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Nov. 8, 2018

Q&A: Women in the Courtroom and Women and Diverse Lawyers and Business Development

A conversation with Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld, managing partner at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, who will moderate the "Women in the Courtroom" and "Women and Diverse Lawyers and Business Development" panels at Women Leadership in Law on November 15.

Grunfeld gay
Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld, Managing Partner, Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld

Women in the Courtroom

9:30 am - 10:45 am

Decades after women reached parity with men in the nation's top law schools, they are still hard to find at the lectern for oral argument or delivering the closing at a jury trial. Nowhere is this disparity more evident than in federal court, and particularly in Multi-district litigation. This panel asks prominent women litigators how prevalent the issue is, how they overcame the barriers to being lead counsel, and what steps the bench and bar can take to address gender disparity among lead counsel.


Rachel Ehrlich, Mediator, Judicate West

Jessica L. Grant, Partner, Venable LLP

Nancy E. Harris, Principal and Chair of Commercial Litigation Practice, Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, PLC

Nanci E. Nishimura, Principal, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP

Susan M. Sharko, Partner, Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP

How will this discussion benefit practitioners?

Practitioners of all stages, whether early or late in their careers, can learn from this panel how to increase the chances of being lead counsel in significant litigation, which in turn will enhance their ability to generate business.

How will this panel discussion differ from other speaking events on this topic?

Our panel features tested litigators who have attained first-chair status, including on large MDLs, as well as the Chair of the Commission on Judicial Performance, who will discuss what that body can do to deter sexist attitudes among the judiciary. Our panel also includes a mediator, who will share her insights on this important part of litigation.

Women and Diverse Lawyers and Business Development

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

Female and diverse law firm lawyers are recognizing that bringing in money translates into more clout in BigLaw. Bringing in money translates into the power to:
- Assign work to chosen mentees
- Serve as lead counsel in significant matters
- Command significant guarantees in lateral moves
- Demand significant leadership roles internally and externally

This panel takes a no-holds-barred and honest look at business development by engaging in a frank discussion with female and diverse law firm partner rainmakers, and three in-house leaders who are in positions to assign significant matters to outside counsels (and who have also served as law firm partners prior to their in-house careers). The panelists will discuss how women and diverse lawyers can generate significant business, how it is critical to begin developing business from day one, and how to best poise oneself to be hired by top Fortune companies in order to truly overcome stubborn gender and racial divides that continue to hold our profession back in BigLaw. Insights from this panel are relevant to any lawyer in any sector--from those working in smaller firms to plaintiff-side practitioners.


Tammy Albarran, Deputy General Counsel, Uber Technologies, Inc.

Jose Martin, Managing Counsel, Enterprise-wide Litigation, Chevron

Natalie Naugle, Associate General Counsel, Litigation Facebook

Quyen Ta, Partner, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP

Bijal Vakil, Partner, White & Case LLP

How will this discussion benefit practitioners?

This panel will discuss the financial aspects of business development in frank terms and offer concrete suggestions for increasing a lawyer's ability to become a rainmaker.

How will this panel discussion differ from other speaking events on this topic?

All of the panelists are diverse lawyers who can speak to the importance of diversity to the success of companies in the Bay Area. All of the panelists are also successful rainmakers--either currently or prior to going in-house. Their insights into business development will be invaluable to conference attendees who are seeking to take their business development skills to the next level.

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