On March 3, 2020, the WBAI partnered with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession (COWP) for a Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law. Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer hosted the Summit at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. Corinne Cantwell Heggie, WBAI’s 2019-2020 President, and Mary Smith, ABA’s Secretary, chaired the Summit.
ABA President Judy Perry Martinez welcomed attendees before the first panel explored the research that was based on a first-of-its-kind report from the ABA and ALM Intelligence addressing why senior women are far more likely than men to leave the practice of law. The following two panels provided perspective from law firm managing partners and from corporate general counsels each panel discussing how firms and companies can be agents of change and support senior women in their organizations. The Summit concluded with a “view from the bench” moderated by Judge Virginia Kendall. The faculty included Chief Judge Pallmeyer, Chief Judge Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge Sara Darrow and Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel.
It was a fitting and historical end to an informative Summit to have all women chief judges, especially since each woman is the first female chief in the district in which she serves.
Pictured are Summit chairs, steering committee members and faculty, left to right: Jayne Rizzo Reardon, Aurora A. Austriaco, Chief Judge Diane P. Wood (Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals), Judge Virginia M. Kendall, Mary L. Smith, Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer (ND IL), Chief Judge Sara Darrow (CD IL), Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel (SD IL), Corinne Cantwell Heggie, Kenya Jenkins-Wright and Judy Perry Martinez.