Developed by Cushman & Wakefield’s Legal Sector Advisory Group (“LSAG”) and Women’s Integrated Network (“WIN”), it was an opportunity to bring together a panel of highly successful law firm and in-house counsel leaders, both attorneys and executives, to share their life journeys, obstacles, and solutions that got them to where they are today.
The panel discussion and networking event featured six powerhouse women within the legal sector (listed as pictured): Eileen Brumback, General Counsel, GE Aviation; Pamela Kain, North America General Counsel, Cushman & Wakefield; Elizabeth Leckie, Partner, Finance and Restructuring, New York, Allen & Overy LLP; Amy Leder, New York Executive Partner and Co-Leader of Corporate, M&A, and Securities Practice Group, Northeast Region, Holland & Knight LLP; Laura Metzger, Partner, Restructuring and Office Leader, New York, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff LLP; and Leslie Minier, Partner and Chief Diversity Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; and moderated by Sherry Cushman, Executive Managing Director & Leader, Legal Sector Advisory Group, Cushman & Wakefield.
“This event offers a platform for female leaders in the industry to share their journeys and profound experiences. The panelists’ candor and recommendations were embraced by the attendees of all ages to help guide them through their own careers. In addition, how firms are improving diversity, a hot topic in the legal sector, was addressed in detail providing the audience with ideas to bring back to their own firms,” said Sherry Cushman of Cushman & Wakefield. “Now in its third year, Women in Law has proven to be a great success in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. and plans are in place to expand the program to San Francisco and Boston next year.”
During the event, panelists engaged in a dynamic discussion on their careers, their keys to success, and their actionable recommendations on how to improve diversity within the legal sector. After a lively Q&A session with the audience, the conversations continued during the reception, with the panelists speaking one-on-one with guests while sharing additional insights and personal anecdotes of their experiences in the legal industry.
Quotes from Panelists:
Eileen Brumback, General Counsel, GE Aviation, “Building confidence is about having new experiences and doing things outside of your comfort zone – maybe not doing them perfectly, but you learn from it and next time you’ll do it better. Put yourself in a position to try new things, you’ll learn from them – some you will repeat and some you won’t, but you will build that confidence in yourself and your own capabilities.”
Pamela Kain, North America General Counsel, Cushman & Wakefield, “To assist diversity efforts, what I do with outside counsel - and encourage my teams to do - is to have an upfront conversation at the engagement stage about diversity and what I expect on teams that will be working for me. I want a diverse team, and if that isn’t a possibility then I take my business elsewhere.”
Elizabeth Leckie, Partner, Finance and Restructuring, New York, Allen & Overy LLP, “I think everyone should receive training in unconscious bias because everyone comes out of those trainings with a new perspective. I think it all has to be about accountability, whether it is with outside counsel or internally, we need to ask – what are we doing about diversity?”
Amy Leder, New York Executive Partner and Co-Leader of Corporate, M&A, and Securities Practice Group, Northeast Region, Holland & Knight LLP, “It is most important to support and retain the diverse people that you already have, and they will then attract more diverse people. We see this time and time again, as it creates a more comfortable environment for other potential diverse employees.”
Laura Metzger, Partner, Restructuring and Office Leader, New York Office, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff LLP, “Being a mom teaches you how to be a better lawyer – it truly does. It teaches you how to adjust very quickly, how to problem solve and how to triage in a way that I was previously unprepared for. It is also very liberating.”
Laura Metzger, Partner, Restructuring and Office Leader, New York Office, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff LLP, “Be empowered by your decisions and your ability to make choices. Also be empowered by the fact that you are exercising your right to choose things every single day. We think we’re not – for example when we wake up in the morning and we feel like we have to go to work, but really we choose to go to work.”
Leslie Minier, Partner and Chief Diversity Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, “I had some really great sponsors, and I don’t know if I understood what they were doing for me at the time, but they were in the room. They were very transparent – if I was doing something wrong, they told me, and if I was doing something right, they told me. I didn’t’ realize the value of that, but it really set the pace for what to work on year to year.”
Leslie Minier, Partner and Chief Diversity Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, “I learned a sponsor may not look like me, and they might even be the opposite of me and that’s ok. Because most of my sponsors were white men, and I knew I need to take help and assistance from someone who wanted to invest in me.”
Pictured left from right: Sherry Cushman, Cushman & Wakefield; Elizabeth Leckie, Allen & Overy LLP; Eileen Brumback, GE, Aviation; Pamela Kain, Cushman & Wakefield; Amy Leder, Holland & Knight LLP; Laura Metzger, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff LLP; and Leslie Minier, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP