Committee on Women in the Law Home

  • Events
    • Committee on Women in the Law Annual Meeting: Tuesday, January 27, 2015

      Tuesday, January 27, 2015
      Meeting 9:00 a.m. – 1:05 p.m.
      Luncheon 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
      Meeting resumes 2:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
      Networking Reception 4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

      Register Online Now!  Or download Annual Meeting Registration Form and return with your payment by faxing to 518.463.5993


      Sponsored by the Committee on Women in the Law; Co-Sponsored by Labaton Sucharow LLP, Kaye Scholer LLP, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Bond, Schoeneck & King Attorneys, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, and the Antitrust Law Section, the Elder Law & Special Needs Section, the Trusts & Estates Section and the Membership Committee


      Women Rising: Advancement, Mentoring, and Negotiating Your Way to the Top     

      Committee Chairs                                               Program Chairs

      Ellen G. Makofsky, Esq., Garden City                  Terri A. Mazur, Esq., New York City
      Ferve E. Ozturk, Esq.
      , New York City                 Carol C. Villegas, Esq., New York City

      Women have the will to lead and the drive to succeed, yet remain underrepresented in positions of leadership and power across the legal spectrum.  What’s standing in the way?   The Committee on Women in the Law is pleased to offer a program that will change the way you look at your path to the top, and provide you with practical skills to get to the next level of your practice.

      9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.         Registration

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

      9:30 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.         Keynote Speech:  Breaking Barriers - Rising to Leadership & Success

      Women are graduating from law schools in virtually equal numbers to men, but at the top of the profession, women make up only about 20% of the partners, 17% equity partners and 4% of managing partners, approximately 30% of state and federal judges, and 21% of general counsels for Fortune 500 companies. Former Chief Judge Judith Kaye of the Court of Appeals for the State of New York – who is currently Of Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP -- will provide strategic guidance on the opportunities and challenges that confront women lawyers along the path to success and the impact of mentors on a lawyer’s career. She will provide insight, from a judge’s perspective, on how women can hone their advocacy skills to maximize their effectiveness and success as a litigator (and as lawyers, generally) and become leading trial lawyers. Judge Kaye, who was the first woman ever to serve on New York’s highest court, and the first female partner at Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O’Donnell & Weyher, will discuss how she was able to break so many barriers, and will inspire you to break the barriers to achieving professional success.

      Keynote Speaker:
      The Honorable Judith S. Kaye, Esq.
      , Of Counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP; Retired Chief Judge, New York Court of Appeals

      9:55 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.       Where Are The Women Leaders?

      Have you ever wondered why there are so few women leaders in the legal profession?  The first panel, “Where Are The Women Leaders?,” gathers prominent women -- including a judge, in-house counsel, attorneys in private practice and in the government, and a leading consul- tant on women and diversity issues -- to discuss the reasons why women in leadership positions are the exception rather than the norm, and to provide concrete strategies to chart your path to success.  The panelists will discuss their own paths to the top of their respective fields, including the pitfalls they faced and how they overcame those obstacles, offering strategies on how to remain on top despite challenges. They will address emerging legal trends and issues in their respective practices that may provide opportunities for women to excel, including current hot topics relating to corporate compliance and internal investigations; emerging trends in mass tort litigation (including issues in managing such actions as lead counsel) and real estate development projects; as well as a discussion of effective advocacy, including oral argument and trial skills. They will also offer practical strategies for how to become recognized as an authority in your practice area.

      Bernadette W. Catalana, Esq.
      , Of Counsel, Lavin, O’Neil, Cedrone & DiSipio, Rochester and New York 
      Taa Grays, Esq., Assistant General Counsel & Chief of Staff to General Counsel, MetLife Inc.
      Honorable Sherry Klein Heitler, Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Branch, 1st Judicial Department
      Stephanie Meltzer
      , Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Pfizer, Inc.
      Dr. Arin N. Reeves, Esq.
      , President, Nextions and Author of “One Size Never Fits All: Business Development Strategies Tailored for Women (And Most Men)”

      Roberta Bender, Esq.
      , Deputy General Counsel, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
      Lauren Alyse Watt, Esq.
      , Associate, Darger, Errante, Yavitz & Blau LLP

      11:10 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.    Break

      11:25 a.m. – 1:05 p.m.       Jump Starting Careers: How Effective Mentoring Programs and Sponsors Can Improve Retention and

      Promotion of Women Attorneys

      Our second panel features thought leaders on mentoring, sponsorship and professional development for lawyers and will focus on how ef- fective mentoring programs and sponsors can position your law firm for success. Being an effective manager means retaining, training and developing your talent – your associates – and requires that you know associates’ skill sets, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and appreciate what motivates them.  Mentoring programs and strategic use of sponsors can resolve associate performance issues, develop the depth and breadth of talent, and strategically position your firm for success. Formal law firm mentoring programs can be ineffective as they often match people with disparate goals and skills which can lead to unproductive mentoring relationships.  This panel will provide a road- map to help law firms establish effective formal mentoring programs and address how sponsors can help further careers of high potential women attorneys. This panel will also discuss how to find the right mentors and sponsors (through formal mentoring programs and informal relationships), and how to leverage their expertise and social capital to help improve associate performance, expand opportunities for women, and propel your associates to success.

      Ida Abbott, Esq.
      , President, Ida Abbott Consulting, Faculty Fellow, University of California Hastings College of the Law; and Author of “Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know”
      Paulette Brown, Esq.
      , President-Elect of the American Bar Association and Partner, Edwards, Wildman, Palmer
      Susan L. Lees, Esq.
      , General Counsel, Allstate Insurance Company
      Randy L. Shapiro, Esq.
      , Global Media Counsel, Bloomberg LP and Co-Chair of the Mentoring Committee of the New York Women’s Bar Association
      Oren J. Warshavsky, Esq.
      , Partner, BakerHostetler LLP

      Kathleen A. Lyons, Esq.
      , Vice President, Property & Casualty Business Management, Swiss Re America Holding Corporation
      Rosary A. Morelli, Esq., Partner, Morelli & Lassalle, LLP

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

      2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.         Break

      2:30 p.m. – 4:10 p.m.         Negotiation Ethics: Pitfalls and Rules

      Whether you are negotiating a settlement or a transaction, your ability to negotiate successfully and ethically is central to your success as an attorney, regardless of your area of practice. This segment will feature a Professor of Legal Ethics and prominent attorneys from private and in-house practice, who will use hypothetical scenarios, including mock negotiations, to discuss common ethical pitfalls that lawyers face, the applicable New York Rules of Professional Conduct, and relevant ethics opinions and case law.  These hypothetical scenarios will highlight the difficult decisions that lawyers often confront when advocating zealously for clients while balancing other competing interests and com- plying with ethical obligations that may be owed to others. The panelists will also explore the ethical dilemmas that can arise when a mentor provides potentially improper guidance to a mentee on negotiation issues.

      Brenda Dorsett-Bolling, Esq.
      , Complex Claims Specialist, Liberty International Underwriters
      Professor Bruce Green, Esq.
      , Louis Stein Professor at Fordham Law School and Director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics
      Devika Kewalramani, Esq.
      , Partner, Moses & Singer LLP; Co-Chair Moses & Singer’s Legal Ethics & Law Firm Practice

      Carol C. Villegas, Esq.
      , Of Counsel, Labaton Sucharow, LLP
      Rosalie S. Walters, Esq.

      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

      Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities: NYSBA welcomes participation by individuals with disabilities. NYSBA is committed to complying with all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, programs, activities, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. To request auxiliary aids or services or if you have any questions regarding accessibility, please contact Kathy Heider at

      For overnight room accommodations, please call the New York Hilton Midtown at 1-800-445-8667 and identify yourself as a member of the New York State Bar Association. Room rates are $259.00 for single/double occupancy. Reservations must be made by Monday, December 22, 2014. You can also reserve your overnight room on the web at

      For questions about this specific program, please contact Robyn Ryan at For registration questions only, please call 518-487-5621. Registration forms can be faxed to 518-463-5993.

  • Events and Infomation

    Eleventh Annual Edith I. Spivack Symposium
    Women Rising:  Advancement, Mentoring, and Negotiating Your Way to the Top

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    New York Hilton Midtown
    1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York City
    Sutton South, 2nd Floor | 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
    Networking Reception | Sponsored by Labaton Sucharow LLP 
    Madison, 2nd Floor | 4:15 – 5:30 p.m.

    Committee Chairs:
    Ellen G. Makofsky, Esq., Garden City
    Ferve E. Ozturk, Esq., New York City

    Program Chairs:
    Terri A. Mazur, Esq., New York City
    Carol C. Villegas, Esq., New York City

    Women have the will to lead and the drive to succeed, yet remain underrepresented in positions of leadership and power across the legal spectrum. What’s standing in the way? The Committee on Women in the Law is pleased to offer a program that will change the way you look at your path to the top, and provide you with practical skills to get to the next level of your practice.

    Keynote Address: Breaking Barriers: Rising to Leadership & Success 
    Speaker: The Honorable Judith S. Kaye, Esq., Of Counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP; Retired Chief Judge, New York Court of Appeals

    Register at

    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.

    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 Robyn Ryan, Committee on Women in the Law, NYSBA, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207; 518-463-3200.

  • Communities

    What are Member Communities?
    The member communities are private, online professional networks, built on the concept of listserves that offer enhanced features such as collaboration tools and document libraries. They offer you a variety of tools to help you connect, network and work collaboratively with fellow NYSBA members. 

    To participate, each member has a profile based on their basic membership information. You can enhance your profile by adding your photo, professional affiliations, volunteer activities and other accomplishments. You have the option to pull information from your LinkedIn profile, or even link to your personal blog or other social media feeds.

    How Can I Use It?
    Seamlessly integrated with, no additional login or password is needed to enter a community. You just need to be a NYSBA member. 

    Just like a listserv, members of a specific community can share information with one another using email. Documents are emailed among members using links as opposed to email attachments, as attachments can be problematic with spam filters or limits on file size. Members can receive community emails as the messages are posted, or in digest form. These resource libraries have no space limitations, accept all file types, and can be organized using folders. Any member of a community can contribute to the library.

    If you are a member of a NYSBA Section, Committee or Task Force, and working to develop a report, white paper, policy change or recommendation, an online community is the perfect forum for you and your colleagues. You have a dedicated space designed to facilitate an efficient and collaborative work effort.

    Join the Women's Community

  • Women's Community Newsletter