• Connection Point Blog

  • Gender Equity: The Price is Right, the Time is Right

    at 8/21/2014 4:52:38 PM

    By Laura Venn 

    On August 5, the Patricia Gillette and Koriambanya (Kori) Carew discussed the obstacles faced by not just women attorneys in private practice but their male counterparts, and the best ways to overcome those obstacles. The discussion was part of the Joint Commission’s CLE, “Dollars and Sense: The Business Case for Gender Equity and Work/Life Balance in Law Firms.” According to Gillette, the current structure of law firms is “archaic” as it is not conducive to the work/life balance goals of Generation Y women and men and because it institutionalizes gender discrimination. Indeed, while Missouri women attorneys are fairing slightly better than women attorneys nationally — 20 percent of equity partners in Missouri are women compared to only 16 percent nationally — there is still much progress to be made. As Carew noted, the good news is that “we have a common issue” with the rest of the country, and therefore, “we can find common solutions.”

    PREVIEW: Dollars and Sense: The Business Case for Gender Equity and Work-Life Balance

    at 8/5/2014 9:18:17 AM

    By Laura Venn

    We hope many of you join us this afternoon to listen to our special guest Patricia Gillette of Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe and founder of the Opt-In Project discuss important issues facing not only women, but all attorneys working in private practice. The Joint Commission’s CLE event, “Dollars and Sense: The business case for gender equity and work/life balance in law firms,” will explore many of these “push factors” and how they can be overcome by building trust within firms and utilizing different metrics to incent change.

    To Advance Women in Law, We Need the Help of Men

    at 6/30/2014 8:37:36 AM

    By Laura Venn

    A recent Atlantic article “Why So Many Men Don’t Stand Up for Their Female Colleagues” explores the different types of sexism still prevalent in corporate culture and explains why even the most feminist men may be frightened into silence. Recent psychological research suggests that speaking up for a cause inconsistent with an individual’s self-interest may result in backlash ...

    Equal Pay Anniversary: Strategies to Close the Gap

    at 6/11/2014 10:40:39 AM

    By Laura Venn

    In our last post, we offered some history about the Equal Pay Act and described the current state of the gender pay gap in the United States, in Missouri, and among women attorneys. Here are some resources the ABA Section of Litigation released last year during the law’s historic 50th Anniversary ...

    The Equal Pay Act: The Good, the Bad and Where We Go Next

    at 6/10/2014 1:49:57 PM

    ep_lifetime_disadvantageBy Laura Venn

    This week marks the 51st anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s signing the Equal Pay Act into law. The Equal Pay Act was the first of a series of federal laws enacted to combat the gender wage gap, followed a year later by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, and the Lilly Ledbetter Act, much later, in 2009. In the 1960s, one-third of American women participated in the labor force; by 2012, the number had increased to nearly 60 percent of all women and continues to climb. In fact, as of 2013, women comprised 46 percent of the entire American labor force. Indeed, as the number of women workers increased, the pay gap narrowed ...

    Joint Commission Welcomes Summer Intern Laura Venn

    at 6/6/2014 8:52:36 AM

    Laura Venn

    The Joint Commission on Women in the Profession is pleased to welcome its first summer intern Laura Venn. Venn is a rising 2L at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. She is a research assistant to Professor Hillary Sale, who, through her work with DirectWomen, has advocated for more women attorneys to gain access to the boards of publicly traded companies. Sale led one of the panels at the Joint Commission’s DirectWomen event earlier this year ...

    How One Law Firm Maintains Gender Balance

    at 6/5/2014 4:23:21 PM

    By Avivah Wittenberg-Cox

    No area of the business world is more illogically gender imbalanced than law firms. Every year, top law firms recruit 60% female and 40% male law graduates into their practices. Within two years, their female majorities begin to leave. The percentage of female equity partners is now 17% in the top 100 US law firms. The strangest part is that women lawyers aren’t leaving the profession ... 

    Justice Matters: Former Governor Remembered for Breaking Gender Barrier in Nonpartisan Judicial Appointments

    at 6/4/2014 9:23:13 AM

    By Chief Justice Mary R. Russell

    Last month, Missouri lost former Governor Joseph Teasdale. As I read the news coverage of “Walkin’ Joe’s” legacy, it occurred to me something was missing from those articles: In 1978, Teasdale became the first governor to appoint a woman to the bench under the nonpartisan court plan. Women previously had served as judges in other parts of the state, by virtue of an election or the occasional appointment to a midterm vacancy, but no governor ever had selected a woman to serve on one of the courts governed by the Missouri Plan...

    Why Non-traditional Law Students (and Moms) Bring So Much to the Table

    at 5/28/2014 11:51:34 AM

    By Dawn BrooksDawn Brooks

    I’m a full-time second-year law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. But that’s not all I am. I’m 34. I’m married with three kids. And I own my consulting and training firm. In short, I’m a busy woman.

    My path to law school was not a straight line. That’s because I have never allowed others to guide my way...

    Have You Flexed Your ‘Risk Muscles’ Lately?

    at 5/14/2014 9:03:40 AM

    By Allison Spence 

    Risk-taking is critical to successful leadership. That was the central message of a recent webinar featuring women practitioners from around the country.

    The May 8 session, “Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law,” was sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women In the Profession, the ABA Center For Professional Development, and the ABA Young Lawyers Division... 

    Perspectives of a Diversity Director

    at 5/7/2014 9:15:22 AM

    By Marlon LutfiyyaMarlon Lutfiyya

    What can law firm diversity directors do to advance women attorneys at their firms? It’s a question those of us in the position ask ourselves constantly. To some extent, we can help shape the specific law firm environment that affects their prospects for success. But the challenges can seem daunting...

    Not So Sweet 16

    at 5/1/2014 11:52:43 AM

    By By Patricia K. Gillette, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
    Published in Employment Law 360, March 11, 2011

    Sweet 16 and never been kissed. That was the mantra for teenage girls in the 1950s and early 1960s. Sixteen was the beginning of everything — and if you had never been kissed, you soon would be, or so we all thought. It was the age you waited for because after that, everything was possible. And to celebrate reaching this auspicious number, you wore pink, you had a party with your friends, and you dreamed of the future...

    Wisdom from the 2014 Women’s Justice Award Winners

    at 4/30/2014 11:29:11 AM

    By Allison SpenceWJA cover 2014

    Women attorneys from all four corners of the state gathered in St. Louis on April 24 for the annual Women’s Justice Awards, hosted by Missouri Lawyers Media. The event, now in its 16th year, honored 43 professionals from across Missouri — it was the largest class ever...

    Reduced Associate Ranks: A Potential Upside to a Downturn

    at 4/23/2014 9:58:05 AM

    By Elizabeth HattingElizabeth Hatting

     In March 2013, Forbes released the results of a 2012 survey regarding the “unhappiest jobs in America.” According to the survey, the unhappiest job in America at the end of 2012 was that of an associate attorney... 

    What I Learned from Legal Pioneer Frankie Muse Freeman, Esquire

    at 4/16/2014 9:36:09 AM

    What I Learned from Legal Pioneer Frankie Muse Freeman, Esquire   By  Nicole Colbert-Botchway Recently I paid a visit to my friend, attorney Frankie Muse Freeman, at her beautiful home in the Central West End of St. Louis, Missouri. For the first time, something new caught my eye - a sheaf of sheet music p

    Top three takeaways from DirectWomen’s St. Louis event

    at 4/10/2014 2:49:49 PM

    By Allison Spence

    The Missouri Joint Commission on Women in the Profession’s DirectWomen events in St. Louis has fortuitous timing this week. They coincided with Equal Pay Day, a day that symbolizes how long a woman must work into the new year before her previous year’s salary equals that of a man in the same position...

    Riding the M-curve of Motherhood and Legal Career

    at 4/3/2014 1:32:26 PM

    By Allison SpenceLaw Firm 101 - Riding the M-curve

    Many women attorneys would agree that navigating the landscape of a modern legal career provides the twists and turns of a roller coaster. But have they ever considered that a more apt analogy could be found in the golden arches of the McDonald’s logo?

    Playing the Career Game: To Master the Rules, Find Some Teammates

    at 3/30/2014 7:51:01 PM

    By Stephanie Grise Stephanie Grise

    If you don’t know me, let me share a little secret: I don’t like playing games. Reading rules, keeping score, losing — none of that appeals to me. If the rules are too long (read: more than a page), I just say no... 

    Join us April 7-8 in St. Louis for DirectWomen event

    at 3/28/2014 9:54:12 AM


    Please join the Missouri Joint Commission on Women in the Profession on April 7 and 8, 2014, in St. Louis for a unique program on pay equity and board diversity designed for general counsel, outside counsel and any attorneys in St. Louis. The Joint Commission will co-host the two days of programming with the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and DirectWomen, an organization that strives to place women attorneys on the boards of U.S. companies.

    Joint Commission hosts ‘Law Firm 101’ at SLU Law

    at 3/24/2014 10:06:42 AM
    SLU LawThe Missouri Bar’s Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, in cooperation with Saint Louis University School of Law’s Career Services Office, is hosting a panel discussion on “Law Firm 101” on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at Noon in Room 1122 of Scott Hall.


As chairs of the Missouri Supreme Court Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, we're delighted to welcome you to "The Connection Point." Our goal with this new page is to create a functional, friendly resource for women attorneys across Missouri. We want to keep you coming back for news, practice tips, and helpful information that connects you with other women practitioners and strengthens your own career.

Megan Phillips

Bill Bay