Brown Forum | Women in the Law

Since its founding, Northeastern University School of 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, to the US Senate — as well as a host of non-legal fields.

In 2005, the School of Law’s Office of Alumni/ae Relations, along with Professor Emerita Judy Brown, formed the Women in the Law Advisory Group. Together, we decided it was high time to offer programming specifically geared toward alumnae. We developed a platform of activities, including an annual conference, a series of articles and resources on women in the law and networking activities for women lawyers.

Each year, we strive to address topics pertinent to women attorneys, regardless of their area of practice or career stage. Our goal is to offer practical, applicable and relevant information that women can put to use immediately in their careers. We also believe strongly in women supporting women, so we provide forums for networking, including ways to engage younger practitioners and current students.

In September, 2021, Northeastern Law 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 and also supports affiliated programming related to advancing the careers of women lawyers.
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Save the Date!

The 15th annual Women in the Law Conference will take place on May 5, 2023. Stay tuned for details!

2023 Conference Chairs

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

Amy Carlin is a Boston-based director on Major, Lindsey & Africa’s In-House Counsel Recruiting team, working with legal departments to build better legal teams. Amy’s nearly two decades of experience as an employment lawyer and litigator makes her an effective and trusted partner to clients looking to add best-fit legal talent. Working across a variety of industries, she understands the importance of taking the time to understand the client’s operations and culture to identify a successful match in skills and personality. 

Amy lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and her two middle-school aged daughters. She has a deep love of music, and whenever there is an opportunity to dance, she will take it (at times to the embarrassment of her daughters)! Early career days spent in the restaurant industry infused her with a passion for food and restaurants, and she loves the dining out experience. She also enjoys cooking, playing tennis and listening to podcasts while on a good walk. A few of her favorite podcasts are Brene Brown’s “Unlocking Us,” Layla Saad’s “Good Ancestor Podcast,” “Broken Record with Rick Rubin” and The New Yorker Fiction Podcast. 

Siri NelsonSiri Nelson ’19
Associate Attorney and Policy Counsel, Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto; Adjunct Professor, Northeastern University School of Law

Siri Nelson is an associate attorney and policy counsel at Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto (KKC). In her role at KKC, Siri played a key role in drafting of multiple comments to the SEC on their proposed rule-making under the Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower law. She participated in meetings with the Chairman of the SEC, individual Commission members and the staff of the Commission regarding the importance of maintain a robust SEC whistleblower program. Siri also wrote an Amicus Brief urging the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in Butler v. Board of County Commissioners for San Miguel County, a case that raised significant whistleblower issues. Siri is also an editor and legislative correspondent at Whistleblower Network News, the leading source of information about whistleblower issues.

Juliana Spofford ’89
General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, Aidentified

Juliana is the general counsel and chief privacy officer of Aidentified, a company that blends B2B and B2C data elements for relationship mapping and sales-prospecting purposes. She has over 25 years of legal experience in a wide variety of areas including giving in-house legal advice (since 2006) to various private and publicly-held data/information technology companies. Prior to joining Aidentified, Juliana was the chief privacy officer at Dun & Bradstreet where she was responsible for global privacy and data protection governance and compliance on a multi-national level, including privacy oversight of and response to cybersecurity incidents. Prior to that she was general counsel at NetProspex, a B2B data services business which she helped guide to acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet. Prior to NetProspex she was commercial corporate counsel on the data services (Factiva) side of Dow Jones after the acquisition by Dow Jones of Generate, where she had been general counsel. She started her legal career in the corporate litigation and intellectual property areas, working for firms such as Sullivan & Worcester in Boston and Bowditch & Dewey in Worcester, Massachusetts. She holds an undergraduate degree in Art History from Smith College and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law.

She received a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly In-House Leader in the Law award in 2018, participates as a mentor for the Massachusetts Bar Association Tiered Community Mentoring program and has spoken on multiple panels about data privacy and legal career-related topics. In her spare time she likes to read, hike, canoe and kayak and travel.


We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of our
2023 Women in the Law Advisory Group: 

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
Lili Palacios-Baldwin’98
Gina Perini ’01
Mala Rafik ’97
Cynthia Reed ’80
Rachael Rollins ’97

Conference Archive

  • The 14th annual Women in the Law Conference took place on May 13, 2022, in a hybrid format. Our 2022 theme was Leading at Every Level.

    >> View photos

    Conference Videos

    KEYNOTE 
    A Fireside Chat with Professors Margaret Burnham and Deborah Ramirez, co-directors of Northeastern Law’s New Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR). Hosted by Mielle Marquis, director of external affairs and co-founder of  Women in the Law.

    PANEL 1
    Leading in New Areas of the Law
    Watch this panel of innovators and national thought leaders to 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.

    PANEL 3
    Amelia Nagoski, co-author of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, leads an Experiential Workshop on Burnout.

    2022 Conference Schedule

    Friday, May 13, 2022
    8:oo AM Registration, Networking and Coffee
    8:30 AM Welcome
    James Hackney, Dean, Northeastern University School of Law (recorded)
    Mielle Marquis
    , Director of External Relations, Northeastern University School of Law
    Lili Palacios- Baldwin ’98
    , Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment and Litigation, Tufts University (conference co-chair)
    Amy Carlin ’00
    , Director, In-House Counsel Recruiting, Major, Lindsey & Africa (conference co-chair)

    Singing Presentation
    The Honorable Tiffany Williams Brewer ’99, Chair, New Jersey State Commission of Investigation; Co-Pastor, Transform Church Global Ministries9:00 - 10:00  AMKeynote 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.


    Moderator:
    Mielle Marquis, Director of External Affairs, Northeastern University School of Law10:00 - 10:15 AMBreak10:15 - 11:00  AMSpecial Presentation
    The Honorable Margaret Marshall
    Senior Counsel, Choate, Hall & Stewart


    Moderator: 
    Lili Palacios-Baldwin ’98, Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment and Litigation, Tufts University11:00 AM - 12:00 PMPanel 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 national leaders in these areas.


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

    Speakers include:
    Carrie Goldberg
    Victims’ Rights Attorney; Author,
     Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Perv, and Trolls.
    Michelle Gitlitz

    General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Flexa Network
    Staci Rubin ’10
    Vice President, Environmental Justice, Conservation Law Foundation12:00 - 1:00 PMLunch and Networking
    Dockser Commons1:00 - 2:00 PMPanel 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 Consulting

    Speakers include:
    Mary Jeka
    Senior Vice President and General Counsel, University Relations Division, Tufts University
    Deb Manus
    Chair and Partner, Nutter; President, Boston Bar Association
    Tram Nguyen ’13
    State Representative, Massachusetts House of Representatives
    Talesha Saint-Marc ’09
    Shareholder, Bernstein Shur2:00 - 3:00 PMPanel 3
    An Experiential Workshop on Burnout


    Led by:
    Amelia Nagoski
    Co-author, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle3:00 - 4:00 PM

    Breakouts

    BREAKOUT 1 | 44 Dockser
    When Things Fall Apart

    Led by: 

    Laurie Cappello
    Director of Well-Being, Mintz

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

    Mala Rafik ’97
    Partner, Rosenfeld & Rafik

    BREAKOUT 2 | 42 Dockser
    Be the Leader You Want to See

    Moderators:
    Su Joun
    Principal, Diversity@Workplace Consulting Group

    Sofia Lingos ’09
    Managing Attorney, Trident Legal

    Join Sofia and Su in a real and robust discussion about being the leader that you want to see. Topics will include mentorship and sponsorship (and how they do not work for everyone), inclusive leadership, leadership without position and authority, and leadership moments.

    BREAKOUT 3 | 46Dockser
    Speed Leadership/Life Coaching

    Coaches include:
    Nancy Cremins ’03
    Leadership and Executive Coach, Crisilid

    Lisa Dorsey
    Co-Founder and President, Eloquentia Consulting

    Susan Letterman White
    Managing Partner, Letterman White Consulting
    (Virtual Coaching Session)

    Tracey Lukes
    Vice President, Hollister Institute

    Kim Meninger
    Executive Coach and Consultant

    Betsy Munnell 
    Business Development and Career Coaching for Lawyers
    (Virtual Coaching Session)

    Cynthia Reed ’80
    Executive Coach and Peer Advisor, Lee Hecht Harrison’s International Center for Executive Options (ICEO)

    Arivee Vargas
    Women’s Life and High Performance™️ Coach; Host, Humble Rising LLC

    4:00 - 5:00 PMNetworking Reception

     

    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

    Amy Carlin is a Boston-based Director on Major, Lindsey & Africa's In-House Counsel Recruiting team who works with legal departments to build better legal teams. Amy’s nearly two decades of experience as an employment lawyer and litigator makes her an effective and trusted partner to clients looking to add best-fit legal talent. Working across a variety of industries, she understands the importance of taking the time to understand the client’s operations and culture to identify a successful match in skills and personality.

    Amy lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and her two middle-school aged daughters. She has a deep love of music, and whenever there is an opportunity to dance, she will take it (at times to the embarrassment of her daughters)! Early career days spent in the restaurant industry infused her with a passion for food and restaurants, and she loves the dining out experience. She also enjoys cooking, playing tennis and listening to podcasts while on a good walk. A few of her favorite podcasts are Brene Brown’s “Unlocking Us,” Layla Saad’s “Good Ancestor Podcast,” “Broken Record with Rick Rubin” and the New Yorker Fiction podcast.

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

    Lili Palacios-Baldwin began her career at Robinson & Cole LLP where she practiced in the areas of land use, real estate, and labor and employment law, following co-ops with the Massachusetts Land Court, Equal Rights Advocates and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Lil later served as a senior trial attorney at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where she practiced for almost ten years. While with the EEOC, she litigated individual and class cases within the federal courts, conducted training and public presentations, and worked with federal investigators on both enforcement and litigation matters throughout New England, New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  Upon leaving the EEOC, Lili continued her law practice with the firm of Hirsch Roberts Weinstein, a Boston boutique labor, employment and litigation firm.

    Lili is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Northeastern University School of Law.  She is active in a number of community and professional associations and is currently co-chair of the Boston Bar Association’s College and University Section.


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

    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

  • 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.

    Panelists:
    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 Hoag

    Moderator:
    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.

    Panelists:
    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, Facebook
    Moderator:

    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