The Standing Committee on Women and the Law is looking forward to our upcoming program at the University of Illinois School of Law (U of I) on April 23, 2009. After such a successful program at Southern Illinois University School of Law last spring, we are looking forward to spending time with U of I students and members of the legal community in Champaign/Urbana. Sharon Eiseman of the Illinois Attorney General’s office is co-chairing our outreach sub-committee with me and she has been a wealth of knowledge in putting an event such as this together. Our point person at University of Illinois School of Law is Miranda Soucie, a second year law student. Miranda is the co-chair of the Women’s Law Society Symposium and has worked tirelessly to put this event together. I have never spoken to a more passionate law student and advocate for women remaining in the legal profession and accomplishing equality and quality of life at the same time. Miranda and the U of I Women’s Law Society symposium chose a wonderful theme for the event: “Promoting a Healthy Work Place.”
On April 23, 2009, members of our Standing Committee on Women and the Law and a local area Judge, will host a panel discussion from 12:00- 1:15 p.m. Miranda chose an intelligent and interesting topic for the panel discussion, which is “Women Can Have Careers and Enjoy Them, Too.” Miranda has asked members of our committee from different areas in the legal field to address how women can survive long term in our profession or make it past the five year drop off rate that is seen among women attorneys. Our committee panel members will address how they have survived in our profession and discovered ways to enjoy their careers, while maintaining their personal lives. The focus of our panel is to discuss and illustrate how women attorneys from governmental positions, public interest positions, small firm jobs and large firm jobs have managed to fight for equal pay, quality of life and equal participation at their respective places of employment. That discussion will address how to find a work-life balance. Our committee is excited to address the topics chosen and provide guidance in those respects to future women attorneys. Our committee will be providing lunches to the students and mingling with them after our panel discussion.
Following our panel discussion, Miranda has arranged for local attorney and U of I School of Law graduate Karen Conti to give a key note speech from 3:00- 4:00 p.m. The outreach visit will end with a reception at Peer’s Pub, which will be combined with a previously scheduled U of I law school mixer from 4-6 p.m. Karen Conti’s key note speech will continue to develop those issues as she is going to address how she integrates the media into her practice and how the media saved her career from burn out. Karen Conti is a civil and criminal litigation attorney, who also acts as a legal commentator on several news networks and co-hosts and produces a legal talk show entitled “Chicago Law.”
It is so impressive that U of I School of Law has dedicated an entire day to Women in the Legal Profession and our committee is honored to take part in such an important discussion and message. We hope that local attorneys and judges will attend the reception and lend their support to this exciting event. I look forward to reporting about the success of this event in the next edition of the Catalyst.