IGE offers next wave of CLE programs by Drew Hardman Nationally recognized consultant and bestselling author Deborah Epstein Henry will headline the next wave of ACBA Institute for Gender Equality programming, scheduled for May 24. With a pair of programs for practitioners and decision-makers, the latest additions to the IGE curriculum offer insightful and informative looks at the issues facing women attorneys, as well as two substantive CLE credits. The addition of CLE credits to IGE programming is one of several positive changes sparked by a series of discussions between members of the ACBA Gender Equality Committee and managing partners and other decision-makers from 27 of the top law firms in Pittsburgh. Held over the course of a year, the meetings were an opportunity to review local firm demographics, policies, and internal programs and gauge the level of familiarity the IGE holds amongst the top firms in Pittsburgh, according to Alysia Keating, ACBA Director of Diversity and Gender Equality. The meetings also presented a chance to determine what kind of programming appealed to some of the area's leading managing partners and decision-makers. "We learned from our interviews with firm managing partners and decision-makers that there was a desire for IGE programming to be offered for CLE credit where possible," Keating said. "We are responding to those requests in the hopes of reaching more attorneys with our practitioners programs that are designed to empower women attorneys by helping them develop or improve upon the skills they may need to succeed." Programs for managing partners and other decision-makers will also be offered for CLE credit where possible. The IGE launched this new initiative on March 22 with "Communications Skills for Women Attorneys," a practitioners series program focusing on the best practices and potential pitfalls women attorneys encounter when communicating with clients and colleagues. Attendees at the program earned two and a half hours of substantive credit. The IGE's first CLE program drew a record crowd of 62 attendees-nearly doubling past attendance numbers. As Co-Chair of the ACBA Gender Equality Committee, Judge Maureen P. Kelly hopes the addition of CLE credits to IGE programs will continue to boost attendance numbers and promote positive change in the legal community. "Lawyers in our community are interested in issues involving women in the profession," Kelly explained. "However, they are often pulled in so many different directions. "Given that we can now offer our programs with the benefit of CLE, we will attract more lawyers to our informative and insightful programs." Author of the American Bar Association's flagship book, Law & Reorder: Legal Industry Solutions for Restructure, Retention, Promotion, and Work/Life Balance, Deborah Epstein Henry is regarded as an expert on workplace restructuring and work/life balance, with special focus on retaining and promoting women. A former litigator, Henry is Founder and President of Flex-Time Lawyers LLC, a national consulting firm that specializes in advisory and speaking services. Henry's work has earned recognition from a number of national media sources, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Henry's first program on May 24, designed for managing partners and other decision-makers and titled "The Changing Legal Landscape: Opportunities & Challenges for Women," is slated to begin with registration and breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at The Duquesne Club. Attendees are required to pay a registration fee of $150. The program will explore structural changes in the legal profession and how they impact women's progression in law firms. "I look at the problems that are facing women and work-life balance as part of a bigger problem with the structural model of how law is practiced," Henry said. "It's directly applicable to managing partners and leaders in the legal professional because they are concerned with how their business model is functioning." Henry noted that issues facing women in the legal profession are sometimes regarded as ancillary to the core business model. "Instead the focus should be on the fact that law firms are really running an ineffective model when half of the talent pool is either underperforming or not performing at all because they have left the profession," Henry added. As part of her presentation, Henry will moderate a panel discussion between an impressive line-up of managing partners from Pittsburgh law firms. She said the panel discussion serves a dual purpose by bringing local issues to the forefront and giving area decision-makers the chance to take action. "I find that individuals are much more engaged and ready to make changes when they can be a part of the dialogue," Henry said. "It's a really great opportunity to not only present to the audience but allow our participants to self-evaluate to see what they are doing well and what they could be doing better." Aimed at practitioners, Henry's second program on May 24, titled "Blueprinting Women for Success," will focus on five key areas where women attorneys historically falter: networking, leadership, mentoring/ sponsorship, flexibility, and work/ life balance. "While women and men thrive equally in terms of academics, when it comes to the intangibles of success that determine who thrives and who withers, women have not done as well," Henry explained. Henry hopes to provide attendees with a thorough look at the value of each of these skills, as well as ways to hone them. "Blueprinting Women for Success" will begin with registration and lunch at 11:30 a.m. in the ACBA Conference Center Auditorium located on the ninth floor of the City-County Building. Attendees are required to pay a registration fee of $100. To register for the IGE's upcoming CLE programs, visit the ACBA website at www.acba.org, or contact CLE Coordinator Howard Booth at 412-402-6614 or hbooth@acba.org. The addition of CLE credits to Institute programming is not the only positive change Gender Equality Committee members hope to enact in 2012. Keating hopes to tailor some programming for small and mid-sized firms in the future. "The issues for those firms are different from the issues for larger firms that might have formal policies and procedures for work-life balance and other issues in place," Keating said. The Institute for Gender Equality also launched a new logo earlier this year, offering a new, exciting brand and the "IGE" acronym to complement the inaugural CLE programming. "As we took the IGE in this new direction, I thought it was important to rebrand," Keating noted. "Our graphic artist, Jessica Wysocki, created a fresh new look for the IGE that subtly reminds of us of our mission and what is involved in accomplishing it. The sphere is representative of the "inclusive" aspects of our mission(at its heart, gender equality is an issue of inclusion) and the gradations of color in the sphere remind us that accomplishing our mission will involve stages or steps; it won't happen all at once or overnight, but hopefully, we will continue to take steps in the right direction." n