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Coalition News and Upcoming Events

June 2014
In This Issue
Managing Partner/General Counsel Forum
Judge's Panel
Member Spotlight
Coalition in Photos
Summer with Step Up

2014 Coalition Awards


The Coalition Awards are designed to recognize women and law firms or corporate legal departments that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and a passionate commitment to the advancement of women in law.


The Leadership Award will be given to a delegate of the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law ("Coalition") who demonstrates commitment and dedication to the Coalition in addition to the criteria set forth below.


The Inspiration Award will be given to a female attorney who serves as an inspiration to other female attorneys and meets the criteria set forth below.


The Benchmark Award will be given to a law firm or corporate legal department that has demonstrated passion and commitment to leading the advancement of women's issues and meets the criteria below. The honored organization will be selected based on its unique approach to increasing the success of gender diversity, its demonstrated efforts to inspire and educate the members of the law firm, legal group, or business to understand the importance and value of gender parity in the legal profession, and its recognition and provision of the tools necessary to increase the number of female attorneys in the highest ranks of the law firm or corporate environment and implement a plan for its members to utilize those tools.


Rules and Regulations

Winners will be selected by the Community Outreach Committee of the Coalition. All submitted entries are the property of the Coalition and may be used by the Coalition for any purpose in connection with The Leadership Award, The Inspiration Award, The Benchmark Award for the promotion of the Coalition, the Leadership Forum or any of the Awards. The Coalition retains the right to publish the names of nominees and recipients.



To nominate a woman for either the Leadership Award or the Inspiration Award, please prepare a letter of nomination describing in 200 words or less why the candidate qualifies for the award. You should include a bio for the nominee, as well as copies of any articles or supporting materials and no more than 3 letters of reference.


To nominate an organization for the Benchmark Award, please prepare a letter describing in 200 words or less the organization's unique approach to promoting gender diversity and its successes in implementing the approach.


The nomination should be delivered by hard copy to Julianne Hartzell, 233 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 6300, Chicago, Illinois 60606 


by Friday, June 27, 2014.




Job Board 

 The Coalition Job Board is now active on the Member Portion of the Coalition's website. 


If you have an in-house attorney position or non-attorney firm position that you would like to post, please email the information to chicago@thewomenscoalition.com with a cc to Megan Mathias at megan@loppmathiaslaw.com, and we will post it on the Coalition website job board.  The Job Board may be found in the member portion of the website.



Quick Links

The Coalition's Mission Statement

The Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law's mission is to benefit its member firms and companies, and its individual in-house counsel members by providing positive avenues of communication, collaboration and guidance that help members to

1) enhance the recruitment, retention and promotion of women lawyers and

2) support the building, implementation and continued relevancy of women's initiatives in law firms and companies.



Letter from the President 


Dear Coalition Delegates:


Two of the Coalition's biggest events of the year are this month -- the Managing Partner/General Counsel Forum and Judge's Panel.  Both events offer CLE and the opportunity to learn success strategies from experts in the legal field.  The Judge's Panel is currently on a wait list, but the Managing Partner/General Counsel CLE and cocktail party on June 5 has space for delegates and any other attorneys from firms or companies who may have an interest in the Coalition.  It should be a fantastic event with an all-star panel and a chance for networking.  We hope to see you and your colleagues and clients there.  You can sign up via the invitation link in this newsletter.


Thank you to everyone for their efforts in connection with our May events and CLEs -- Katherine Minarik, Megan Mathias and the Career Development Committee put on a very well-run speed networking event; Kim Metrick, Meredith Ritchie and Yeny Estrada organized a second successful in-house CLE and networking event; and our collaboration with NAWL on the Pathways to Partnership Event resulted in an all-day coaching event for over one hundred attorneys. 


Please consider nominating an attorney, firm or company for one of the Coalition's awards.  These awards will be presented at our Leadership Forum in the fall and are a great way to recognize those who have worked to promote and support women in the legal profession.  Information on applying is included in this newsletter.


As always, please contact me with any ideas for furthering the Coalition's mission of furthering the career advancement of women at all levels of the legal profession.


Warm regards,


Margo Wolf O'Donnell

Shareholder, Vedder Price

President, Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law

Managing Partner/General Counsel Forum - CLE and Networking


June 5, 2014            

4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Program

5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Networking


Managing Partner Panel

The event will begin with a presentation by Carrie Hightman, General Counsel of NiSource Inc., followed by a panel that will include Kelly McNamara Corley, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Discover Financial Services; Thomas Sabatino, General Counsel of Walgreens; Tina Tabacchi, Partner-in-Charge of Jones Day's Chicago office; and Dan Formeller, the Senior Chairman of Tressler.  Jennifer Kenedy, the Managing Partner of Locke Lord's Chicago office, will serve as moderator.
Location:  Offices of Locke Lord, 111 South Wacker Drive

Judge's Panel Event


June 26, 2014               

11:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Panelists include:
Judge Diane Wood (7th Cir.)
Judge Mary Rowland (N.D. Ill.)
Judge Kathy Flanagan (Circuit Court of Cook County) 
Judge Liu (Illinois Appellate Court).



Co-hosted by Morgan Lewis & Jones Day at 77 W. Wacker.


This event is currently full.  To be added to the waitlist, please email Chicago@thewomenscoalition.com with your

name, firm or company name and email address.

Member Spotlight - Marcia Owens


For this month's spotlight, we asked Marcia to answer 5 questions:


Why did you enter the practice of law?


Interestingly, I started college at the University of Iowa in the pre-med program.  After a year of chemistry, I realized that I could do the work, but had no passion for it.  I knew that I wanted to enter a profession and decided that a business degree followed by law school would better suit my personality and interests and also soften the news to my parents (although my sister became the doctor of the family). 


Who do you consider your mentor and/or sponsor?


I have learned from many lawyers and non-lawyers over the years.  However, Bruce Boruszak was my primary mentor and sponsor.  As my summer "big sibling" and upon returning to the firm in the fall, he took me under his wing and gave me the opportunity to work directly with clients on a variety of real estate transactions.  Although he is no longer in private practice, he remains one of my "go-to" people.


Why did you get involved in the Coalition?


The Coalition was founded the same year that I became the chair of what was then the Women's Initiative at Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP.  The Coalition seemed like a natural fit for our firm and I was seeking new ideas for our own internal program.  It only took a couple of meetings for me to realize this organization was a gem, both for the opportunities to meet other similarly situated women lawyers, but also to share in additional programming and ideas that I could bring back to my own firm. 


What are your outside interests?


Where do I begin?  Most of my outside activities or interests revolve around my 3 children and topics or organizations of interest to them.  Of note, I am currently in my 5th year as a Trustee of the Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago and lead a third grade Girl Scout troop of 19 girls. 


What is one piece of advice that you want to share with other women lawyers?


Don't give up.  We have all read the statistics about women lawyers in law firms.  Law firm issues, societal issues and family issues all force the decisions that women make to leave the practice.  However, I have heard too many women regret that they had not worked harder to stay in the practice in some form or another.  While private practice may not be the answer, law provides you with critical thinking skills that are valuable in many professions, whether it is running a business, working for a non-profit or any number of other careers that may offer the flexibility, geographic location or other qualities for which you search.    


Marcia Owens is a Partner at Hamilton, Thies & Lorch LLP and the Vice President of the Coalition.  Her practice focuses on commercial real estate representing developers, investors and lenders in all aspects of acquisition, disposition, financing and leasing of real estate.  Marcia previously spent 15 years at Edwards, Wildman Palmer LLP where she co-chaired the Women's Global Initiative.

Education, Networking and Social Events Caught on Camera


E-Discovery Panel Presentation
Pictured Left to Right:
Margo Wolf O'Donnell
   Shareholder, Vedder Price
Elyse Tish                                                  
  Senior Attorney, Walgreens

Lisa Simmons

  Partner, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP




Speed Networking Event 

Hosted by Vedder Price 
Visit us on facebook to view more photos.
Summer Step Up Events 
June 5
Power Breakfast with Donna Towle: Add a little inspiration to your breakfast with a morning of intimate discussion with United Airline's Donna Towle. Sponsored by United Airlines. Open to Icon+ members. 8-10am. Willis Tower.
June 7 and July 12
Young Luminaries Group Mentoring: Spend Saturday morning mentoring with our rock star Step Up seniors on career and internship prep. 10am-2pm, Northern Trust, 181 W. Madison St., 7th Floor.
June 10
Salon at LOFT: Mingle, receive special discounts and shop to benefit Step Up. 6-8pm. 111 W. Monroe St.
June 18
Step Up Open House: Learn how to make the most of your membership and how Step Up members make an impact in the lives of teen girls. Bring friends to introduce to Step Up! 5:30-7:30pm. Groupon, 600 W. Chicago Ave.
June 25
Power Breakfast with Carrie Hightman, Violet Sistovaris and Ana Dutra: Add a little inspiration to your breakfast with a morning of intimate discussion. Sponsored by NiSource. Open to Icon+ members. 8-10am.
Click Here for more information on these events