NAWL's 9th Annual Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms shows that no demonstrable progress being made in the rate at which firms promote women to partner, Julie Kane is appointed President-Elect of the American Association for Justice, a peek into our recent programming, and more.
OCTOBER, 2015, Vol. XXXIX, Issue 5 

Ileana Cruz, President

Rebecca Ocariz, President-Elect

Katie S. Phang, Secretary

Lara Bueso Bach, Treasurer

Elisa D'Amico, Newsletter Editor

Deborah Baker-Egozi, Immediate-Past President

Ardith Bronson
Stephanie Moot
Lauren Brunswick

Kelly Peña

Stephanie Casey
Jody Shulman
Brendalyn Edwards
Alicia Welch
Courtney Engelke
Talia Zucker
Mallory Gold
Past-President of Miami-Dade FAWL Julie Braman Kane is President-Elect of the American Association for Justice
by: Courtney Engelke

Past Miami-Dade FAWL President and Colson Hicks Eidson partner, Julie Braman Kane was elected and sworn in as President-Elect of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the world's largest trial bar at the organization's annual convention in Montreal, Canada on July 13, 2015.

"I am honored to be elected by my peers as President-Elect and to follow in the footsteps of my predecessors, including Bill Colson and Mike Eidson," said Julie. "I have witnessed firsthand the impact of AAJ, having represented clients that otherwise would not have access to the civil justice system, and I look forward to advancing the organization's mission in the coming two years."   
A champion of civil justice, Julie has been actively involved with AAJ for more than 20 years, having served as vice president, secretary, treasurer, and parliamentarian. She also has served as a member of its Executive and Budget Committees and chair of its National Finance Council, Products Liability Section, Women's Caucus and Diversity Task Force. Julie also initiated and chaired the Association's Voter Protection Action Committee which provides lawyers in all 50 states to protect the voting rights of American citizens whose access to the polls is otherwise limited.
In addition to her service with the AAJ, Julie serves on the board of directors for the Florida Justice Association. She previously served as a commissioner on the Florida Elections Commission, as a trustee on the Justice PAC Board, and as co-chair of the National College of Advocates.
Throughout her career, Julie has earned multiple accolades for her skills, her leadership and her dedication to community members, consumers and the trial bar. She is a past recipient of the Daily Business Review's Most Effective Lawyers Award for Receiverships, and was a finalist for medical malpractice litigation. Julie was named a 2010 Woman Extraordinaire by South Florida Business Leader and is a past recipient of the AAJ's Distinguished Service Award, the Howard Twiggs Commitment to Justice Award, the Marie Lambert Award for leadership, the Joe Tonahill service award, and multiple Weideman Wysocki awards. She also received the University of Miami's Law Alumni Leadership Award, given to attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their careers and who serve as role models for the next generation.
A distinguished trial lawyer, Julie concentrates her practice on catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death, as well as commercial litigation. Throughout her 22-year career, she has secured multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for victims of negligence, including a $38 million verdict in a medical malpractice case.

NAWL's Ninth Annual Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms is Complete, and the Results Are Staggering - But Not all That Surprising
by: Elisa D'Amico

Copyright 2015 NAWL
The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), recently released its Report of the Ninth Annual Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms. The entire report is available for download here.

According to NAWL, "[w]omen equity partners at law firms are not much better off than they were in 2006 ... law firms have made no appreciable progress in the rate at which they are promoting women to equity partner, and male equity partners continue to be compensated at much higher levels than female equity partners."

A Bloomberg BNA article discussed the Report, highlighting a statement by Deborah L. Rhode, Director, Center on the Legal Profession and E.W. McFarland Professor of Law at Stanford University. Rhode says: "To make progress, we urgently need initiatives on three levels." The levels she identifies include: "strategies to address unconscious bias, gender stereotypes, women's exclusion from informal networks of support and development, and finding ways to reduce work/family conflicts." Bobbi Liebenberg, a partner at Fine, Kaplan and Black, R.P.C., in Philadelphia and former chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession recognizes that implicit biases tend to contribute to holding women back.

The results of this year's NAWL survey show that women represent 18% of equity partners (a 2% increase since 2006). After making equity partner, women make approximately 80% of what their male counterparts make. In 2006, women had made 84%. Recognizing that this is not acceptable, Liebenberg noted that "[w]e need accountability and transparency."

On a positive note, however, women are making huge strides outside of law firms. According to the NAWL survey, women make up 37.5% of tenured law school faculty. And significant progress has been made in corporate law departments.

Sharon E. Jones, Chair of the NAWL Survey Committee and Member of the organization's Board of Directors, specifically pointed out to Bloomberg BNA the significant progress being made in corporate law. In Fortune 500 companies, women hold 23% of the top positions in their legal departments. And women comprise approximately 40% of the legal departments at Fortune 500 companies. Jones attributes this difference, in part, to "institutional growth," recognizing that "Fortune 500 companies have worked on diversity and inclusion for 40 years," said Jones. "Law firms are still learning."

If law firms still have a lot to learn, perhaps a good place to start is by having discussions about these issues. What are your thoughts on the NAWL survey results and the status of women in law, generally? Let us know at and we will feature your thoughts and comments (anonymously if you so desire) in the November newsletter.

Infographic is the property of NAWL and can be found at

Lara Bueso Bach
Sherril Colombo
Jody Shulman
Erica Rutner


Miami-Dade FAWL Treasurer, Lara Bueso Bach, and Member, Erica Rutner, both with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, published an article in the University of Miami Law Review, entitled "Indispensable" Methods for Admitting General Causation Experts in the Eleventh Circuit. The article is available here.

Past-President Sherril ColomboShareholder with Littler Mendelson P.C., received a defense verdict after a one-week jury trial in the Southern District of Florida. After a quick deliberation the jury returned a defense verdict, finding that Sherril's client -- the owner of a management club -- was not a joint employer under the FLSA and that the nightclub did not violate the minimum wage laws by utilizing a 8% tip allocation.

Jody Shulman, Miami-Dade FAWL Board Member and  Director of Business Development for U.S. Legal Support, was appointed to the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Greater Miami representing Miami-Dade FAWL. The appointment became official at the passing the gavel ceremony, which was held on October 15th.
Miami-Dade FAWL Hosts Panel Presentation "Demistifying the Federal Judicial Nominating Process"
by: Stephanie Casey

On October 7, 2015, Miami-Dade FAWL was honored to host a panel presentation titled, "Demystifying the Federal Judicial Nominating Process," which took place at Hogan Lovells and featured federal judges and current and former members of the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC). This presentation was the first of a two-part "Pathways to the Bench Series," aimed at clarifying for our members the process to become a state or federal court judge in Florida.

From left to right: Hon. Robin S. Rosenbaum, Hon. Beth Bloom, Kendall Coffey, Cynthia Johnson-Stacks, and Roberto Martínez.
Our panelists were U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum; U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom; Kendall Coffey, Chair of the Southern District Conference of the Federal JNC; Cynthia Johnson-Stacks, Member of the Southern District Conference of the Federal JNC; and Roberto Martínez, former Chair of the Middle District Conference of the Federal JNC.  Carol Licko, a partner at Hogan Lovells, gave opening remarks.  The panel was moderated by Miami-Dade FAWL Director Stephanie Casey.

Mr. Coffey began by providing an overview of the steps each candidate navigates from learning about a judicial vacancy to receiving a nomination.  Judge Rosenbaum and Judge Bloom provided their insights into preparing for, and surviving, the JNC nomination and senate confirmation processes.  In particular, Judge Bloom gave attendees an extremely helpful and detailed list of steps each candidate should follow to prepare properly for the nomination and confirmation processes.

The panelists emphasized the importance of being true to yourself during the entire process, rather than providing answers geared towards getting the vote of a particular JNC member or senator. A candidate's ethics, temperament, professional conduct, and mastery of his or her field -- be it in criminal or civil litigation -- are the most important traits that the JNC members are considering.  The panelists also discussed the importance of achieving a diverse judiciary.  Ms. Johnson-Stacks and Mr. Martínez noted that an important first step in that regard is to inform members of the bar through panels such as this one to generate interest among a diverse group of lawyers to apply for judicial vacancies.
An Insider's View from the U.S. District Courthouse Steps to the Courtroom
by: Olivia Kelman

Image Copyright

On September 24, 2015, the Miami-Dade FAWL Federal Court Liaison Committee coordinated a lunch with U.S. District Judges for the Southern District of Florida Patricia A. Seitz and Kathleen M. Williams.

During lunch, which was hosted by Judges Seitz and Williams in their shared Chambers library, attendees had the opportunity to engage in candid conversation with the judges and their law clerks.  The judges discussed various topics with the attendees, including best practices in federal court and challenges facing women lawyers today.

Of particular interest, Judges Seitz and Williams emphasized that one of the best ways for young lawyers to gain experience in federal court is to register for the Pro Bono Panel List and to volunteer to take on a pro bono case. Registration is available online.

Following the lunch, each judge gave a tour of her individual Chambers, providing attendees with a revealing glimpse into their distinct personalities.  Then, Judge Seitz and Deputy U.S. Marshal Ebe Cerase gave the attendees a tour of Judge Seitz's courtroom, the jury's deliberation room, and the criminal defendants' holding cell.  To gain a proper understanding of the various courtroom perspectives, Judge Seitz encouraged each attendee to sit in the jury box and to take a turn sitting on the bench. Unsurprisingly, this experience was a highlight of the program.

The lunch was attended by Miami-Dade FAWL Federal Court Liaison Committee Co-Chairs Olivia Kelman and Alicia Welch, and by Maite de Barros, Martha de Zayas, Liana Kozlowski, Freddi Mack, Kate Maxwell, Veronica Meza, Michele Van Meeteren, and Erica Zaron.
Voting for Super Lawyers and Florida Legal Elite Ends Soon

Deadline: November 2, 2015

Peer nominations are an important first step in the selection process for the 2016 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists. You may nominate attorneys that you personally have observed and who demonstrate excellence in the practice of law. Learn more here.

Deadline: December 1, 2015
Voting is now open for all members of the Florida Bar actively residing and practicing in Florida. Voters should consider lawyers from large and small firms around the state that they have personally worked with or would recommend to others. Learn more here.

Miami-Dade FAWL does not suggest campaigning or soliciting votes either for Super Lawyers or Florida Legal Elite. We are merely informing you of the upcoming deadlines and providing you links to the applicable websites for informational purposes.

Miami-Dade FAWL is a volunteer bar association dedicated to actively promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession, expanding the leadership role of its members in the community at large, and promoting women's rights.
Elisa D'Amico, Newsletter Editor | Miami-Dade FAWL