2013 Coalition Logo
December, 2014                                                                Coalition Newsletter


Upcoming Events


In-House to

Power-House Series Kick-Off

January 14th 

Joint Board / Advisory Committee Meeting

January 21st

 Women Employed

January 22nd


Returnships  Program with CBA

January 29th


Book Club Event - Striving to Thrive in the Legal Profession

February 11th


Welcome to Our Newest Member!


Paul Hastings

2014 Leadership Forum in Pictures


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 the Coalition Admin and we will post it to the Coalition's website job board. 
Dear Members, Delegates and Friends:

As 2014 draws to a close, we turn our focus to 2015.  As you can see by looking at our calendar, 2015 promises to be another robust year.  We look forward to launching new opportunities and will continue to host a wealth of programming for female attorneys at all levels of practice. 


We are also fortunate that we are able to hold dues at the same level for 2015 for our law firm members and at the same or lower rate for our corporate members and in-house counsel.  Please remember to include the Coalition in your budget for next year.  Our membership mailings will be sent out in January and we look forward to your continued participation in the Coalition.


Our first program for 2015 will kick-off the "In-House to Power-House" Series on January 14, 2015.  This series will provide a tremendous offering of professional development and networking programs for our in-house counsel members.  We hope you will spread the word to all of your friends and contacts that might be interested, so we can continue to grow this group.


Most of our committees are still looking for additional members for the coming year.  If one of your goals for the coming year is to get more involved, this is a great way to take on a leadership position and network with both private practice and in-house counsel members, as well as sponsors, law students, authors and others in the legal community.  Feel free to reach out to me directly at owens@htl-law.com to find out more.


Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!


Marcia Owens

Coalition's In-House to Power-House: Professional Development Series

A series of eight (6) building block sessions designed to build from program-to-program to encourage, assist and foster the professional development of the Coalition's In-House Counsel constituents.

Kick-Off Event: Success Stories

This luncheon will kick-off the series. The distinguished panel will consist of individuals who have forged their own path and who provide insight as to how they reach their goals, including key skills and significant opportunities leading to success.  

Pia Thompson -  Executive Director/Deputy General Counsel, Navigant
Cynthia Abbott - Chief Litigation Counsel, Motorola Mobility LLC
Cathy Landman - General Counsel, Jostens

Meredith Ritchie - Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Alliant Credit Union

Illinois CLE credit to be applied for.


January 14, 2015

Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Hosted by Navigant

10 S. Wacker Drive, 12th floor, Chicago


Register to Attend 

Coalition PR/Social Media Sub-Committee Needs Your Help!


The newly formed Social Media Committee needs your help with raising awareness of the Coalition through social media. Please: join, follow and "like" the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and ask your firms to do the same


LinkedIn:     Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law 

Twitter:        @ChiWomenInLaw 

Facebook:    Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law 


If you would like to join the Social Media Committee (or even just let us know of articles, awards, etc. that should be shared with the entire Coalition), please contact Rue Toland (rtoland@mayerbrown.com) or Kelly Glynn (kglynn3@gmail.com).

Attorneys In Transition
Panel Presentation On Returnships

The On-Ramp Fellowship was launched one year ago to provide women lawyers re-entering the profession one year paid positions at top law firms.  A year later, participation has quadrupled.  Come listen to a panel of thought leaders on why returnships are a win-win for employers and returning professionals.  They will provide historical data on returnships in several industries as well as information on training available for returnees in the legal profession offered by law schools and bar associations.  Real life experiences, both from the law firm and the returnee, will spotlight how returnships work in practice, how they help provide on-ramps and how they benefit the participating firms. 


The program will also feature a "text your question" format that allows attendees the opportunity to text questions in real time, throughout the panel discussion.

Carol Fishman Cohen - CEO & co-founder, iRelaunch
Maribeth Bailey - National Director Talent Acquisition, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Caren Ulrich Stacy - Founder, OnRamp Fellowship & Legal Talent Lab
Elizabth McCloy - Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Pamela Zdunek - OnRamp Fellow, Sidley Austin LLP
Thursday, January 29, 2015

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Networking Reception to Follow


Locke Lord LLP

111 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL

Please bring a photo ID for security


Illinois CLE credit to be applied for.


Sponsored by: 

2013 Coalition Logo           

Coalition Member Spotlight - Katie Rak

Katie Rak is an employee benefits attorney at McGuireWoods LLP.  She also serves as the Treasurer of the Coalition.  Katie's practice focuses primarily on assisting clients in the structuring and legal compliance of retirement and health and welfare benefits, representing clients before the IRS and the DOL, and counseling benefit plan fiduciary committees.


What do you enjoy most about the practice of law?   I enjoy interacting with immensely talented people and the ability to challenge myself intellectually to find solutions for clients that help them sleep better at night.  The nature of my practice is such that we often develop long-standing relationships with clients over the course of years and I talk to several of them almost daily.  It's a privilege to be the person they call on when the answer isn't easy.  I also enjoy the process of learning and, as we all know, being a lawyer involves constant development and evolution - the answer that worked yesterday may not be the same one that works today and developing that ability to think on your feet and build expertise is something that I find both infinitely challenging and rewarding.


Why did you get involved in the Coalition?  I have really benefitted in my life by surrounding myself with strong, gifted, and graceful women who challenge me to do things that I never imagined I could or would do.  The Coalition provides a space for all of us to find examples of the type of women and lawyers we want to become, fall into friendships with women who challenge and support our professional endeavors, and provide us with opportunities to be supportive of other women who may be on their way to doing things they never imagined themselves doing either.


What are your outside interests?  My kids, Declan and Maeve (both 3.5 years old) and Gavin (our 5 year old), keep me moving from the moment they show up way-too-early at my bedside (note: not Dad's) to the moment we all collapse in bed.  We love to be outside - playing sports, hiking at the arboretum, getting out to the beach - if we can expend energy doing it, it means everyone sleeps better.    I really enjoy watching college football, dabbling in running/triathlon when I find a spare season, and reading fairly-mindless novels.   I also serve on the Board of Step Up and my husband and I serve as co-Presidents of our local alumni club - GO IRISH!


What is one piece of advice that you want to share with other women lawyers? Stretch yourself - I think we are all far more capable than we believe ourselves to be - we'll never know the outside limits of what we can achieve if we stay in a place that's comfortable.

Coalition Coach's Corner

Coach's Corner is a new feature in our newsletter, and is authored by Coalition member Jennifer Rakstad. Jennifer is the Career Development Advisor (US) at Mayer Brown LLP and a certified coach (ACC; Hudson Institute). A full answer to this question will be posted on the Coalition's LinkedIn page.

Dear Coach,

I don't have a good sense whether I am on the partnership track at my firm - how can I go about getting the feedback I need without seeming too pushy?


Desperately Seeking Feedback

Dear Seeker of Feedback,

In my experience, women are more reluctant to ask the "partnership question." You will benefit by both asking the question and by expressing your career ambitions. An easy place to start is your firm's evaluation process. Questions about where you stand are a natural outgrowth of an in-person review meeting. Include your career and partnership goals in any written self-evaluation. But neither is a substitute for ongoing conversations with your mentors.

Start with the partner you consider to be your primary "champion." If there isn't a partner that fits into this category, speak with your Practice Leader or a more senior partner. Invite them to lunch or coffee or schedule a meeting. Go into the meeting prepared with an agenda in mind, and use it to gather information by asking open-ended questions, like "I am interested in becoming a partner and want to get your advice about where I stand?" or "Can you tell me more about the partner promotion process and how to best position myself?" Consider asking questions about what you can do to improve: "What changes would I have to make to be a 'shoe in' for partner?" or "What is the most important thing for me to do to increase my chances of making partner?"

By asking open-ended questions and engaging in a dialogue, you can avoid coming off as "pushy." But don't stop there - ask your partner mentors for help, including creating a game plan for your promotion, identifying and making introductions to key stakeholders, defining your "business case" and where you fit into your practice area, and reviewing your business plan.  

Ultimately, your career is in your hands. If you want to find out where you stand and keep the door to promotion open, it is up to you to get the conversation started.

Best of luck to you,

Coach Jen

Women Employed Presentation
January 22, 2015
Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Since 1973, Women Employed has worked to break down systemic barriers to women's economic equality. Women Employed Executive Director, Anne Ladky, will share comments on a forthcoming report that explores the status of low wage working women in Chicago and how business and community leaders can act to make this a truly great city for all women. Director of Equal Opportunity Policy, Melissa Josephs, will discuss recent wins and current legislative actions designed to improve workplaces for women.
Hosted by: Kirkland & Ellis                           Register Here
300 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago
 Holiday Celebration Photos
Coalition Members and their guests gathered at the Women's Athletic Club on December 10th for the Annual Holiday Celebration.

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