Women’s Leadership & Advancement Forum

Promoting the Pow[h]er of Attorney

This fall, the Boston Bar Association introduced a forum dedicated to promoting and generating fundamental change across areas of gender inequality within the legal profession. Led by an advisory committee, the forum will bring together leaders in the legal community to discuss issues they face within their firms, corporations and other legal departments and seek to identify resources and best practices to empower women lawyers and bridge the opportunity gap.



The Leadership Development Fund of the Boston Bar Foundation provides critical support for the Women’s Leadership and Advancement Forum.  For more information on the BBF or this fund, please contact Megan Leppert at mleppert@bostonbar.org or (617) 778-1924.



Lisa Arrowood
Founding Partner
Arrowood LLP


Deborah Barnard
Professional Development & Growth Partner
Holland and Knight LLP


Elaine Herrmann Blais
Head of Litigation


Margaret Brown
Retired Partner
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP


Yvonne Chan


Susan Finegan
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

Sula Fiszman

Sula Fiszman
Morgan Lewis


Kathy Henry
General Counsel
Eastern Bank

Peggy Ho

Peggy Ho
Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Head of Government Relations
LPL Financial


Renée Landers
Professor of Law and Faculty Director
Suffolk University Law School


Deborah Manus
Managing Partner


Christina Miller
Suffolk University Law School


Maureen Mulligan
Peabody & Arnold LLP


Suma Nair
Goulston & Storrs


Christine Netski
Managing Partner
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.


Mala Rafik
Founding Partner
Rosenfeld & Rafik, P.C.


Paige Scott Reed
Prince Lobel


Courtney Scrubbs
Corporate Counsel


Ruth Silman
Managing Partner
Nixon Peabody LLP


Carol Starkey
Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP


Mary Strother
First Assistant Attorney General
Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office


Jane Willis
Ropes & Gray LLP


The Reward of Risk
Thursday, June 7, 2018
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

Afraid to make a professional leap? Hear how other successful women have reaped the rewards of taking risks in their careers. This program includes a dynamic panel discussion with women who have leaped across legal sectors and industries as well speed mentoring with these accomplished women for program attendees. Get ready to get risky.


Hon. Vickie L. Henry, Massachusetts Appeals Court
Kathleen Cloherty Henry, Eastern Bank
Mala M. Rafik, Rosenfeld & Rafik, P.C.
Carol V. Rose, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU)
Carol Ann Starkey, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP

Business Development and Personal Branding
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

Want to hear more about how to develop business and your own personal brand? This session will focus on how women can hone their brand, use their networks and increase self-promotion. Successful business developers will explain how they have built their careers and how they “make the ask” for business.


Kristina Bieker-Brady, McDermott Will & Emery
Deborah Birnbach, Goodwin
Juliet Davison, Davison Law LLC
Deborah Scaringi, Scaringi Marketing

Successful Transitions to In-House and Government Practice
Thursday, April 12, 2018
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

This program is designed to provide advice to mid-level attorneys looking to transition into either in-house or government practice. Panelists will share their experiences and best-practices. Following the panel discussion, we will break up into smaller groups for more intimate conversations.


Abim Thomas, Vertex
Navjeet Bal, Social Finance, Inc.
Peggy Ho, LPL Financial
Christina Miller, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Gabrielle Viator, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

Flourishing as a Mid-Level Associate
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

This program is designed to give practical advice to mid-level female associates at law firms. A panel presentation will be followed by a highly interactive format, where participants will share best practices with other mid-level associates and leading female partners. Topics include:

  • Maximizing Your Potential in Your Client Work
  • Outside the Billable Hour: Connecting and Learning Inside and Outside the Firm
  • Taking Ownership of Your Career, and Taking Care of Yourself

Rebecca D. Raphaelson, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Jane E. Willis, Ropes & Gray LLP
Elizabeth Monnin-Browder, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
Deborah J. Manus, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Susan M. Finegan, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Alison Christine Casey, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

GRIT: The Secret of Advancement
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
3:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Boston Bar Association – 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

View Program Gallery.

Two of the common characteristics of highly successful women lawyers are Grit and Growth Mindset.  Research shows that these traits can be learned.  Grit is defined as “perseverance and passion for  long-term goals” and teamed with a Growth Mindset – the view that one’s  abilities can be developed – they have been identified as important tools that aid highly successful women attorneys in handling challenging situations in the practice of law.  Join Milana  L. Hogan, Ed.D, the author of Grit, The Secret to Advancement (a book recently published by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession) and a panel of esteemed Massachusetts women lawyers who have used Grit and Growth Mindset to advance their own success in the profession.  The panel presentation will be followed by break-out groups and a facilitated discussion in these small groups on how to handle challenging situations in the profession.  A reception will follow.

Moderator: Maureen Mulligan, Peabody & Arnold LLP

Panel Members:
Lisa Arrowood, Arrowood LLP
Honorable Heidi Brieger, Massachusetts Superior Court
Milana Hogan, Ed. D., Author Grit, The Secret to Advancement
Jennifer Inker, Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel. Fidelity
Karla Jarvis, Vice President & General Counsel, The Rockport Group
Sarah Kim, General Counsel to the Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts
Lauren Rikleen, Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership

Women’s Leadership and Advancement Kickoff Event
Thursday, November 16, 2017

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Boston College Club – 100 Federal Street, Boston, MA


Michele Coleman Mayes
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
The New York Public Library

Michele Coleman Mayes is Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library (NYPL).  Ms. Mayes joined NYPL in August 2012 after serving as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company since 2007. She served as Chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession of the American Bar Association from 2014-2017. She served as a Senior Vice President and the General Counsel of Pitney Bowes Inc. from 2003 to 2007 and in several legal capacities at Colgate-Palmolive from 1992 to 2003.  In 1982, Ms. Mayes entered the corporate sector as managing attorney of Burroughs Corporation.  After Burroughs and Sperry Corporation merged, creating Unisys Corporation, she was appointed Staff Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Worldwide Litigation.  From 1976 through 1982, she served in the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit and Brooklyn, eventually assuming the role of Chief of the Civil Division in Detroit.  Ms. Mayes received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Ms. Mayes served on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration from 2013-2014. She served as Chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession of the American Bar Association from 2014-2017. Effective in 2015, she was appointed as an Advisor to the ABA Business Law Section, and in that same year, became a Fellow of the American College of Governance Counsel. In August 2016, she was elected to the Board of Directors of Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO).



Anderson Kreiger LLP
Arrowood LLP
Barclay Damon, LLP
Beck Reed Riden LLP
Burns & Levinson LLP
Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Dain Torpy Le Ray Wiest & Garner, P.C.
Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Eastern Bank
Foley Hoag
Goulston Storrs, PC
Greenberg Traurig
Hinckley Allen
Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
Hogan Lovells
Holland & Knight LLP
Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
Laredo & Smith ,LLP
LPL Financial
Margolis & Bloom
McLane Middleton
Mintz Levin
Morgan Lewis
Nixon Peabody LLP
Peabody & Arnold LLP
Pierce Atwood LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP
Rosenfeld & Rafik, P.C.
Schwartz Hannum
Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA
Sherin & Lodgen LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young LLP
Suffolk University School of Law
Sugarman Rogers Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP
Todd & Weld LLP

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