Sections & Committees

Women in Law Section


Tuesday, January 15, 2019
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
6.0 MCLE Credits 
Beekman, 2nd Floor

Register for the 2019 Annual Meeting Here or Download the Registration Form Here!

Fifteenth Annual Edith I. Spivack Symposium
Secure Your Seat at the Table: Becoming a Leader and an Indispensable Lawyer Who Champions Women

Women continue to make great strides in the legal profession but still remain under-represented where it matters.  Only about 20% of law firm partners are women and 30% of judges are women. In 2018, women made historic gains in the U.S. Congress and state-wide elections, but men still outnumber women as lawmakers. The fact remains that there are still far more men leading deals, heading trial and major litigation teams, serving as general counsel to Fortune 500 companies, and serving as lawmakers and more work has to be done to close the gender gap. Significantly, women lawyers still face barriers that result in their earning less than their male counterparts, bringing in less business, owning less equity, and holding only a small portion of leadership roles throughout the legal industry. The Women in Law Section is pleased to present a powerful program addressing how women attorneys can secure their seat at the table to advance their own careers and to advance all women’s rights under the law. 


9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Registration

9:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m. Welcoming Remarks 
Susan L. Harper, Esq., Managing Director NY/NJ, Bates Group LLC and Chair, NYSBA Women in Law Section

9:20 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Keynote Speech  
Advancing Women: Gender Equality in the Law and Justice for All Women (0.5 Credit in Skills)
Equality matters. Achieving gender equality is everyone's responsibility, and we still haven't achieved it. There are still far more men in leadership roles as attorneys and lawmakers than women. Men still make more money than women in all fields, and men still generate more business. It is shocking that after this country and major businesses have been rocked by sexual assault revelations and harassment leading to the #metoo and TimesUp movements, women still trail their male counterparts. In this dynamic Keynote, Carol Robles-Román, Co-President and CEO of the Equal Rights Coalition, will examine how women attorneys -- like women everywhere -- still do not have constitutional gender equality or equal pay, nor are they given the same opportunities for business development as their male colleagues. She will discuss why men and women need to support gender equality to get more women attorneys into seats at the "table."  She will also address how the ERA -- which has never been enacted -- and other laws and policies aimed at eradicating gender inequality can help break down these barriers to the success of women attorneys and all women. 

Carol Robles-Román, Esq.

Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality

9:50 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. Getting on Equal Footing: Promoting Women’s Equality Through Business Development and Advancement Strategies (1.0 Credits in Areas of Professional Practice, 0.5 Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias)
Leading attorneys from law firms, corporations, the public service sector and the judiciary will discuss law firm and institutional strategies to incentivize advancement and business development opportunities for women attorneys, how some clients are using their power to support and catapult women to the table, and how women can effectively utilize women’s initiatives, bar associations, and other networking bodies to support these efforts. The panel will also examine underlying unconscious bias and discrimination that still serve as barriers to securing your seat at the table and how law firms, institutions, and women themselves can help take down these barriers to success.

Honorable Lucy Billings

Justice of the New York State Supreme Court

Brad S. Karp, Esq.
Chairman, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Zachary W. Carter, Esq.
Corporation Counsel, City of New York

Laurie N. Robinson Haden, Esq.
Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, CBS Corporation and Founder and CEO of Corporate Counsel Women of Color 

Terri A. Mazur, Esq.  (Panel Co-Chair)

Laura Sulem, Esq., Director, Practical Law Litigation, Thomson Reuters   (Panel Co-Chair)

11:10 a.m. – 11:25 a.m. Break

11:25 a.m. – 1:05 p.m. Advancing Women’s Equality Through Legislative and Policy Initiatives  (2.0 Credits in Skills)
Leaders in public policy and legislation will discuss how women can achieve equality and get a seat at the table from the perspective of important policy and legislative initiatives.  They will examine the role that women can and should play in this political environment to make sure all women are protected under the law.  This panel will address recent efforts to secure passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. and New York State Constitution and related changes to New York employment laws, and how other states are advancing women through legislative efforts and policy changes.

Mylan L. Denerstein, Esq.

Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Lisa Friel, Esq.
Senior Vice President and Special Counsel for Investigations, National Football League

Carol Robles-Román, Esq.
Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality 

Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal
Council Member, District 6, New York City Council

Susan L. Harper, Esq.
Managing Director NY/NJ, Bates Group LLC and Chair, NYSBA Women in Law Section    (Panel Co-Chair)

Sheryl B. Galler, Esq.
Law Office of Sheryl B. Galler (Panel Co-Chair)

1:05 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Break

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Luncheon and Presentation of Kay Crawford Murray Award
Sponsorship Opportunities available to support the Women in Law Section

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Break

2:30 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Legal and Ethical? How Far Should You Go? (2.0 Credits in Ethics)
Using legal issues ripped from the headlines, the third panel will present live enactments of ethical issues female and male attorneys may encounter while securing their seat at the table. An ethics expert will discuss whether lawyers’ conduct may be “legal” but not ethical, focusing on how far lawyers can – and should – go to protect their clients and themselves.

Patrick J. Brennan, Esq.

Founding Partner,  Furman, Kornfeld & Brennan LLP

J. David Canton, Esq.
Partner, Aaronson, Rappaport, Feinstein & Deutsch, LLP

Christine Champey, Esq.
Associate, Turken & Heath, LLP

Rose M. J. Charles, Esq.
Sompo International Insurance

Pery D. Krinsky, Esq.
Krinsky PLLC

Kathleen Lyons, Esq.
Vice President, Property & Casualty Business Management, Swiss Reinsurance America Holding Corporation (Panel Co-Chair)

Rosary A. Morelli, Esq.
Partner, Morelli & Lassalle, LLP (Panel Co-Chair)

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

4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Women’s Networking Reception, Sponsored by Labaton Sucharow LLP

The Women in Law Section thanks the following Sponsors for their generous support:

Emerald Sponsor:
Clifford Chance US LLP

Silver Sponsor:
Antitrust Section of the New York State Bar Association
Burford Capital
Morrison Cohen LLP

Networking Reception:
Labaton Sucharow LLP

Bronze Sponsors:
A.B. Data
Bates Group LLC
Precision Discovery
Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos PLLC 

Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association

For more information about this program, or to become a sponsor, please contact Tiffany Bardwell at

Award Luncheon | 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Murray Hill East, Second Floor

Luncheon and Presentation of Kay Crawford Murray Award presented to

Sandra D. Grannum, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Sandra grannum-KCM Award

The Women in Law Section thanks the following Sponsors for their generous support:

Emerald Sponsor:
Clifford Chance US LLP

Silver Sponsor:
Antitrust Section of the New York State Bar Association
Burford Capital
Morrison Cohen LLP

Networking Reception:
Labaton Sucharow LLP

Bronze Sponsors:
A.B. Data
Bates Group LLC
Precision Discovery
Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos PLLC 

Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association

For more information about this program, or to become a sponsor, please contact Tiffany Bardwell at

Sponsorship opportunities available here


Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:15 PM
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Register Here or Download The Registration Form Here.

Women’s Networking Reception, Sponsored by Labaton Sucharow LLP
The Committee on Women in the Law is now the Women in Law Section!  We are thrilled to host our first networking reception as a Section.  We welcome you to come meet your colleagues, network with other leading women and men, and take this opportunity to make connections that can help you get your seat at the table.

Sponsorship Opportunities are available to support the newly created Women in Law Section.  Your sponsorship helds advance women in the legal profession and all women under the law. Click here to learn more.

Nassau, 2nd Floor


Hosted by the Criminal Justice, Trusts & Estates Law, Women in Law and Young Lawyers Sections.


Recorded: May 31, 2018
Total Credits: 1.0 Professional Practice


Member: $50.00 | Non-Member: $150.00

The program will objectively address what is sexual harassment and what happens in real time when employees and employers are faced with actual or alleged sexual harassment in the work place. These issues will be addressed from the perspectives of a victim, a human resource professional, an investigator, attorneys for the employees and management, a mediator and a crisis communications consultant. 

Panelists will cover current standards in employment law, policies and procedures, practice skills, and trends in investigations. Additionally, the panel will address counseling victims and clients when facing sexual harassment issues (even if you are not an employment attorney and get “that” call), including a client’s options. 

Finally, panelists will address how they would counsel their clients on best practices to prevent and address harassment, negotiate and problem-solve these issues, and avoid retaliation and potential damage to reputations. 

Ellen S. Davis, Esq. | Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Cara E. Greene, Esq. | Partner, Outten & Golden LLP | Incoming Chair, NYSBA Labor & Employment Law Section
Loren Gesinsky, Esq. | Partner, Labor & Employment Law Department, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Elizabeth J. Shampnoi Esq. |  Mediator/Director, Office of Mediation and Conflict Resolution, NYC Commission on Human Rights
Dr. Victoria Berger-Gross | Retired Chief Human Resources Officer, Tiffany & Co.
Michael Putetti | Labor and Employment Consultant and Expert, Bates Group LLC
Deborah Kaye, Esq. | Member, NYSBA Committee on Women in the Law  

The Committee on Women in the Law is now the Women in Law Section! All NYSBA members can join here.

NEW! Check out the Q &A with Section Chair Susan Harper.

The section 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 section 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 on Women in the Law's first Chair, Ruth G. Schapiro. The annual award was proposed and is administered by the Women in Law Section. 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 section 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.

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 Women in Law Section (formerly 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. Read the brochure here.

SuffragetteSizedSuffragette Commemoration on Display at the Bar Center
Check out our "A Centennial Commemoration of Women's Suffrage and the Achievement of Legal Rights" that premiered in November 2017. View the slides here

bernicecomfedNYSBA House of Delegates Adopts Report of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section 11/4/17 
The House of Delegates approved the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section's report, "If Not Now, When? Achieving Equality for Women Attorneys in the Courtroom and in ADR" on November 4, 2017. The Women in Law Section supported this report and continues to promote and advocate for it. Read the press release here. Watch the video here.

JSK0829Judge Judith Kaye Portrait Unveiled
On November 3, 2017, the New York State Bar Association unveiled a new painting of Hon. Judith S. Kaye, former chief judge of the state of New York, on display in our Great Hall. Jugee Kaye was the first female appointed to the New York State Court of Appeals in 1983. She was chief judge of the state of New York from 1993 until 2008. She was the inaugural recipient of the Ruth G. Schapiro Award.

Committee enrollment is now open! When you join a committee you will have an opportunity to be part of a dynamic group, use your voice, talent and passion to benefit women, interact with members and leaders of our Section and legal profession, expand your individual network and develop your career, advance critical change in the legal profession and for all women under the law.  

Please choose up to three committees (see descriptions below) and send your selection(s) to WILS Section Liaison Tiffany Bardwell at along with your name and contact information. 

Committee membership is on a first come, first serve basis or unless otherwise advised. You may also sign up for a Committee during the Annual Meeting and Networking Reception. Register here: NYSBA | January 15, 2019 - Women in Law Section Annual Meeting .

Committee Descriptions (choose up to 3) 

1) Annual Meeting, Program and CLE Committee – Organizes programs annually for the Section (Please choose a subcommittee.) High-profile subcommittee chair positions are available (see below). Besides working on a team, you may also be asked to participate as a speaker or moderator of a program. There is high interaction with leaders in our profession on these subcommittees. 

  • Annual Meeting Subcommittee (meets from late summer to mid-January) – organizes our Annual Meeting Program
  • Awards Subcommittee (meets September through November; then January) – chooses Awards recipients; participates in Awards ceremonies
  • Women on the Move Subcommittee (meets Spring to late October) – organizes late October Women on the Move Conference.
  • Programming Subcommittee (creates CLE and non CLE events) (throughout the year)

2019 Chairs: Sheryl Galler and Laura Sullem

2) Champions: Men Advancing Women Committee – the goal of this committee is to engage men as partners to advance women in the profession, the association, and society-at-large. Activities include drinks & dialogues (small get-togethers to discuss gender issues in a "safe environment" for men and women); programming; reports or publications; commenting on news and issues; and supporting policies that advance women.  2019 Chair: Deborah Kaye

3) Communications Committee – Promotes the work and activities of the Women in Law Section. 2019 Chair: Leona Krasner

4) Equity in the Legal Profession Committee – works to advance women in the legal profession. Activities may include, but are not limited to, advocacy, programming, reports, scholarship, recognition, networking and engagement with other Sections, outside law firms and corporations to advance such interests. 2019 Chair: Carol Villegas

5) Women's Gender Issues Committee
– works to address specific issues and rights that may impact women, children and families. Examples include, but are not limited to, domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender parity. Professionally, the Committee may also work to address women as leaders or on boards, or the development of specific skills, such negotiations.

2019 Chair: Pamela Bass

6) General Counsels Committee - for current and former in-house counsel in private, public or not-for-profit practice who seek to develop strategies, tactics to help advance women lawyers within companies and outside counsel. The committee also serves to support women in-house counsel to help them advance in their careers through the exchange of knowledge, support, and career advancement and opportunities. 2019 Chair: Frettra M. de Silva

7) Legislative Affairs Committee
- is responsible for identifying and recommending the WILS's legislative agenda to the Section's Executive Committee (EC) for adoption. In addition to the activities cited in Section By-Laws Art. VI Section 3, the Committee members also will participate in the identification of new or existing New York State legislation relating to issues of interest to women, draft written evaluations and memos of support of proposed legislation as it may affect women.  Committee members should expect to participate in regular conference calls, to review potential legislation, to conduct research and make recommendations to the Section regarding the legislation, and to draft and edit memos supporting or opposing the legislation. Committee members may also participate in programming or develop partnerships with other State Bar sections.  The time commitment is estimated to be between 15-25 hours annually. The peak committee activities occur between January and June 30th. 2019 Co-Chairs: Denise Bricker and Sarah Simpson 

8) Membership and Engagement Committee – works to recruit, retain and engage members to the Women in Law Section and  advance and promote the mission. Committee members are the Section's Membership Ambassadors.

Co-Chairs: Meredith Palermo (downstate) & Kim Wolf Price (upstate)


9)  Partners Committee - for current and former partners in private practice. The Partners Committee focuses on the unique challenges that affect women who are partners in law firms.  Among other things, it will explore ways to maximize client development, firm leadership and mentoring.  The members of the committee will have an opportunity for networking with other women partners and for fostering a strong and supportive community for women partners throughout New York State and beyond.

 Chair: Danielle Lesser

10) Reports, Surveys and Publications Committee - is responsible for responding to selective policy and position memos and reports submitted to  the NYSBA House of Delegates on behalf of the Section. The Committee also conducts Section surveys and prepares articles, blogs, journals, and exhibits to promote the equality and fair treatment of women in the legal profession and all women under the law.  Chairs: Margaret Sowah and Vita Trujillo

11) Development and Sponsorship Committee - engages firms and companies to support the activities and mission of the Women in Law Section  Chair: Open

12) Women in the Association Committee – works to advance women in the New York State Bar Association through advocacy, strategy, pipeline and leadership development, policy and scholarship.  Chair: Morghan Richardson

13) Emerging Lawyers Committee – for law students and new attorneys, this committee focuses on the unique challenges that affect women who are new to the legal profession and supports their professional development and success. Chair: TBA