Brown Forum | Women in the Law

Save the Date

The 14th annual Women in the Law Conference will take place on May 13, 2022. Our 2022 theme is Leading at Every Level.

This will be a hybrid event, barring any updates from the state of Massachusetts, or NU guidelines.

2022 Conference Schedule

Friday, May 13, 2022
8:15 AM Registration, Networking and Coffee
8:00 AM Welcome
James Hackney, Dean and Professor of Law, Northeastern Law
Mielle Marquis, Director of External Affairs, Northeastern Law
Lili Palacios- Baldwin ’98, Conference Co-chair
Amy Carlin ’00, Conference Co-chair
9:00 AM Keynote Address
A Fireside Chat with Professors Margaret Burnham and Deborah Ramirez, co-directors of Northeastern Law’s new Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR). Professor Burnham and Ramirez will talk about their long and impressive careers, racial inequality and the work they are doing with CLEAR to address today’s challenges and provide tomorrow’s solutions for the nation’s most complex social challenges.Interviewer:
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Panel 1
Leading in New Areas of the Law
Join this panel of innovators and national thought leaders as we hear from key female lawyers in the areas of environmental justice; the intersection of law and policy; cyber stalking and online harassment and the implications and new laws surrounding cryptocurrency. Panelists include key members of the Biden Administration and national leaders in these areas.Moderator:
Professor Kara SwansonSpeakers include:
Professor Shalanda Baker ’05, Secretarial Advisor on Equity and Deputy Director for Energy Justice, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, US Department of Energy

Michelle Gitlitz, General Counsel, Advising on legal, regulatory risk management matters surrounding payments, digital assets and block chain technology, FLEXA

12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch and Networking
Dockser Commons
1:00 - 2:00 PM Panel 2
Creating Leadership Space at Every Level
Leadership isn’t a solo endeavor: It’s about creating space where people can come together to realize their potential—both individually and collectively. No matter whether you are in your career, entry level or C-suite level, creating leadership space is up to you. In this session, you’ll hear from industry leaders and learn how they created these spaces in the course of their own professional journeys. We’ll also talk about the importance of mentoring and bringing up those behind you, actions that build sustainable systems of change and growth.Moderator:
Lisa Dorsey, Co-Founder and President, Eloquentia ConsultingSpeakers include:
Mary Jeka
Senior Vice President, University and Government Relations and General Counsel, Tufts University
Tram Nguyen ’13
State Representative, Mass. House of Representatives
2:00 - 3:00 PM Panel 3
An Experiential Workshop on Burnout

3:00 - 4:00 PM Breakouts

Breakout 1
When Things Fall Apart


Lili Palacios Baldwin ’98
Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment and Litigation, Tufts University

Mala Rafik ’97
Partner, Rosenfeld & Rafik

Breakout 2
Be the Leader You Want to See

Amy Carlin ’00
Director, In-House Counsel Recruiting, Major, Lindsey & Africa

Sofia Lingos ’09
Managing Attorney, Trident Legal

Breakout 3
Speed Life Coaching

Coaches include:
Lisa Dorsey
Co-Founder and President, Eloquentia Consulting
Tracey Lukes
Vice President, Hollister Institute
Cynthia Reed ’80
ICEO Peer Advisor, Lee, Hecht, Harrison

Jim and Judy Brown

Exciting News to Share!

Northeastern University School of Law has received a gift of $500,000 from Professor Emerita Judith Olans Brown and her husband, Jim Brown, to establish the Judith Olans Brown Forum for Women in the Law. The Brown Forum will expand upon the success of the law school’s signature Women in the Law Conference, now in its 14th year, which has brought together thousands of women lawyers and other professionals for annual conferences that feature nationally recognized speakers and include dynamic programming that inspires women to achieve and advocate for themselves in their professional journeys. The Brown Forum will also launch affiliated programming related to advancing the careers of women lawyers.
>> Learn more

About Women in the law

Since its founding, Northeastern Law has championed diversity in the legal profession.Today, more than half of our graduates are women, practicing in every conceivable setting — from private practice to public service, from the bench to business — as well as a host of non-legal fields. Our annual Women in the Law conference provides career guidance and professional development growth to women attorneys and other professionals at all stages of their careers, and brings together powerful decision makers from Boston and beyond.

2022 Conference Chairs

Amy Carlin ’00
Director, In-House Counsel Recruiting, Major, Lindsey & Africa

Lili Palacios-Baldwin ’98 
Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment and Litigation, Tufts University


We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of our
2022 Women in the Law Advisory Group: 

Navjeet Bal ’89
Kelly Bonnevie ’92
Professor Emerita Judy Brown
Vanessa Candela ’00
Amy Carlin ’00
Kelly Douglas ’92
Kathy Henry ’00
Sofia Lingos ’09
Christina Miller ’98
Karen O’Malley ’94
Gina Perini ’01
Mala Rafik ’97
Cynthia Reed ’80
Rachael Rollins ’97

Conference Archive

  • Women in the Law 2021 was held virtually on Friday, May 21. Our 2020-2021 theme was All In: Reimagining Inclusive Workplaces. Program highlights include:

    Program highlights included:

    • An intimate interview with Nina Totenberg, NPR’s Legal Affairs Correspondent. The conversation with Totenberg touched on her close friendship with RBG, her role as a trailblazer in journalism and much more.
    • A conversation with Michele Coleman Mayes, vice president, general counsel and secretary of the New York Public Library, and the Honorable Victoria Roberts ’76;
    • A special presentation by Shirley Leung, columnist and associate editor at The Boston Globe;
    • A mindfulness exercise by Brenda Fingold;
    • Three timely and topical panels: Strategies for Promoting Equity and Inclusion in the Legal WorkplaceRewriting the Code: Women, Law and Technology; and “Democracy is not a state. It is an act....” (John Lewis).
    • Three breakout sessions to choose from: Dive Deeper into the "isms"; Out of Time and Out of Mind: Strategies to Make the Most of Every DaySo You Want to Be a General Counsel.
    • And much more... Check out the conference schedule below!

    >> View photo gallery

    2021 Conference Schedule

    Friday, May 21, 2021
    8:15 AM Gathering on Zoom and Networking
    8:30 AM Welcome 
    Mielle Marquis| @MielleMarquis
    Director of External Relations, Northeastern University School of Law
    Amy Carlin ’00
    Partner, Morgan Brown & Joy (conference chair)
    James Hackney
    Dean, Northeastern University School of LawMusical contributions from Alisha Williams, who recently graduated from the California Jazz Conservatory, and singing duo Ella Marcus and Sarah Katherine Lawless, who attend the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, set the tone for a dynamic and inspiring day of programing.
    9:00 - 10:00 AM Keynote Address
    Michele Coleman Mayes
    Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, New York Public Library
    In conversation with: The Honorable Victoria Roberts ’76
    10:00 - 10:10 AM Mindfulness Exercise
    Brenda Fingold
    Mindfulness Consultant
    10:10 - 10:15 AM Break
    10:15- 11:15 AM Panel 1
    Strategies for Promoting Equity and Inclusion in Legal Workplaces
    As lawyers, many of us have worked hard to achieve real diversity in the workplace. But diversity can’t be the end game when most workplaces struggle to maintain a culture that truly supports equity and inclusion. In this session, panelists will share strategies they’ve used to encourage their organizations to make changes that benefit all who are working for equity in the workplace. This panel will include an expert who works with organizations to transform cultures on issues of equity, and who will impart actual tools to those eager and interested in creating openings for more inclusive workplaces.

    Laura Rees Acosta
    Managing Director, Diversity + Inclusion, Goodwin
    Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson
    Co-founder of the Disruptive Equity Education Project
    Su Joun
    Principal, Diversity@Workplace Consulting Group SuJounTALENT
    Rosa Nuñez
    Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Foley HoagModerator:
    Amy Carlin ’00
    Partner, Morgan, Brown & Joy

    11:15 - 11:25 AM Break
    11:25 AM - 12:25 PM Panel 2
    Rewriting the Code: Women, Law and Technology
    It’s no secret that technology is a male-dominated field where women often face challenges. For female lawyers, getting involved with technology on the legal side can be a way to better understand and network into either start-ups or established companies. Our panelists will share strategies for opening up opportunities and a seat at the table in technology and social media companies as well as how to improve recruitment and retention in this niche.

    Vanessa Candela ’00
    Chief Legal Officer, Celonis
    Juliana Spofford ’89
    General Counsel, Chief Privacy Officer, Aidentified
    Alicia Tambe ’15
    Public Policy Manager, Global Connectivity & Access, FacebookModerator:
    Jessica Silbey
    Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law

    12:25 - 1:10 PM Special Presentation
    Shirley Leung
    Columnist and Associate Editor, The Boston Globe
    1:10 - 1:15 PM Break
    1:15 - 2:15 PM Panel 3
    “Democracy is not a state. It is an act...” (John Lewis)
    Exasperated, frustrated, and appalled at the state of the world? The challenges before us are daunting - racial injustice, threats to peace at home and abroad, assaults on democracy and the rule of law, a broken healthcare system, intractable poverty, climate change and other environmental threats, a troubling immigration system, ongoing challenges to the rights of women and LGBTQ folks (just to name a few). You are compelled to act, to use your formidable skills -- legal and otherwise - to engage and make a positive difference. But where to begin? Join a panel of fellow activists and hear how they are using the law to work for social change across multiple contexts.Panelists:
    Michelle Banker
    Director of Reproductive Rights and Health Litigation, National Women’s Law Center
    Emily Rochon ’13
    Owner/Manager, Renewable Futures, Brussels, Belgium
    Sara Schnorr
    Of Counsel, Locke Lord
    Connie Vetter '93
    Principal, Connie Vetter, LGBT Attorney at Law
    Heather Yountz ’07
    Immigration Attorney, Demissie & ChurchModerator:
    Sunu Chandy ’98
    Legal Director,  National Women’s Law Center
    2:15 - 2:20 PM Break
    2:20 - 3:20 PM Breakout Sessions

    Dive Deeper into the "isms"
    Racism, sexism, ageism, ableism…discrimination takes many forms in the workplace—and is ever-evolving. These are thorny topics, and it feels all too easy to say the wrong thing. Most of us feel unable or ill-equipped to address the “isms” that we experience or witness, yet yearn to engage to promote real learning and change in our own communities. In this session, breakout leaders will discuss ways to have difficult conversations or otherwise respond when you’re confronted with these issues in the workplace and beyond.

    Breakout leaders:
    Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson
    Co-founder of the Disruptive Equity Education Project
    Soudie Tahmassebipour ’99
    Founder, RE-ENVISION Consulting; Executive Director, Wachusett Area Social Justice Alliance

    Out of Time and Out of Your Mind: Strategies to Make the Most of Every Day
    Dutifully racking up billable hours or enduring the grind of back-to-back meetings and the expectation of lightning-fast responses to endlessly urgent demands is no guarantee of time well spent. Your time is valuable—and not just in stark economic terms. Where is your life and career energizing you versus depleting you? Are you ready to move through your days with energy and enthusiasm? In this session, you will gain clarity about what lights you up and develop strategies for honoring that in your daily life. Join the discussion and make every moment count.

    Breakout leader:
    Tracey Lukes
    Vice President, Hollister Institute

    So You Want to Be a General Counsel
    What is the necessary skillset for becoming a general counsel – i.e. what traits are necessary to succeed in this very fast-paced in-house environment? Exceptional legal skills are just table stakes on the road to becoming general counsel.  A great general counsel is a master of relationships, an executive confidant, a business enabler and a teller of hard truths. Being intentional about your career - the places you work, the assignments you seek, who you work for and who takes you under their wing - are all crucial if you want the top job. Our distinguished breakout leaders will share their stories and show you the way.

    Breakout leaders:
    Vanessa Candela ’00
    Chief Legal Officer, Celonis
    Nancy Reiner '84
    Partner, Major, Lindsey & Africa

    3:20 - 3:25 PM Break
    3:25 - 3:55 PM Special Presentation
    Nina Totenberg
    NPR's Legal Affairs Correspondent
    3:55 - 4:00 PM Break
    4:00 - 4:30 PM Virtual Networking
    Join us in celebrating #WIL2021