First Women in the Profession Summit Kicks Off This Week

The first-ever Women in the Profession Summit in Philadelphia will be held this week under the aegis of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Women in the Profession Committee.

The event will offer both substantive and ethics continuing legal education credits and the chance for women in the legal profession to erase the feeling that they’re isolated, said Maria A. Feeley, a partner with Pepper Hamilton and co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Women in the Profession Committee.

The event starts at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday and continues through lunch, the keynote by Charisse Lillie, vice president of human resources for Comcast Corporation and senior vice president of human resources for Comcast Cable, and includes four CLEs and a cocktail reception. The event is at the PBI CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building.

Feeley, now her second-year as a committee co-chair, said she hopes the summit will chip away at the isolation she hears from women in the profession because they will see “there are many people, including leaders in the profession, that understand their situation” and are working to bridge the gap between men and women obtaining leadership roles in the legal world.

Lilly was chosen as the keynote, Feeley said, because “she’s inspiring in the levels of success she’s obtained, and if you survey the biggest companies in the country and the ones that have a big Philadelphia presence and you look at the leadership positions … there aren’t a lot of women in those positions.”

The CLE panels address the best practices for retaining and promoting women attorneys in the corporate counsel realm, the best practices for retaining and promoting women attorneys in the law firm realm and hot topics for women.

The “Women in the Courtroom – Communication Across the Gender Gap” was designed to appeal to both men and women, Feeley said.

The panel includes Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Marlene Lachman, Philadelphia Common Pleas President Judge Frederica A. Massiah-Jackson, U.S. District Judge Norma L. Shapiro, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Dolores K. Sloviter, U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker and Diane M. Welsh, a mediator with JAMS-The Resolution Experts and a retired judge.

“We thought that having judges talk about communication styles of men and women, what they have seen as effective, including inside and outside the courtroom … that people could learn a lot from these judges,” Feeley said.

 — Amaris Elliott-Engel, Staff Reporter

 

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