2017 Conference

Ms. JD Presents its Ninth Annual Conference on Women in the Law:


Promoting Retention, Opportunity, Partnership, Excellence, and Leadership


Thursday, March 2, 2017 at Jenner & Block 

Ms. JD is proud to continue honoring exceptional women and men making contributions to the advancement of women in the legal profession through Ms. JD Honors! The Ms. JD Honors Reception will be held at Jenner & Block's Chicago office from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on March 2, 2017.  The Ms. JD Honors awards will celebrate those who demonstrate passion for their careers and share that passion with other men and women. The full list of awards can be found HERE. Join Ms. JD and help us celebrate these exceptional men and women by purchasing your tickets HERE

Our Ms. JD Honors Reception keynote speaker will be Laurie Robinson Haden, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of CBS Corporation! Prior to joining CBS in 2002, Mrs. Robinson Haden worked at two New York City law firms, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Epstein, Becker and Green, P.C., where she represented management in labor and employment matters. Mrs. Robinson Haden is the author of several legal-related publications; has contributed to a quarterly column on diversity in Inside Counsel magazine and contributes to the CBS Corporation Diversity Blog. In addition to her role at CBS Corporation, Mrs. Robinson Haden is the founder and CEO of Corporate Counsel Women of Color, a non-profit professional organization, which she created in 2004 to advance women of color attorneys and to foster diversity in the legal profession. In this role, she provides strategic leadership within the areas of branding, publishing, business development, web development and interactive, marketing, sponsorships, and fundraising. Read more about Mrs. Robinson Haden HERE.


Friday, March 3, 2017 at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law 

A culmination of Ms. JD’s national programming, its annual conference brings aspiring and early career women lawyers from legal markets around the country together for a summit on the progress and remaining challenges for women in the profession.  An overview of the conference agenda is available below.

Tickets are now on sale! Get your tickets HERE before they sell out!

***Ms. JD is recommending the OMNI CHICAGO HOTEL for conference guests. Book your rooms at the OMNI HERE! Please book by 2/17/17***

EpsteinSchwartz will be offering one-on-one resume review and interview prep sessions throughout the day for Ms. JD PROPEL attendees! These slots are first come first served. When you register for the conference, you'll receive a link to sign up.

**CLE Application Pending - 4.0 Hours**


P.R.O.P.E.L. Conference Agenda 

8:00- 8:55 am: Breakfast and Welcoming Remarks

9:00- 10:15 am: The Practice Popularity Contest: How to make yourself known — and respected — in your professional community (and have fun doing it)!

This panel will focus on ways to expand your network, establish your brand, and build relationships in the process. Experts discuss ways to overcome your fears at events and engage in meaningful dialogue with others.  

  • Moderator: Erin Callahan, Ms. JD Board Member & Claims Department, Berkley Oil and Gas Insurance Company
  • Gilda L. Spencer, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel in Dispute Resolution Services for Allstate Insurance Company

  • Demetra Liggins, Partner, Thompson & Knight LLP & Co-Founder of Corporate Homie

  • Paola Cecchi Dimeglio, Chair, Executive Leadership Research Initiative for Women and Minorities Attorneys (ELRIWMA), Harvard Law School, Program on the Legal Profession

  • Dana M. Hrelic, Chair-Elect of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section

  • Rene DeVera, Associate, Latham & Watkins LLP

To learn more about our speakers, click HERE!

10:15- 10:20 am: Ms. JD Inspiration Break - First Generation Law Students

10:30- 11:45 am: Like No Other: Taking the Next Steps in Championing Intersectionality in the Legal Profession

As a next step in Ms. JD's ongoing initiative of bringing intersectionality to the forefront of conversations regarding women in law, this session will highlight the critical importance of intersectional voices in the legal profession. Through a TED Talk-style inspired session, we will also discuss challenges that may be faced by women in law who identify or are perceived as intersectional, how allies can be of practical and lasting support to their colleagues who identify as intersectional, and challenges that allies may face. This session is intended to provide a positive space for honest, thoughtful discussion as well as an empowering opportunity for attendees to develop concrete, innovative steps toward improving the legal profession for all women in law. 

  • Moderator: Juliana Siconolfi, Ms. JD Board Member & Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School
  • Collette Alison Brown, Associate, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
  • Sandra Yamate, Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

To learn more about our speakers, click HERE!

11:45- 11:50 am: Ms. JD Inspiration Break - NWLSO Focused

12:00- 1:20 pm: Lunch and Keynote Speakers - She Leads: In Conversation with Amazon's Kelly Jo MacArthur, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, and Lia Moeser, Corporate Counsel

Ms. JD is thrilled to welcome two leading women from Amazon's corporate counsel to the stage for another one of our "Inside the Actor's Studio"-style keynote conversations.  Kelly Jo MacArthur and Lia Moeser will talk about their paths to becoming in-house counsel, their work to advance women in the profession, and what it's like to work at Amazon, a company that's constantly on the cutting edge of innovation.

Kelly Jo MacArthur is VP & Associate General Counsel at Amazon. In her current role she wears two hats – she leads legal efforts for Amazon’s physical retail initiatives (Amazon Books and Amazon Go), and also heads real estate strategy and site selection for those initiatives. She is also the Executive Sponsor of Amazon Legal’s Diversity and Inclusiveness initiatives. Prior to this role, she served as VP IP Acquisitions and Investments for Amazon. She has previously served as VP and Deputy General Counsel of Nintendo of America; General Counsel of Linden Lab (Second Life virtual world); SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and Chief of Staff of RealNetworks, Inc., managing also Corporate Development, Human Resources, Corporate Communications, and Government Affairs; General Counsel of MusicNet (the first legal Internet music business and a joint venture between RealNetworks, AOL and three major record labels); General Counsel and head of Legal and Business Affairs for The Tribune Company subsidiary Compton’s NewMedia, and attorney at Sidley Austin in Chicago. Ms. MacArthur is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Illinois. She has taught at the University of Washington Law School, Columbia College, and University of Illinois- Springfield. She was a founding board member of the Digital Media Association (DiMA), and served on the boards of the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA), the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), the RealNetworks Foundation, and other non-profit and for profit boards. She has three children.

Lia E. Moeser is Corporate Counsel at Amazon.  In this role, she advises Amazon’s retail business on regulatory, transactional, and intellectual property matters.  Previously, Ms. Moeser was an attorney at Allstate Insurance Company, where she served as counsel to Allstate’s investment subsidiaries.  She advised on a variety of institutional investments including, private equity, joint ventures, and direct investments and counseled Allstate on mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions.  In addition, Ms. Moeser served as legal counsel for The Allstate Foundation.  Prior to joining Allstate, she was an associate at Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Ms. Moeser graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Economics and received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin.  Prior to attending law school Ms. Moeser played tennis professionally on the Women’s Tennis Association tour. 

1:20- 1:25 pm: Ms. JD Inspiration Break - PROPEL your Colleagues: Diversity Allies

1:35- 2:50 pm: Breakout Sessions

          Session A: A Roadmap for Running for Office

There are still glass ceilings to break in politics. Have you considered becoming an elected official? This panel explores exciting ways that you can get involved in politics by running for office. 

  • Moderator: Chibundu Nnake, Ms. JD Board Member & Education Advocate 
  • Patrick Croke, Associate, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Jennifer Ballard Croft, Chief of Staff & Chief Diversity Officer, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx 
  • Anne Szkatulski, Founder of Rodham Consulting
  • Abin Kuriakose, Senior Advisor, Raja Krishnamoorthi for Congress
  • Deanne Mazzochi, College of DuPage Board of Trustees, Chairman 

To learn more about our speakers, click HERE!

          Session B: Three Women; One Successful Boutique Law Firm: Find out how they got there and how you can, too. 

Did you ever think that Twitter would be an inspiration to start a new law firm? These three women did. Their story has gone viral and has been featured in Elle Magazine. Meet the three black women who started their own law firm from Twitter. This panel will discuss women- and minority-owned law firms, the challenges of hanging your own shingle and navigating business development as a young lawyer. 

  • Moderator: Shannon McNeal, Ms. JD Board Member
  • Keli L. Knight, Founding Partner, KMR Law Group
  • Yondi K. Morris-Andrews, Founding Partner, KMR Law Group
  • Jessica B. Reddick, Founding Partner, KMR Law Group
  • Jessica A. Youngblood, Of Counsel, KMR Law Group

To learn more about our speakers, click HERE!

3:00- 4:15 pm: Breakout Sessions

          Session C: Buckle Your Seatbelt! Advice on Building a Career in International Law

Many law students enter law school thinking they want to be an international lawyer. But what, exactly, does this mean? This session will explore different types of public and private international practice and the skills you can develop to make yourself marketable to practitioners of international law and to be successful in the field. Along the way, practitioners will share what drew them to international practice and some of their favorite experiences practicing in the international sphere.

  • Moderator: Elizabeth Hague, Vice President, Ms. JD & Associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
  • Lynn Watkins-Asiyanbi, Associate General Counsel, JBT Corporation
  • Captain Vivian Leavens, Captain, United States Army JAG
  • Tara Murray, Esq., Former Deputy Legal Director, Reprieve UK
  • Melanie Harmon, Associate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

To learn more about our speakers, click HERE!

          Session D: PROPEL Justice: Police Power and the Use of Force in the United States 

As lawyers and law students, we understand how laws work but how often do we think about our definition of "justice", particularly as it pertains to significant issues of our lifetime? One such matter that is receiving increased attention of late is that of police power, specifically with regard to use of force. Impassioned discourse is occurring throughout the United States about it, representing a variety of viewpoints. Through this panel, we will hear about the roles of practitioners, academics, and the community with regard to these important issues, and learn about opportunities for involvement for law students and lawyers."

  • Co-Moderator: Melissa Gardner, Ms. JD Board Member & Associate, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein
  • Co-Moderator: Jane Rosales, Ms. JD Board Member, Law Student, New York Law School
  • Zoe Salzman, Partner, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (counsel for Tamir Rice re police force)
  • Blake Sercye, Associate, Jenner & Block
  • Jeffrey Urdangen, Director, Center for Criminal Defense at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

To learn more about our speakers, click HERE!

4:25- 4:30 pm: Ms. JD Inspiration Break - GEF Focused

4:30- 5:30 pm: Ms. JD Closing Reception 


Thank You to Our Conference Sponsors!


Platinum Sponsors: 

Gold Sponsors: 





Silver Sponsors:



Bronze Sponsors: 




Community Co-Sponsors:


Join Us

Contribute to our blog and join the discussion.



Enter your email address to receive regular updates, news, and events.

Connect with us

Follow or subscribe