Kasper of Unified Grocers; Lisa Klika of Guild Mortgage; Ann La Morena Rohlin of Norton Rose Fulbright; Sonia Martin of Dentons; Barbara E. Mathews of Edison International; Patricia McCall of Broadcom; Torrey J. McClary of Hogan Lovells; Carol Meltzer of A-Mark; Lynn Miller of Tesla Motors; Susan C. Miller of Avery Dennison; Tritia M. Murata of Morrison Foerster; Kyuli Oh of Electronic Arts; Marie Oh Huber of eBay; Heather M. Peck of Littler Mendelson; Bronwyn F. Pollock of Mayer Brown; Janis B. Salin of Tetra Tech; Rikki A. Sapolich of K&L Gates; Lori A. Schechter of McKesson; Dawn Smith of VMware; Joyce Y. Smith of Baker McKenzie; Hilary Ware of Netflix; Kathleen A. Waters of Health Net; Aimee S. Weisner of Edwards Lifesciences; Martha Wyrsch of Sempra Energy; Lily Yan Hughes of Public Storage; and Jeannine Yoo Sano of White & Case.
PRESENTATIONS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Ropes & Gray Partner Kim Nemirow participated in a panel on Latin America regulatory issues at a Corporate Investigations conference hosted by Sandpiper Partners. The discussion focused on Latin America anti-corruption and regulatory initiatives launched across the region and increased proliferation of investigations and prosecutions.
Greenberg Traurig Associate Emily G. Naughton moderated a panel – “The Advantages of Development in Pacific Northwest Markets: Analysis of the Impact of the Edge, Power, Connectivity & Incentives on the Site Selection” – at the Second Annual Greater Seattle & Pacific Northwest Data Center Summit. Of Counsel Dr. Fang Xie and Shareholder Dr. Melissa Hunter-Ensor spoke at the Boston Bar Association’s (BBA) inaugural Life Sciences Conference. Xie chaired a panel entitled “Patent Subject Matter Eligibility in Biotech—Perspectives from the Industry, USPTO and Private Practice” while Hunter-Ensor led the panel “The Impact of Brexit on the Life Sciences Industry.” Shareholder Jacqueline Becerra was a panelist on “Lessons Learned From The Petrobras Case” at the Corporate Governance Conference co-presented by the International Bar Association (IBA) Capital Markets Forum and the IBA Corporate and M&A Law Committee. Shareholder Martha Sabol spoke at the Malta iGaming Seminar about Brexit and the potential effect it may have on the gaming licensing and regulatory industry.