10th Annual Women in Intellectual Property
Kelly M. Slavitt, Esq., Chair
I am thrilled, after being involved with this Section since I was a
night student at BLS, and in succession planning for the Chairmanship
for the past six years, to finally be standing here before you as Chair
of the IP Law Section.
Of the 25 NYSBA Sections, the IP Law Section has 2,000 members and
the highest number of attorneys admitted ten years or less. This
September we’re celebrating our existence as a Section for 20
years by throwing ourselves a party at Gotham Hall – I hope when
you get the invite you’ll RSVP yes and join us.
I enjoy being a member of NYSBA because I believe in its mission of
education, no more so than its education efforts in the area of
diversity. And there is no greater event that the IP Law Section
puts on every year that focuses exclusively on a diverse group of people
than this event. 10 years ago this event was the brainchild of the
founder of this event, and former Chair of the NYSBA IP Law Section:
At the time when Joyce and I joined the Section, the IP Law
Section’s Executive Committee was made up mostly of men.
Older men. Patent attorneys. But progressive men like Rory
Radding (the Section’s founder) and Marc Lieberstein (the
Section’s Chair at that time) and Jeff Cahn (recently retired),
who never made us feel like it was an old boys club we weren’t
welcome in. Men who were as welcoming to women joining the Section
as they were with all new members. Men who saw the shift in IP law
brought on by the Internet and e-commerce. Men who saw the power
of diversity. They were supportive of our efforts to introduce new
Committees like the Pro Bono Committee, and new Initiatives like the
Diversity Initiative, and become elected Officers, and start new events
like Women in IP.
Joyce created this event when she recognized that men were getting
ahead because they had a strong professional network. Her vision
was to challenge the “old boy’s club” by creating a
“women’s network,” and her vision has been a complete
success, in my opinion. As I look around the room I see many
people I met at this event over the past ten years, and many others who
went from colleagues to friends as a result of this event.
Topics at Women in IP have included:
• Strategies for Success
• How the IP Field has Changed
• Developing a Client Base
• Mentoring Relationships
• Equality in Compensation
• Achieving a Balance between Home and Work.
• What it takes to work in the global IP economy
Joyce has also started the Diversity Initiative in the IP Section and
is the current Chair. With her leadership, the Section was
recently honored again as a “Section Diversity Challenge
Leader,” and presented with an award from the NYSBA President
So how far have we come as a Section in the past ten years in
On this day ten years ago, Marc Lieberstein was Chair, and there was one
female Officer: the Section Secretary, Joyce Creidy. There were
two Committee Chairs, one of which was Deb Resnick, who “passed
the tiara” to Joyce as the Section Chair. I remember this
joyfully, as it was the first time a woman Chair succeeded a woman
There were 4 other female EC members:
• Vicki Cundiff – House of Delegates rep
• Mimi Netter – Member at large (who passed away last
year, so we created a scholarship in her name)
• Tricia Semmelhack – Past chair and honorary member
• Bernice Leber – NYSBA Executive Committee liaison,
who went on to become the President of NYSBA.
Female representation on the Executive Committee was 23%.
Fast forward ten years, and we now have 41% women.
And as if that statistic isn’t impressive enough, let’s
look at the elected Officers of the IP Section. Ten years ago 25%
were women (i.e., Joyce) and now 75% are women: myself, Sheila Francis
the Treasurer and Erica Klein the Secretary and host and Speaker at
People like Joyce have helped us achieve these impressive
statistics. If any of you here have not met Joyce, you are in the
vast minority so please make sure you introduce yourself to her.
There is no greater champion in the IP Law Section to diversity than
Joyce. And for that, a bunch of us conspired to get you this gift
as a small token of the Section’s appreciation to all you’ve
done in creating this opportunity for us all to make new friends and
advance our careers. [Presentation of gift to Joyce Creidy]
With people like Joyce leading the charge and inspiring all of us, I
know I’m standing among future Chairs of the Section and leaders
in the legal field. I have every confidence that at the 20th
Anniversary of Women in IP we’ll be sharing our business cards
with titles like “General Counsel” and “Partner”
and “President” listed on them. Thank you to our
sponsors over the past ten years; there have been too many to list them
all. Thank you to the Co-Chairs. Thank you to the
Speakers. And thank you to all of you for making the time to be
with us tonight, and for the past ten years.
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