A preview of the “Women in the Law” conference, a forum for women to help women.
By Eric Quitugua
At “Women in the Law 2018: Forging Your Path to Success,” a conference sponsored by TexasBarCLE and the State Bar of Texas Women and the Law Section, attorneys from different legal fields will offer insights on issues common to all lawyers, such as communication, work-life balance, and self-promotion. But the event, which will take place on March 16 at the Westin Dallas Downtown, will spotlight the challenges women in the profession face and how they can overcome them to advance in their careers.
“Success means something different to everyone,” said Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, a co-director of the conference. “This program is designed to empower women to fulfill their individual career and life aspirations, from achieving balance to attaining the highest levels of leadership and professional success. The goal is to provide a forum that explores the tools and techniques that women attorneys can employ to achieve success on their own terms.”
The conference will feature discussions on topics including unconscious bias, sexual harassment, business development, and promoting gender-neutral language in legal documents.
The diverse topics were drawn from personal experiences of the conference’s planning committee. Comprising attorneys in different legal fields and at different stages in their careers, the group chose to address issues most pertinent to them, colleagues, mentors, and mentees. The sessions, Guzman said, are designed to be informative, useful, and engaging. “With women comprising more than a third of active bar members, the conference enables meaningful interaction, mentoring, and networking in a welcoming environment.”
Sharon Rowen, an Atlanta-based attorney and filmmaker who recently directed and produced Balancing the Scales, a documentary that sheds light on the challenges women in law have faced in the past and continue to face today, is the keynote speaker. Her film features interviews with women attorneys, state supreme court justices, and high-profile figures, such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and their frank discussions on gender roles and inequality in the profession.
While overt discrimination and working conditions have improved, subtle and unconscious biases still inhibit women from achieving top leadership roles, Rowen said. “We need a national conversation about our current perception of leaders as ‘male and pale’ not only in the law but also in all professions,” she said. “We need both top-down (governmental regulation) and bottom-up (change in cultural perceptions) action to get enough women into leadership positions. Once there is diversity in decision-making, achieving gender equality will be easier.”
For more information on “Women in the Law” and conference registration, go to texasbarcle.com.TBJ