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Coalition News and Events

July/August 2014


Coalition Events


August 7:  StepUp Shine & Dine


August 21:  Finances 202


September 17: StepUp A View from the Top


September 18: Style & Success


October 1:  Annual Meeting


October 9 Associates Committee Book Club


December 10 Holiday Party


To find out more about these events, please visit

 The Coalition's Website 

Welcome 2014

New Members


Akerman LLP

Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Barnes & Thornburg
Grippo & Elden LLC
Horwood Marcus & Berk
Hughes Socol Piers
Resnick & Dym
Husch Blackwell LLP
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Miller Shakman & Beem LLP
Proskauer Rose
Quarles & Brady LLP

Coalition Job Board 

If you have an in-house attorney position or non-attorney firm position that you would like to post, please email the information to with a cc to Megan Mathias at, 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


2014 Judge's Panel


 On June 26, the Coalition presented its Second Annual Judges Panel on Women in Law, "Insights from the Bench," hosted by the Chicago offices of law firms Jones Day and Morgan Lewis Bockius, LLP.  The event was planned by the Coalition's Associates Committee focusing on junior and mid-level attorneys and welcomed all Coalition members and their guests. FTI Consulting, a global business advisory, sponsored the forum.


Moderator, Carolyn Blessing, an associate with Locke Lord LLP provided a lively panel discussion and open conversation featuring the Hon. Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School; Hon. Mary M. Rowland, U.S. Magistrate, Northern District of Illinois; and Hon. Laura C. Liu, Judge of the Illinois Appellate Court.


"When we initially conceived of the panel, our goal was to create a program that would both honor women in the judiciary and mentor and motivate those of us at the earlier stages of our careers," said Marissa Downs, co-chair of the Coalition's Associate Committee. "Our hope was to foster an intimate, honest dialogue of what we can do to succeed in our careers and overcome the challenges faced by women and minorities in this profession," said Ms. Downs.



With those goals in mind, the panelists shared stories about their own experiences as junior attorneys and addressed their thoughts on courtroom expectations, challenges faced by women attorneys, and perceptions of gender bias in the legal field.  


CLE Certificates

 All CLE certificates for the Coalition's past programs have been issued.  If you need a certificate for a program you attended, please contact our administrator at

StepUp Grant Award
StepUp was honored to be the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Insurance Industry Charitable Fund this spring, made possible by the IICF Women In Insurance Conference Series (WICS).
Step Up was nominated for this grant by Coalition member and WICS Committee Co-Chair Kathy Malamis. Thank you Kathy for nominating Step Up for this gift and helping to continue their mission of propelling teen girls to fulfill their potential! 
Letter from the Board President 


Dear Coalition Delegates:


Thank you to our committee chairs for making this a fantastic year for the Coalition - in the past six months, we have hosted 12 CLE programs and several networking events.  We now have 60 member firms and many new in-house memberships. Hundreds of attorneys attended our Managing Partner/General Counsel event and Judge's Panel in June, and we have many interesting events scheduled to take place in the next few months, with even more in the planning stages.  Attorneys from the Coalition have been featured in the press and won several awards, with support and encouragement from the Coalition. 


Getting involved in a Coalition committee is a great way to network with attorneys from other law firms and companies in the area and to learn new ideas for succeeding in the legal profession.  Committees accepting new members now include Programming, Community Outreach, Membership, In-House, Associates and Career Development.  Please send an email to chicago@thewomenscoalition for more information.


Hope to see you soon at one of our events or meetings.


Warm regards,


Margo Wolf O'Donnell

Shareholder, Vedder Price

President, Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law

Coalition Awards 



The Coalition is still accepting nominations for the Inspiration Award and the Benchmark Award.

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.
Coalition Logo

The fourth annual Shine & Dine, a gala benefiting Step Up in Chicago, is a chic evening of networking, philanthropy and local fare from Chicago's most popular restaurants.  All proceeds benefit Step Up's charitable programs. 



August 7, 2014             Click for more information
5:30-6:30 p.m. VIP Reception     6:30-9:30 p.m. Shine & Dine

Bridgeport Arts Center's Skyline Loft

1200 West 35th Street, Chicago

Special Honoree Catherine De Orio, Host of Check Please!

Finances 202:

A Playbook for Alternative Fee Arrangements


August 21, 2014
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLC
Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Illinois CLE Credit Pending

Please join us for this second installment of the Coalition's popular three-part Finances 200 Series.  Finances 202, is designed to provide an "AFAs playbook" that both outside and inside counsel can use to strengthen their understanding and their utilization of various AFAs.  
Moderated by Emily Milman of Crate&Barrel, our panel of experts will feature Audrey Rubin of AON and Linda Miller of GE, and outside counsel Shayna Cook, Lauren Loew, and Katherine Minarik, all of whom are highly experienced in various types of AFAs and will offer practical insight from the in-house and outside counsel's perspectives for litigation and transactional matters.   Please REGISTER early to ensure your spot for this program!

A View From The Top Panel

September 17, 2014


This annual panel event is sponsored by the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law, as well as McGuireWoods and BMO Harris, and will feature c-level women in discussion about their career journeys.


5:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP
300 N. LaSalle, Chicago   Learn More and Register Here 


The Only National Forum Facilitating Women-to-Women Exchange on Current Legal Issues. The second annual Women, Influence & Power in Law Conference has a uniquely substantive focus, covering the topics that matter most to corporate counsel, outside counsel, and public sector attorneys. 

Click here for more information 

September 17 - 19, 2014

The Capital Hilton, Washington, DC 

Style and Success

Building a Wardrobe that Works at Work

What does your personal style say about you as a professional?  How do you build a lasting wardrobe yet keep up with changing trends? 
Please join us as EpsteinSchwartz Legal Search presents Judi McCarthy, Chicago Personal Stylist/Shopper.  Judi will address these concerns and others, as well as take your questions.  Judi works with professional men and women across various industries and has a keen understanding of how personal style can help shape your personal and professional image.  
Judi's presentation will be followed by cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and networking.
DATE: September 18, 2014         Register Now! 
TIME: 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Presented by:

Coalition Spotlight - Amina Bah


This summer, through its partnership with Step Up Women's Network, the Coalition is proud to sponsor a Step Up teen intern. Amina Bah is a recent graduate of Muchin College Prep where she has been involved in Step Up teen programming since the ninth grade, attending every Step Up teen event. In August she will be starting her freshman year at the University of Illinois- Springfield.

 As a first generation American, and soon to be first generation college student, Amina is determined to pursue her dreams and goals of studying International Affairs and addressing women's issues. Amina's parents are from Guinea.  Cultural differences between the United States and Guinea have led Amina to tackle various questions surrounding women's rights and feminism, as well as her own family's expectations of gender roles. Step Up has been very supportive of her dreams and goals and encourages her to pursue her passions:  "I strongly believe that whatever men can do, women can as well. Step Up has taught me so much about the workforce for women and the variety of career options that are out there. When I enter my chosen career field, my goal is to help women not feel inferior and to be recognized on the same level as men." Amina was recently awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Race Relations from the Princeton Prize Club of Chicago for creating a student group at Muchin Prep, "We Are One," to help students better understanding the world and its cultures.  

The Coalition supports Amina's goals, too. This summer she is participating in a six week internship, working with Coalition members BMO Financial and Horwood, Marcus & Berk. At BMO, Amina will be exposed to the multi-faceted operations of a global financial services company. She will be working with the Legal Department, the Anti-Money Laundering/Bank Secrecy Act Unit, and the Investigative & Security Services Group. At HMB, Amina will be working on a variety of legal projects and cases and have the opportunity to see live courtroom activity.

"I'm so impressed with Amina," says Stacee Hasenbalg at BMO. "She is a real go-getter. She's focused on getting the experience she needs to reach her goals and to make a difference in the world. I know she's here to learn from us, but we're learning a lot, too! It's really great to catch her enthusiasm. I'm excited for her and her future!"