Sections & Committees

Women in Law Section

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NYSBA Member: $150  | Women in Law Section Member: $125 | Non-Member: $250

Women on the Move
The Women on the Move program is a Continuing Legal Education seminar focusing on an array of topics of particular interest to women attorneys.

This year’s program theme is Women Charting a New Course.  Because there are still obstacles to shattering the glass ceiling, this program will address the ways women attorneys have made changes – in our mindset, in our careers and in the law – in order to overcome challenges we have faced as women attorneys, along with a frank discussion of challenges we still face and what we can do to move forward.

Blazing a Trail: Removing Implicit Bias and Strategies for Dealing With It  
Keynote Speaker M. Cornelia (Connie) Cahill, Deputy Managing Partner of Barclay Damon, will address how she navigated the challenges of creating and chairing a leading public finance practice and rose to the position of the first woman Deputy Managing Partner of her firmShe will also discuss how she and her firm have worked on removing implicit bias and strategies for dealing with it.

Changing Our Mindset: How to Effectively Communicate Your Talent
Our society, our culture, our experiences or our own self-doubts may tell us to keep our head down, keep quiet, work hard and wait for recognition.  But the fact remains that in the law, as in any profession, speaking up is often the key to advancing your career, building your business, and rising to positions of leadership. Our panel consists of leading lawyers who will discuss how to effectively communicate your talent and market your skills, and how to overcome the voices – both external and internal – that may keep you from your goal. 

Women in Leadership Changing Paths | Leadership Development, Overcoming Barriers and Honing Your Skills
There isn’t only one way to use your law degree.  Different paths can lead to the same destination:  hopefully, a satisfying career.  Attorneys who decided to change their legal career path, whether by transitioning to the judiciary, public service, solo practice or non-traditional corporate roles, will discuss the pressures women face in traditional law practice, as well as the changes many women seek by charting a new course in the judiciary, in-house or public service sectors.  They will share with us how and why they set their new goals, what steps they took along the way (including honing legal skills), whether their new career met their expectations, and what advice they would give to attorneys considering a change in their legal career.

Changing the Law: Current State of Sexual Harassment Law and Dealing with Harassment in the Legal Workplace
The #MeToo Movement galvanized women to speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace and, in 2018, led to significant changes in NYS employment law.  In 2019, the testimony of women and men before the NYS Legislature led to even more changes in the law.  Our third panel will review the 2019 changes to employment law in New York, what changes may still be ahead, whether the law reflects our reality, and what we can do to implement changes on the ground.

A networking reception will follow the program to allow for attendees to meet and speak with panelists and each other.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Lunch: 12:30 p.m. | CLE: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Reception: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Wolferts Roost Country Club
120 Van Rensselaer Blvd
Albany, NY 12204

3.5 MCLE Credits: 2.0 Areas of Professional Practice, 1.0 Skills, 0.5 Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias

NYSBA Member: $150 | Women in Law Section Member: $125 | Non-Member: $250

Sponsored by the Women in Law SectionLaw Practice Management Committee, Committee on Continuing Legal Education, Commercial and Federal Litigation SectionGeneral Practice Section and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion of the New York State Bar Association. 

Program Faculty
Terri A. Mazur, Esq. | Women in Law Section Chair of the New York State Bar Association
Jennifer M. Boll, Esq. | Program Chair | Member, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC
Nancy Sciocchetti, Esq. | Program Chair | Managing Director, Mercury LLC
M. Cornelia Cahill | Managing Partner, Barclay Damon, LLP
Hon. Christina Ryba | Supreme Court Justice, NYS Supreme Court, 3rd Judicial District 
Candace J. Gomez, Esq. | Member, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC
Natalie Runyon | Director of Enterprise Content, Thomson Reuters
Libby M. Coreno, Esq. | Moderator | General Counsel, Bonacio Construction, Inc.
Hon. Mary Beth WalshAssemblywoman, New York State Assembly, 112th District
Diane E. O’ConnellDirector, PwC
Laura Sulem, Esq. | Moderator | Senior Director, Litigation at Practical Law, Thomson Reuters
Scott M. Peterson, Esq.Founding Partner, D’Orazio Peterson LLP
Sheryl B. Galler, Esq. | Moderator | Law Office of Sheryl B. Galler 
Ivie Guobadia Serioux, Esq. | Littler Mendleson P.C.
Katharine Neer, Esq. | Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Rita Pasarell, Esq. | NY Sexual Harassment Working Group
Hon. Rachel Kretser | Retired Judge, Albany County Court

Tuition Assistance: Any New York attorney who has a genuine financial hardship may apply for tuition assistance for a CLE program. Learn more at

Newly Admitted Attorneys: This program is transitional. For more information about the CLE Rules, please go to

Out-of-State Accreditation: This program has also been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California, the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board and the Board of Continuing Legal Education of the State of New Jersey.  If you require MCLE credit in other states, we can provide you a Uniform MCLE Form.

Partial Credit for Program Segments Not Allowed: Under the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board Regulations and Guidelines, attendees at CLE programs cannot get MCLE credit for a program segment (typically, a lecture or panel, of which there are usually several in a program) unless they are present for the entire segment. Those who arrive late, depart early, or are absent for any portion of the segment WILL NOT receive credit for that program segment.

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To view the full list of Law Practice Management Programs, click here.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact Michella Weiss, Program Manager, or Leanne Isabelle, CLE Program Coordinator.

To register, please click the “Register” button or contact our Member Resource Center at 1-800-582-2452.


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 Past 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.

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

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.

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. Judge 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.

Executive Committee - The executive committee of the Women in Law Section meets regularly to discuss the administrative, legislative, programming and long-term goals of section.  Led by Section Chair Terri Mazur, the executive committee positions serve from February 1-January 31.

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 [email protected] along with your name and contact information. 

Committee membership is on a first come, first serve basis or unless otherwise advised. 

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.  2019 Chairs: Sheryl Galler and Laura Sulem

  • 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)

2) Champions Committee – engages men as partners to support women in the profession, the Association, and society-at-large. Activities include Events, Drinks & Dialogues (get togethers to discuss issues of the day);  networking and business development; reports or publications; commenting on news and issues; and promoting policies that support women, and hence men.  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) 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: Ellen Makofsky

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