2013 Coalition Logo

Coalition News and Events

September/October, 2014


Coalition Events


October 1: 

Annual Meeting


October 2:

Book Club Event


October 15:

Board Boot Camp


October 23:

Cole Haan Shopping Event


October 28:

Women Working Together: Using Data to Change the Future


November 18:

5th Annual Leadership Forum


December 10

Holiday Party


To find out more about these events, please visit

 The Coalition's Website 

Welcome to Our Newest Member!



Spellmire Law Firm LLC

2014 Annual Meeting 

October 1, 2014

12 - 1:30 p.m.

Vedder Price

222 N. LaSalle Street Chicago


Please join us for the annual meeting of the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law.  Find out about the exciting developments over the past year, how our organization has grown, and how you can become involved and benefit from a network focused on career advancement and professional development, and to help fuel the continued growth of women's initiatives.

Coalition committee representatives will be available to answer questions and discuss plans for the coming months.  Click here to learn more about the Coalition's Committees. 

Attendees will vote on the Leadership slate for 2015.  Each member law firm and company should have a delegate attend, if possible.


VIP Shopping Event

Join the Coalition for a Private VIP Shopping event at Cole Haan.  Attendees will receive 30% off in-store purchases during the event.


 October 23, 2014

6 - 8 p.m.

673 N. Michigan Ave.



Click Here to RSVP


5th Annual

Leadership Forum


 The program will feature our annual awards presentation and a keynote speech from Pamela Ryckman,

the author of


Inside the Women's Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business.


Pamela Ryckman has written for The New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, Fortune.com/CNNMoney, and The New York Observer, among other publications.


Register Today!


November 18, 2014 4:00-6:30 p.m.

 Kirkland and Ellis LLP 

300 N. LaSalle St., Chicago 


September 29: Afterschool Mentoring Begins!

Our 2014-2015 school year kicks off at our four partner schools, Mondays-Thursdays. Join us at a school site for an impactful afternoon of mentoring freshmen, sophomore or junior Step Up teens. Dates and location, as well as RSVP,  here.


September 29: Luminary Circle Cocktails at The Dawson: Luminary Circle members are invited to join us for an intimate night of sips, snacks and networking. RSVP and details  here.


October 4: Young Luminaries Mentoring:

Group mentoring with Step Up seniors kicks-off, and will be held the first Saturday of each month. Join our 12th graders on their journey through the college application and acceptance process, and help them prepare for summer internships. RSVP and details  here.


October 16: Open House: Current members are invited to learn more about how to make the most of their Step Up membership, as well as bring friends and colleagues who are interested in learning about membership. RSVP and details  here.


October 23: Power Breakfast with Laura Kofoid:

The founder of Laudi Vidni joins us for a Power Breakfast discussion sponsored by Loeb & Loeb LLP and media sponsor CS. Hosted by The Godfrey Hotel. RSVP and details  here.


October 25: College Connections Conference: Join us for a one-day, one-on-one mentoring conference. You'll be paired with a Step Up student and focus on college topics such as building your application and resume, overcoming challenges and of course, the campus tour. Hosted by Loyola University Chicago at the Lakeshore Campus and sponsored by the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law, US Bank and Northwest Evaluation Association. RSVP and details  here. 

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 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
Letter from the Board President 


Dear Coalition Delegates:


Our annual meeting is fast approaching, which means that my term as President of the Coalition is coming to a close. I wanted to thank this year's Leadership Team for all they did to implement innovative and successful programing aimed at helping women attorneys succeed. I also would like to recognize my fellow Coalition officers, Marcia Owens, Jennifer Rakstad and Jenny Waters, for their hard work. This year's numbers tell the story:

62 member law firms

In-house attorneys from 25 companies

More than 30 programs, including 20 hours of CLE credit offered

Event held for 100 area law students

5th Year of Charitable Partnership with Step Up Women's Network

Joint programming with NAWL, WBAI, the Chicago Network and more

Coalition support for numerous local and national awards

The Coalition has many committees that need your help in the coming year, including Programming, Membership, Public Relations, Community Outreach and Career Development. To find out how to get involved now, you can email me at modonnell@vedderprice.com or our admin at chicago@thewomenscoalition.com, or attend our annual meeting.

Thank you for the honor of serving as President of the Coalition this year and hope to see you at the Coalition's upcoming events detailed in this newsletter.

Warm regards,


Margo Wolf O'Donnell

Shareholder, Vedder Price

President, Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law

Book Club Event:

Striving to Thrive in the Legal Profession


Please join the Associates Committee of the Coalition for a discussion of Arianna Huffington's book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.  In Thrive, Huffington argues that we must redefine what it means to be successful in today's world.  According to Huffington, pursuit of the traditional metrics of success-money and power-has led to unhappiness, stress, and burn-out.  Huffington argues that we need a third metric for defining success, which includes well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. 


Three distinguished attorneys will lead a discussion of the book and its applicability to women in the legal profession.  Drawing on their varied background, the discussion leaders will talk about what it means to be successful in the legal field and how women can pursue a successful legal career in a manner that embraces the third metric.


NOTE: Attendees need not have read Huffington's book to participate and benefit from the the discussion. The Committee will circulate a list of key concepts and discussion topics in advance of the event for those who do not have time to read the book.

 October 2, 2014

6:00 - 7:30 PM

 Hosted by: McGuireWoods LLP

77 W. Wacker Drive, 44th Floor



The discussion leaders will include:

Jane Pigott, Managing Director, R3 Group LLC;  Susan Lichtenstein, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc; and Amy Manning, Managing Partner of the Chicago office, McGuireWoods LLP  

                     Board Boot Camp


The Career Development Committee of the Coalition of Women's Initiatives presents


Linda Bolliger, the founder of Boardroom Bound.  Bollinger will give her famous Boardology presentation on board readiness, how to find the right board for each stage in your career, expectations on board positions, and creating a plan to translate non-profit board experience to the business boardroom.  Ms. Bolliger founded Boardroom Bound to initiate an innovative paradigm change in the way director candidates from next generations of business leaders are prepared and selected for business governance leadership.  She has decades of experience training and placing women, men and minorities in board positions. Don't miss out on this opportunity to bolster your career goals with the ultimate learning experience.  www.boardroombound.com

October 15, 2014 12:00-1:15pm
Hosted by Chapman and Cutler LLP
111 W. Monroe Street, Chicago 

Women Working Together

Using Data to Change the Future


2013 Coalition Logo


October 28, 2014

4:00 to 5:30 p.m. - Reception to follow

Jenner & Block:  353 N. Clark Street, Chicago 


We are pleased to invite you to an important and informative event!  The Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law, the National Association of Women Lawyers, the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, and Women Everywhere will present the annual report on the Chicago Call to Action (CTA), now in its eleventh year of tracking progress in the advancement of women into leadership roles in the Chicago legal community.  The CTA measures gender diversity among the top Chicago-area law firms by looking at: (1) the percentage of women partners;  (2) the percentage of women associates; and (3) the percentage of women in an "other attorneys" category. 


This year we will also hear from representatives of several organizations that compile significant benchmarking reports on women's advancement in the local legal and corporate sectors:


Gloria Santona, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of McDonald's Corporation and Chairwoman of The Chicago Network's Census for 2013, will describe the results of the Census, which monitors the progress of women in leadership roles in the top 50 public companies in the Chicago area and how the data has changed over time; 


Deborah Froling, Partner at Arent Fox and Immediate Past President of the National Association of Women Lawyers and Co-chair of NAWL's Survey Committee, will discuss its Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, including the most recent results and the long view after eight surveys; 


Jane Pigott, Managing Director of R3 Group LLC and Co-chair of the Chicago Bar Association's Alliance for Women when the CBA approved the Call to Action, will present the most recent survey results and share some history of and key takeaways from the initiative.


After their individual remarks, the three leaders will participate in a discussion moderated by Claudia Wolf, Partner at Deloitte, about how the various sets of data relate, how they can be used to make progress, and what we can all do to help women advance at a faster rate.


At the reception after the program, we will celebrate milestones for two groups of women working together.  This year is the 100th anniversary of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, an association bringing together women lawyers from across the state to learn, network, and advocate for all women. It is also the 15th anniversary of the Women Everywhere: Partners In Service Project, a not-for-profit dedicated to providing volunteer services from the legal community to women and children in need. 


It is a rare program that brings so many different local, statewide and national women's groups to the same table to work together and celebrate each other.  We hope you will join us to learn from the collaboration and plan for a future working together to advance women in law.  We extend our appreciation to the Jenner & Block Women's Forum for sponsoring the event. 


Register to Attend


Application for Illinois CLE is pending.

Coalition Spotlight - Julianne Hartzell


Why did you get involved in the Coalition?

Lily Rin-Laures, now a member of the executive committee at  Marshall, Gerstein & Borun, asked me to represent the firm as a member of the Coalition's original board of directors. It was an eye-opening and inspiring experience for me to get to meet so many amazing women and to hear about the programs that other firms were implementing to help their attorneys develop and grow business and share those ideas with my firm.


What do you consider the most important benefit of being an active member of the Coalition?

Although my involvement with the Coalition has had many benefits, I think there are two things that I most appreciate. First, I find the annual Leadership Forum to be a great opportunity to be newly inspired by the amazing speakers and to come away with active steps I can take over the next year to develop my career and implement with my firm's Women's Group. Second, the Coalition has actively encouraged me to do many things that I didn't have the courage to do on my own and supported me throughout the process. For example, although I was hesitant to submit my name, Kristen Werries Collier and the other members of the community outreach committee successfully nominated me for the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women's Alta May Hulett Award and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin's 40 Lawyers Under 40 to Watch - both of which meant a lot to me.


Who do you consider your mentor and/or sponsor?

While everyone that I have worked with has been incredibly supportive, Thomas Ross at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun has been very active in advocating for me to be lead trial counsel or to handle an oral argument or to nominate me for recognition. Outside of my firm, I admire the accomplishments of Meredith (Mimi) Martin Addy and have appreciated the opportunity to get to know her through the Chicago intellectual property community.


What are your outside interests?

Most of my free time is spent going to concerts, playing recreational sports, and travelling. Last weekend was Riot Fest and I had a great time, despite the mud that took over Humboldt Park. I play volleyball, tennis, and floor hockey. While my travel wish list is long, I think either Sweden, Argentina, or Iceland might be one of my next destinations.


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

Step outside your comfort zone. At each stage in my career, I have found myself intimidated when taking on new and expanded roles (for example, the first time I was lead counsel in charge of a team of attorneys and paralegals taking a case to trial) but in each instance, the rewards of the experience have always been worth the work required to get ready for the new responsibility. It took an intentional effort on my part to overcome my initial instinct to turn down great opportunities out of fear but I have never regretted taking the chance.


Julianne Hartzell is a Partner at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP and a past President of the Coalition.  Her practice focuses on intellectual property litigation including representing both plaintiffs and defendants in patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret litigation.