Committee on Women in the Law Home

  • Trailblazers
    Committee on Women in the Law traveling exhibit. The Committee on Women in the Law's new traveling exhibit profiles the lives and careers of 10 women attorneys who overcame obstacles to make significant contributions in the legal profession.
  • Upcoming Events
    • January 24, 2017: Committee on Women in the Law Meeting


      Tuesday, January 24, 2017 9:00 AM
      9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
      MCLE Credits TBA

      Register Here or Download The Registration Form Here.

      Under New York's MCLE rule, this program has been approved for 4.0 credit hours in Skills and 2.0 credit hours in Ethics. This program is transitional and is suitable for MCLE credit for newly-admitted attorneys.


      Susan L. Harper, Esq., Bates Group LLC, NJ
      Ferve E. Ozturk, Esq., BakerHostetler LLP, NYC

      Terri A. Mazur, Esq., Greenberg Traurig LLP, NYC
      Carol C. Villegas, Esq., Labaton Sucharow LLP, NYC

      Room: Beekman, 2nd Floor

      This program is co-sponsored by: Labaton Sucharow LLP, BakerHostetler LLP, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos, PLLC, the Antitrust Law Section, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Trusts and Estates Law Section, The Garden City Group, Precision Discovery, and U.S. Legal Support


      In today’s competitive legal world how you say something can be as important as what you say. Whether you are speaking to a client, adversary, or to the Court, how you present yourself leaves a lasting impression. Make sure you are leaving the right one! The Committee on Women in the Law is pleased to offer a program that will arm you with the presentation and leadership skills you need to reach the next level in your career.

      9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m. 

      9:20 – 9:30 a.m. 
      Opening Remarks

      9:30 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. 
      Keynote Speech: Presenting Your Best Self and Making a Lasting Impact on Your Career

      Sometimes women have to fight twice as hard to be heard just as much as their male counterparts. Making sure that your voice gets heard is an important part of asserting yourself as a leader in the courtroom and in the boardroom. Chief Judge for the Southern District of New York Colleen McMahon will provide strategic insights on just how to accomplish this. She will share with you the presentation and leadership skills that have worked for the top women lawyers who have stood before her in her courtroom, and will discuss the importance of always presenting motions, direct and cross examinations, and other courtroom presentations using your best legal advocacy skills, including, on a personal level, that you present your “best self” no matter what situation you find yourself in. Judge McMahon will also share with you what has worked for her during her impressive career, and how she was able to ascend to the ranks of Chief Judge of the District Court.

      Honorable Colleen McMahon
      United States District Court, Southern District of New York

      9:55 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. 
      Playing to Win: The Leadership and Presentation Skills You Need to Master Today

      Leadership and presentation skills are a crucial component to having a successful career. The first panel gathers prominent women leaders from the law firm, corporate and public sector spheres to discuss developments in women’s leadership in the bar. They will provide their perspectives on the skills and strategies that have helped each of them become leaders in their respective fields – government, the public sector and as general counsel to a major investment bank. They will be joined by Ginny Pulos, a communications specialist, who will provide insights into the skills that can help you rise to the top – focusing on how to shed weak phrases, gestures and words, and how to command respect and establish authority in your chosen field of law.

      Kathleen N. Massey, Esq.
      Managing Partner for Dechert’s New York Office,
      Dechert LLP, New York

      Taryn A. Merkl, Esq.
      Chief of Civil Rights – Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office

      Ginny Pulos
      President, Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc.

      Laura Schisgall, Esq.
      General Counsel, Société Générale


      Panel Chairs:
      Terri A. Mazur, Esq., Shareholder
      Greenberg Traurig LLP

      Lisa R. Schoenfeld, Esq., Partner
      Schlissel Ostrow Karabotos PLLC


      11:10 a.m. – 11:25 a.m. 

      11:25 a.m. – 1:05 p.m. 
      Women in the Courtroom: The Impact of Women in the Judiciary and the Need For More Women Judges and Lead Trial Attorneys

      Even though law school classes have been about 50% women for many years and there are about the same number of women associates joining law firms as men, women are still less likely to appear as lead counsel or trial counsel in both criminal and civil matters. In fact, a recent study found that men are nearly four times more likely to appear as trial attorneys than women. In the second panel, current and retired state and federal judges and a prominent former Assistant U.S. Attorney will address the importance of women in the state and federal judiciary and as trial attorneys. They will discuss the impact this representation has had on the legal community and on women litigants, including in arbitrations and mediations. Ginny Pulos will also join this panel and together they will address winning presentation skills in trials, mediations and arbitrations, including general courtroom demeanor. You will learn communication skills to apply in jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing arguments, and how to make presentations that convey confidence and strength to the judge, your opponent, and the jury. The panelists will also discuss their career paths, issues and challenges they have faced, and the qualities and skills women attorneys need in order to become leaders in the courtroom and beyond.


      Carrie H. Cohen, Esq.
      Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP

       Honorable Betty Weinberg Ellerin (Ret.)
      Senior Counsel, Alston & Bird LLP

      Honorable Karen K. Peters
      Presiding Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department

      Ginny Pulos
      President, Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc.

      Honorable Shira Scheindlin (Ret.)
      Of Counsel, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, Mediator & Arbitrator, JAMS


      Panel Chairs:
      Frettra M. de Silva, Esq.
      Head Legal, Transactions Banking, Standard Chartered Bank

      Sheryl Galler, Esq.
      Law Office of Sheryl B. Galler

      1:05 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. 

      1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. 
      Luncheon and Presentation of Kay Crawford Murray Award

      2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 

      2:30 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. 
      Ethically and Effectively Arguing for Your Client: Moving to Win

      The third panel will feature a live presentation of a motion to compel discovery of privileged information and other discovery motions, complete with a hot-bench judge to challenge the attorneys and audience participation. You will witness first-hand the “do’s” and “don’ts” of effectively presenting your case, and how to be a zealous advocate without crossing the line. Experts in professional responsibility and communication skills will provide play-by-play guidance on how to protect your client ethically while effectively getting your point across during oral argument. This is one you won’t want to miss!

      Robert J. Cecala, Esq.
      Partner, Aaronson, Rappaport, Feinstein & Deutsch, LLP

      Laura B. Jordan, Esq.
      Partner, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

      Pery Krinsky, Esq.
      Krinsky PLLC

      Ginny Pulos
      President, Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc.

      Panel Chairs:
      Kathleen A. Lyons, Esq.
      Vice President, Property & Casualty Business Management,
      Swiss Re America Holding Corporation

      Rosary A. Morelli, Esq.
      Partner, Morelli & Lassalle, LLP


      4:10 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. 
      Closing Remarks

      4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
      Women’s Networking Reception
      Honoring Justice Richard Price, Bronx Supreme Court, 
      Sponsored by Labaton Sucharow LLP and the Antitrust Law Section

    • February 9, 2017: CWIL Wine and Chocolate Social


      February 9, 2017 
      American Arbitration Association, 150 East 42nd Street, 17th Floor, New York, NY
      $10 for NYSBA members; $20 for non-NYSBA members

      Register here!

  • About the Committee

    About the Committee on Women in the Law

    MISSION: Established in 1986, the Committee on Women in the Law is charged with the responsibility of identifying, studying and making recommendations to address gender bias and law-related issues affecting women. The Committee proposes legislation; the adoption and implementation of policy by the Executive Committee and House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association; and other actions to ensure the fair treatment of women under law and the full participation of women in the administration of justice and as equal members of the legal community. The Committee is a standing committee of the Association as designated by the House of Delegates in 1989. Read the 2015-2016 Year-End Summary here.

    The Committee has presented educational forums on gender concerns; sexual harassment in the profession; balancing professional and family responsibilities; career development beyond partnerships; women in politics; seeking service on the bench; and breast cancer. Additionally, the Committee presents forums for women law students on career issues and opportunities.  

    To provide recognition for exemplary achievement by a male or female member of the Association in addressing the concerns of women, an Association award was established in honor of the Committee's first Chair, Ruth G. Schapiro. The annual award was proposed and is administered by the Committee. The first recipient of this award in 1992 was The Honorable Judith S. Kaye. For more information about the Ruth G. Schapiro Memorial Award, click here.

    To honor women in the profession who recognize the value of diversity in the legal profession and have dedicated their time to advancing the professional development of women attorneys, the Committee has established the Kay Crawford Murray Award. Future recipients will posses the following characteristics: A distinguished legal career or a rising star in the profession; An active member of bar associations for the purpose of advancing the professional and personal development of women attorneys; An active mentor to women attorneys. For more information about the Kay Crawford Murray Award, click here.

    Please contact Kathleen Baxter, Committee on Women in the Law, NYSBA, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207; 518-463-3200.

  • Trailblazers

    Women Attorney Trailblazers in New York State

    New York State has a rich history of amazing trailblazing women attorneys who broke through many barriers and blatant discrimination to make major contributions in the legal profession.  Their stories are ones of fierce determination, passion for the law, keen intelligence, and inspiring achievement.  

    From the late 19th Century, when the first women gained admission to state bars, through the 1960s, women attorneys faced closed doors and discrimination.  Women have made tremendous strides in the past 40 years - in large part due to the efforts of women attorneys who overcame obstacles and blazed a path for other women attorneys to follow.  

    The Committee on Women in the Law - whose first chair, Ruth Schapiro, was one of the women trailblazers at New York State Bar Association - is delighted to spotlight the lives and careers of 10 women lawyers who fought discrimination and gained a foothold in a range of legal careers. These women have paved the way for other women attorneys, serving as role models and, often, as mentors.

    We hope that you will draw inspiration from the stories of these 10 remarkable New York attorneys.   


    Maureen Bezuhly
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law Best Practices Subcommittee
    New York City

    Monica P. Ruela
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law Best Practices Subcommittee
    New York City

    Susan Harper
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law

    Ferve E. Ozturk
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law
    New York City

    Read the brochure here.

  • Paid Leave Report
    At its Nov. 7 meeting in Albany, NY, the NYSBA House of Delegates voted to approve the Committee on Women in Law's report advocating for passage of The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, introduced this year by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY. The report was prepared by the CWIL Legislative Subcommittee in a team effort led by Legislative Subcommittee Co-chair Susan Harper, who made presentations on the Committee's research and findings to the NYSBA Executive Committee and House of Delegates. The Executive Committee approved the CWIL report with a unanimous vote with one abstention. With the House of Delegates approval, the report's findings are now Association policy. Further, the Executive Committee has approved advocating for national paid family and medical leave as one of the Association's federal Legislative Priorities for 2016.  

    Download the Committee on Women in the Law Paid Leave Report.