Allegheny County Bar Association Institute for Gender Equality to open October 28, 2009.

Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell to be a featured speaker at luncheon

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – October 19, 2009. The officers of the Allegheny County Bar Association today announced that its Institute for Gender Equality, the first of its kind in the legal profession, will open on October 28, 2009, with a kickoff luncheon at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Classes will begin on November 5. The kickoff luncheon will feature presentations by the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; and Chicago attorney Laurel Bellows, a nationally recognized women’s rights advocate.

The Allegheny County Bar Association Institute for Gender Equality was founded as a tool to aid in the advancement of women in leadership positions in the Allegheny County legal community, the elimination of the gender wage gap, and the expansion of the avenues through which female attorneys can build successful careers. The Institute will offer collaborative and goal-oriented programs for decision-makers, practitioners, and law school students. Classes will be held at the bar association’s headquarters and other locations in downtown Pittsburgh.

“We are proud to officially open the Allegheny County Bar Association Institute for Gender Equality, because the Institute will be such a significant step in our ongoing efforts to address the issue of gender bias in the legal profession,” said Kimberly A. Brown, president of the Allegheny County Bar Association. “Our bar association has always been a national leader in dealing with issues affecting our profession. We all understand the critical importance of eliminating gender bias, because too many female attorneys are leaving the profession. The time for just talking about doing something is over. It is now time to aggressively attack the issue.”

According to Linda Hernandez, Gender Equality Coordinator for the Allegheny County Bar Association, “The formation of the Institute was one of the recommendations by the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Gender Equality Task Force, which was formed after a 2005 membership survey showed little or no improvement in gender equality when compared to a survey completed in 1990. We are going to bring in nationally known speakers from diverse disciplines to provide the tools for practitioners and decision-makers to begin the discussions that will lead to gender equality. The Institute will give us a way to measure progress as we continue to follow participants through the classes and through their careers. Education is the key.”

That education begins with the kickoff luncheon according to Jonnie Joseph, chair of the Institute for Gender Equality Ad Hoc Committee. “Judge Rendell and Laurel Bellows are amazing women who through their mentoring and accomplishments have raised the bar for what women can aspire to and achieve in our profession,” said Joseph.

The Institute’s first class to be held on November 5, 2009 is Conscious Decision Making and How it Affects the Bottom Line for the decision-makers in law firms, law departments and other legal organizations. Another class, Values-Based Personal Strategic Planning for Practitioners, will be held on November 10.

For more information on the Allegheny County Bar Association Institute for Gender Equality, visit the association’s website at

The media is invited to attend this event. Please let Tom Loftus at 412-402-6620 know if you plan to attend. The lunch begins at 11:50 a.m. The guest speakers will address the audience beginning at 12:10 p.m.

Chartered in 1870 and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, The Allegheny County Bar Association is a professional organization with more than 6,500 member attorneys, judges, magisterial district judges, legal administrators, and paralegals. The association’s website is

Contacts: Kimberly Brown
President, Allegheny County Bar Association
  Linda Hernandez
Gender Equality Coordinator
  Tom Loftus
Director of Marketing and Media Relations
Allegheny County Bar Association