Empowerment Conference 2016: Great Expectations!

  • April 08, 2016
  • 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP 511 Union Street, Suite 2700, Nashville, TN 37219

*Lunch included in registration
*See below for hotel information

For questions please email karol.lahrman@tlaw.org

TLAW Empowerment Conference 2016 CLE Materials.PDF

TLAW Empowerment Conference 2016:

Great Expectations!

TLAW’s 2016 Empowerment Conference will provide a full day of networking, continuing legal education and career development for attorneys of all ages and practice levels from across Tennessee.  Geared towards women attorneys, the Conference will provide attendees education presented by members of the legislature, judiciary, and other governmental representatives on how to prepare oneself for an elected or appointed position; a panel of attorneys in general counsel positions providing the perspective of the “in house” attorney and advice for “outside counsel” working with corporate counsel; a panel of experienced attorneys presenting on leadership in various contexts; and more.  After early morning networking over coffee, the conference will begin with a presentation by morning keynote speaker Gwen K. Young, Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, speaking on the Women in Public Service Project.  It will also feature Chief Justice Sharon Lee of the Tennessee Supreme Court as the luncheon keynote speaker. Approved for 5.0 hours CLE (2.5 Dual).


Event will kick off with a Cocktail Reception, Thursday, April 7th 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Nashville City Club -  open to all conference registrants. (RSVP Required) 



8:00 AM-9:00 AM - Networking Coffee 

9:00 AM-10:00 AM - Morning Keynote -Women in Leadership and Public Service - 

10:15 AM-11:45 AM- Preparing Oneself for Elected and Appointed Position

12:00 PM-1:00 PM - Lunch (included) with Keynote Speaker: Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee

1:15 PM-2:15 PM -  General Counsel Panel: Leading from the Top of the Corporate Ladder. 

2:30 PM-3:30 PM  - Pathways to Leadership: Law Firms, Bar Organization and Community Organizations

3:30 PM-4:00 PM - Bringing it Full Circle

Detailed Schedule:

Session 1: Morning Keynote—Women in Leadership and Public Service  (1.0 General CLE)

Gwen K. Young - Director of the Wilson Center's Women in Public Service Project

Gwen K. Young is an attorney and international development professional with over 20 years of experience in international public service.  An alumna of Smith College, Harvard, and the University of California-Davis Martin Luther King Jr. School of Law, Ms. Young has pursued a career in humanitarian relief, international development, and human rights.  As a public policy professional, Ms. Young has advocated for and published on the role girls and women play in political, social, and economic development.  She has trained women in advocacy and management skills, as well as network building.  Ms. Young has also worked “on the ground” with private sector and public service actors on issues of women’s entrepreneurship including providing women and girls tools to improve access to financing.

Ms. Young will speak to the importance of increasing participation in leadership roles for women and challenge the audience to play a role in catalyzing progress towards equal participation in public service.  She will address the gender gap in public service and how attorneys are uniquely situated to step in and start filling that gap.

Session 2: Preparing Oneself for Elected and Appointed Positions (1.5 Dual CLE)

Moderator: Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Hon. Holly Kirby

Participants: Attorney Debi Taylor Tate - Tennessee AOC Director; Attorney Raumesh Akbari - Representative for Tennessee's 91st district; Megan Barry - Mayor of Nashville; Hon. Carol McCoy - Davidson County Chancellor.

This panel will discuss the how participants can take on Ms. Young's call to action to improve the percentage of women in public service.  Panel participants will discuss how attorneys can prepare themselves for public service including the civic and ethical obligations that arise - specifically, the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern attorneys in the public sector and in the judiciary, which all attorneys who undertake to enter the public sector should understand.  Furthermore, these women will discuss steps to be taken to prepare oneself for the successful pursuit of elected and appointed positions, the practical challenges that come with entering into public service, and how these can be overcome.  These challenges include maintaining work/life balance, the need to rely on support networks, and the importance of professional integrity.

Luncheon Keynote:  (.5 General CLE)

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Hon. Sharon G. Lee

Chief Justice Lee will discuss the leaky pipeline of women's leadership.  Although women make up half of law students, they drop out of the profession in alarming rates and rarely achieve leadership positions. Justice Lee will discuss how to improve this trend and what role each person can play towards reaching gender equality in both the public and private sectors.

Session 3: General Counsel Panel: Leading from the Top of the Corporate Ladder  (1.0 Dual CLE)

Moderator: Anne C. Martin - partner at Bone, McAllester, Norton PLLC

Participants: Sharon Ryan - General Counsel of International Paper; Audrey Anderson - General Counsel of Vanderbilt University; Cynthia Gibson - General Counsel of Scripps Interactive Network; Mary Flipse - Healthways 

A panel of distinguished female general counsel in for-profit and not-for-profit institutions will share their path to the C-suite, their experiences with the “glass ceiling” in current corporate America, pet peeves, favorite practices of outside counsel, and the special ethical obligations that come with this unique position.  These obligations include complying with the Rules of Professional Conduct - especially when dealing with conflicts of interest, the unlicensed practice of law, discovery, and complying with multiple layers of federal and state law and regulations.

Session 4: Pathways to Leadership: Law Firms, Bar Organizations and Community Service (1.0 General CLE)

Moderator: Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Hon. Cornelia Clark

Participants: Gail Ashworth - founding member of Wiseman Ashworth Law Group PLC, Lisa Cole - president/managing shareholder of Lewis Thomason and the managing partner of the firm’s Nashville office, DarKenya Waller - managing attorney of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

These highly successful women will discuss the importance of effective leadership in attorneys' careers.  They will place in context both the satisfaction and the challenges involved in taking on leadership roles in law firms, bar organizations, and community organizations.  Collectively, these speakers have many years of varied leadership experience, and they will share their paths to the top, illustrate how they create and maintain a space for effective participation, and discuss how women can leverage their networks to better reach their goals.

Closing Presentation:  Bringing it Full Circle  (30 minutes).


Lunch included with registration


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