Member Spotlight

Whitney K. Siehl

First Vice President // WBAI

Please provide a description of your practice.

I am a Plaintiffs’ litigator focused on complex class actions in the areas of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, antitrust, mass torts, consumer protection, and sports law at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP. Notable cases include an over $17 million settlement fund for survivors of Harvey Weinstein and a $215 million settlement fund for USC students against gynecologist Dr. Tyndall in sexual abuse cases. I also represent college students and consumers in Covid-19 refund litigation, workers in wage-fixing antitrust matters, and athletes in concussion litigation, among other cases.

Why are you a member of the WBAI?

I am extremely passionate about the WBAI’s mission to advance the interests of women and women lawyers. WBAI events and programming bring the legal community together, foster lively discussions about women in the law, advocate for important issues and diversity, support camaraderie and connection with members, and we have fun! I would not be the lawyer I am today without the mentors, mentees, and friends I have made through my involvement with the WBAI.

What do you think is the best way to empower women in law?

Mentorship matters and I challenge every attorney to mentor, clear the path for those following in their footsteps, help build confidence, celebrate accomplishments, and encourage their mentees to ask for what they want in their careers. Mentors must ensure women have opportunities for career advancing work, specifically speaking in court, client interaction, business development, and leadership roles.

What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?

I am most excited to be sworn in as WBAI President at the Annual Installation Dinner on May 31, 2023 at The Field Museum! I look forward to serving the legal community and the WBAI membership through collaboration, outstanding networking events, dynamic continuing legal education programs, and meaningful community outreach and volunteer opportunities.

How did you first become involved with the WBAI?

I joined the WBAI my first day as an attorney. There was a table of WBAI members meeting the newly sworn in attorneys at the ceremony. I had moved back to Chicago after graduating from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and was looking for a legal networking organization. The WBAI was so welcoming during my first few events, I knew the organization would be my professional home! I could not wait to get more involved. I joined the Golf Outing committee and started chairing it the next year!

What is your favorite event and why?

The WBAI has so many wonderful events, it is difficult to pick just one! WBAI offers everything: large networking receptions and dinners honoring judges and legal leaders, partnerships and leadership events with bar associations, continuing legal education, and other fun events such as golf clinics, getting glam and taking headshots, and cooking classes.

If I have to choose, my favorite event is the Annual Golf Outing. I have co-chaired the event every year since 2015. I am passionate about encouraging women to learn to golf and our outing is always a great time!

What is your favorite WBAI memory?

My favorite WBAI memories include: meeting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after being sworn in to the Supreme Court of the United States with WBAI members and being sworn in to the board for the first time at the WBAI Annual Installation Dinner. I was inspired by Hon. Ilana Diamond Rovner’s keynote speech that year detailing her incredible life escaping the Holocaust and becoming the first woman appointed to the Seventh Circuit. I was and am honored and excited to serve the WBAI membership on the board.

Why would you recommend the WBAI to others?

WBAI provides so many opportunities and ways to get involved, including networking and mentoring, speaking and continuing legal education, advocating for important legislation and diversity in the profession, and community service. WBAI members are the most impressive, supportive, and encouraging people. I have met and collaborated with so many wonderful attorneys I now call friends.

Tell us something interesting about you.

I was a member of the women’s golf team at Northwestern University and a member of the NCAA Academic All-American women’s cross country and track teams at Miami University. I helped start my high school’s women’s golf team and am thrilled to play a small part in future team members signing national letters of intent to play college golf. I received a scholarship from Jack Nicklaus to attend law school.

I still make time for athletic events. To date I have completed 14 marathons, including the Chicago Marathon every year since 2012, the Big Sur International Marathon, and New York City Marathon, and numerous triathlons including the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 Ohio. I serve as a volunteer marathon pace coach through the Chicago Area Runners Association. I love inspiring athletes and first-time marathoners to achieve what they once thought was impossible!

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Whitney K. Siehl, First Vice President of the WBAI, is a Plaintiffs’ litigator at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP. In this feature, you’ll learn more about Whitney’s favorite WBAI event, what she is passionate about, and what she's looking forward to in the next year as incoming WBAI President.