January 13, 2010

Law school hosts ‘Women in Leadership Workshop’

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University School of Law is hosting a workshop later this week that focuses on preparing female law students to be leaders within the legal profession.

The inaugural “Women in Leadership Workshop” is Thursday and Friday, Jan. 14-15, in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Thirty-four students, including one male student, will participate. The workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

The program is unique. Cindy Galway Buys, an associate professor of law and director of international law programs, is aware of only one other law school in the nation with a program that focuses on training women to become leaders in the profession.

Buys said she and Professor Alice M. Noble-Allgire identified a need for the program due to the low percentage of women in leadership roles within the legal profession despite an increasing number of women attending law schools over the past few decades. Only about 15 percent of women in the legal profession have leadership roles, such as judges, or law firm managing partners, she said.

At SIU’s law school, roughly 37 percent, or 134 of the school’s 363 students, are women.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the workshop at the SIU School of Law. For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact Professor Alice Noble-Allgire or Assistant Professor Cindy Buys at 618/536-7711.

Workshop topics will include gender and communication, negotiation, interviewing, networking, gender issues in the workplace, developing a personal-professional brand, and balancing career and family. The workshop features law school faculty, alumni, and local attorneys participating in lectures, small group discussions, group exercises, and panel discussions.

Paula Hudson Holderman, the chief development officer for the Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn, LLP, will present the keynote address, “Authentic Self-Promotion for Women Lawyers.” The keynote address is at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 15, at 17th Bar and Grill Annex in Murphysboro. Holderman is also on the board of governors of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Diane Goffinet, an attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Services and president of the Jackson County Bar Association, is the lunch speaker at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14, at the law school.

Buys is excited with the response from students and local attorneys. About 10 or 12 students who attend the workshop will be selected to participate in an ongoing program on Women in Leadership. Those students will have the opportunity to job shadow local attorneys and observe court proceedings during the spring 2010 semester, which starts Jan. 19. Those students will also engage in additional readings about women in the legal profession, and make oral presentations later in the semester, Buys said.

There is a waiting list for another workshop, said Buys, who anticipates the workshop will become an annual event. A long-term goal is to create additional courses in the law school’s curriculum that focus on women leaders in the profession and gender and the law, she said.