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IBA: IndyBar's First Women's Symposium Exceeds Goals

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Area lawyers gathered to attend the Women, Law & Leadership Symposium, hosted by the IndyBar Women and Law Division (WLD) on October 5 and 6, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Indianapolis.

The day-and-a-half-long event marked the WLD’s 25th Anniversary. For twenty-five years, WLD has worked to promote the advancement of women in the Indianapolis legal community by providing a variety of educational, networking, and philanthropic engagements and opportunities.
 

wld-photo-1-15col.jpg An enthusiastic crowd gathered to kick off the IndyBar’s first Women’s Symposium at its opening reception at the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis.

The event opened with a reception and dinner on October 5. The dinner featured Martha S. West, Professor Emerita from University of California-Davis, as keynote speaker. Professor West’s address was titled “Choices and Changes.” Her remarks on reproductive decision-making kept the audience buzzing the following day. Also at the dinner, WLD presented its annual Antoinette Dakin Leach award to the Honorable Margret Robb. Judge Robb, who was recently appointed Chief Judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals, impressed the audience with an inspiring address in which she remarked on the early hardships faced by women in law and the demonstrable progress that has been made in recent years.

On October 6, the Symposium began with a Table Topics breakfast, during which attendees enjoyed breakfast while participating in discussions on several timely self-improvement topics. The conference attendees next participated in a plenary session titled “Building Your Success,” featuring three panels composed almost entirely of past Antoinette Dakin Leach award winners. First, Ann Delaney, Monica Foster, and the Honorable Denise LaRue provided insight and guidance on personally defining success. Second, Abigail Kuzma, the Honorable Jane Magnus-Stinson, and Myra Selby discussed the importance of mentoring and advised regarding finding mentors and navigating the mentor-mentee relationship. Third, Deborah Daniels, Francina Dlouhy, and Heather Wilson relayed insightful and practical advice about how the attendees can brand and market themselves to improve their business development proficiency.



wld-photo-5-15col.jpg Lawyers from a variety of practice areas and practice environments packed the meeting rooms to learn about a broad spectrum of topics.

At mid-day, attendees gathered for the Symposium’s “Leadership Luncheon” featuring Roberta Liebenberg, a senior partner at Fine Kaplan and Black, RPC in Philadelphia and the immediate past chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession. In her remarks, Ms. Liebenberg detailed how, despite comprising nearly 50 percent of law school student bodies for many years, the number of women in leadership roles in law firms continues to lag far behind men due to what she described as “implicit bias” that impacts many areas of law firm decision-making. Ms. Liebenberg shared with the audience her views on how organizations can begin to eradicate implicit bias as well as specific strategies to help women lawyers advance in law firms and other workplace settings.


wld-photo-2web-1col.jpg (Left) Christi Anderson, Shannon Landreth, Whitney Mosby, Meg Christensen all of Bingham McHale and Debi Edwards of Heritage Environmental Services enjoy an evening of networking and camaraderie.

Following lunch, the Symposium offered attendees their choice of CLE break-out sessions. Among the timely topics covered in the afternoon sessions was “Diversity as a Competitive Advantage,” featuring the nationally recognized legal scholar William Henderson. Marion County judges, Hon. Cale Bradford, Hon. Sheila Carlisle, and Hon. Heather Welch presented “In the Courtroom: Advice from the Bench.” A panel of five lawyers, including Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Lori Torres, presented “Human Trafficking: Closer to Home Than You Think.” A total of eight sessions led by panels of well-known lawyers from the Indianapolis legal community comprised the afternoon’s program.

The Symposium Planning Committee was pleased to receive sponsorship funding from its Gold Sponsor, Ice Miller LLP, and Silver Sponsors Cantrell Strenski & Mehringer and DeLaney & DeLaney LLC. Bronze sponsors included Baker & Daniels, Frank Law, Krieg DeVault, LewisWagner LLP, Spotlight Strategies, and Stewart & Irwin PC. Due to the generosity of several organizations, nine law students and recent law school graduates received scholarships that permitted them to attend the Symposium free of charge.


wld-photo-4web-1col.jpg Carol Nemeth Joven of Price Waicukauski & Riley and Christina Clark of Baker & Daniels congratulate The Hon. Margret Robb, Chief Judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals, 2011 recipient of the IndyBar Women and the Law Division’s Antoinette Dakin Leach Award.

One Symposium presenter, Jim Dimos, partner at Frost Brown Todd, stated that he “enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in the conference. It was well done and I hope that the Division feels it was successful – from my perspective it certainly was.” Frank Law owner Leona Frank reflected that the Symposium “was amazing. The program descriptions did not do justice to the level of speaker and the phenomenal content.”

WLD’s goal in presenting the Symposium was to provide thought-provoking educational programs and an arena for area lawyers to come together to establish new relationships and strengthen existing ones. Thanks to the contributions and support of the dedicated members of the Symposium Planning Committee, the WLD Executive Committee, the IndyBar staff, the Symposium Sponsors, and the myriad of speakers, WLD’s goals were met and exceeded.•

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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