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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. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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