Chambers Women in Law Awards: USA 2017

We are delighted to announce that the sixth iteration of our Chambers Women in Law Awards will be taking place on Thursday, June 15, in New York.

With over six years of extensive research into gender diversity in USA, and 12 seminars on the topic hosted in the USA in that time, the awards represent both the culmination of our research and an exciting new chapter in our aim for global diversity and equal opportunities in the legal profession.

Winning a Chambers Women in Law Award sets a remarkably high precedent, and marks an internationally-recognised achievement of excellence in furthering the advancement of women in the legal profession. We firmly believe that, by raising awareness of gender diversity and empowering the people committed to bringing about change, together we can start a new chapter with equal opportunities for everyone.

2016 Winners

The agenda for the ceremony is as follows:

Drinks reception
Bar sponsored by Greenspoon Marder

Chris Kay
Chambers and Partners

Sponsor Introduction:
Sidley Austin LLP

Keynote Speech:
Kathleen Franklin
Sony Group

Contemporary Indian Dance Performance
Sanskruti School of Cultural Dance


Post Event Networking


All timings are approximate

Keynote Speaker

Kathleen Franklin, Global Ethics and Compliance Strategy Leader, Sony Group

This year, we are delighted to welcome Kathleen Franklin, Global Ethics and Compliance Strategy Leader of Sony Group as the Keynote speaker. A member of the inaugural class of the DirectWomen Board Institute and the Thirty Percent Coalition, Kathleen has spent much of her career involved in initiatives to advance gender diversity in the legal profession. I caught up with her to discuss the steps she would like to see all Chief Legal Officers take to advance diversity:

Why did you decide to move to from private practice to your role as a corporate ethics/legal/regulatory compliance officer?

“As a partner in the corporate governance group of Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP I became interested in serving on a corporate board so I thought it would be beneficial to also obtain risk oversight experience from the business side. I felt this additional experience would enhance my qualifications as board candidate.

How do the DirectWomen and the Thirty Percent Coalition organisations help to advance diversity in the corporate board room?

“DirectWomen is on the supply side and serves as a resource for companies looking for qualified women candidates. The Thirty Percent Coalition, is a membership organization comprised of institutional investors and other corporate leaders who have joined together to increase the representation of women on boards to 30%. Among other initiatives, the Coalition convened a leading group of Chief Legal Officers and other governance professionals to develop a thought piece that contains suggested steps that Chief Legal Officers and Law Partners can take to move the needle.”

How can Chief Legal Officers and other legal governance advisors influence boards to increase gender diversity?

“Chief legal officers and other corporate governance advisors can help achieve gender diversity on corporate boards in their role as an influential advisor. They may not be the decision maker but they can advocate best practices to their boards by, for example, providing information on the business case for diversity and ensuring that the search firms engaged by their boards understand that the board is committed to recruiting women, people of color and individuals from various ethnic backgrounds as candidates. They can also help the CEO of their company to identify senior executive women within the company who are potential board candidates for other company boards, and provide these colleagues with support and guidance. In addition, they can assist other CLOs by acting as a spokesperson, and sharing personal experiences and successful strategies for advancing gender diversity in corporate boardrooms.”

 What would your advice be to companies looking to diversify their board?

“Expand your criteria, look beyond sitting and retired CEOS as board candidates; and create and cultivate an active pipeline of female candidates. When openings occur they can ensure that search firms provide a diverse slate of candidates for the board to consider and can consider increasing the size of the board to help accelerate the speed of change. In addition to the positive correlation between board diversity and financial performance, board diversity expresses and reinforces, for all stakeholders, a company’s commitment to promoting inclusion throughout the organization.”

Special Award Winners

Further to Kathleen’s keynote speech, we will also be hearing a short address from our ‘Outstanding Contribution’ and ‘Lifetime Achievement’ winners. These women have, in the last year or over the course of their careers, initiated a clear and marked advancement of women in the profession. While maintaining their high-achieving practice, they have displayed the utmost commitment to ensuring there are equal opportunities for all lawyers and potential lawyers.

Outstanding Contribution to Advancing Gender Diversity in the Legal Profession (In-House) 

Jennifer Jaskolka, Assistant General Counsel, Xcel Energy

Jennifer Jaskolka
Assistant General Counsel, Xcel Energy

Jennifer Jaskolka is Assistant General Counsel at Xcel Energy, a Fortune 500 company providing gas and electric services to customers in eight States. She currently serves as Co-President of the Colorado Pledge to Diversity, on the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation’s Board of Directors, and is a “Law School – Yes We Can” mentor, a program aimed at attracting minorities and disadvantaged students to the legal profession as they enter their undergraduate education. Jennifer previously served as a member of the Colorado Association of Corporate Counsel Inclusiveness & Leadership Committee and as Xcel Energy’s Center for Legal Inclusiveness representative and has won numerous awards for her diversity work, including, in February 2017, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness “Inclusiveness@Work Award” for her contributions to increasing diversity and inclusion in the Denver-metro legal community.

Ambassador Susan G. Esserman, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Outstanding Contribution to Advancing Gender Diversity in the Legal Profession (Private Practice)

Ambassador Susan G. Esserman
Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Ambassador Susan G. Esserman is a partner in Steptoe’s Washington office, where she leads the firm’s International Trade Policy practice. In addition to her demanding practice, Ms Esserman is the Founder and Director of the University of Maryland SAFE (Support, Advocacy, Freedom, and Empowerment) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors. The SAFE Center is the first ever university-based program to combine comprehensive services for sex and labor trafficking survivors (legal, case management, medical, mental health, and economic empowerment) with research and advocacy to combat trafficking. She has served on a number of non-profit boards with a focus on women, including her current service on the Board of Managerial Trustees of the International Association of Women Judges.

Lifetime Achievement for Furthering Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession (In-House)

Laura Stein, Executive Vice-President – General Counsel & Corporate Affairs, The Clorox Company

Laura Stein
Executive Vice-President – General Counsel & Corporate Affairs, The Clorox Company

Laura Stein serves as Executive Vice-President – General Counsel & Corporate Affairs of The Clorox Company. Stein serves on Clorox’s executive committee, is president of Clorox’s Foundation and has sponsored the Clorox women’s employee resource group. She is chair of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and co-chair of Corporate Pro Bono. Stein serves on the American Law Institute Council, the Harvard Law School Visiting Committee, the Legal Services Corporation Leaders Council and the Board of Managerial Trustees of the International Association of Women Judges. Stein is former chair of Equal Justice Works, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, the ABA Asia Rule of Law Initiative and the Association of Corporate Counsel, and former president of the Association of General Counsel.

Antonia E. Stolper, Americas Regional Managing Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP

Lifetime Achievement for Furthering Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession (Private Practice)

Antonia E. Stolper
Americas Regional Managing Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP

Antonia Stolper, of Shearman & Sterling, is the Americas Regional Managing Partner, Head of the Latin America affinity group and a member of the Capital Markets-Americas practice group. Antonia is also active in the firm’s efforts to provide pro bono legal assistance to unaccompanied, minor children fleeing violence in Central America by volunteering at the Pro Bono Room at the Immigration Court. Antonia has served as Chair, Vice Chair and is now a member of the executive committee that supervises the Cyrus R. Vance Center. She is also one of two US members of the Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights in the Americas, which designs and implements multilateral initiatives to address challenges to civil and economic rights in Latin America.

Find full details and the shortlist by clicking here.



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