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WILC News and Community

WILC supports and hosts a variety of women-focused events, as well as sponsors a number of organizations whose focus is advancing the status of women.

Program Helps Law Firms See Progress in Gender Diversity—But is it Enough?
Fisher Phillips is honored to be recognized as a U.S. firm that is implementing best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers and fostering environments committed to achieving that success.  

In the article, "Program Helps Law Firms See Progress in Gender Diversity—But is it Enough?", the ABA Journal reported on Working Mother Media’s Best Law Firms for Women initiative in which Fisher Phillips was ranked 5th in its grouping. 

“One of the things I’ve been struck by in my work on the initiative this year is the value law firms attach to being involved,” says Karen Kaplowitz, a former trial lawyer and special adviser to the Best Law Firms initiative. “They’ve told us how important it is to the law firms that they get on this list and that they stay on this list. It has real value to them in their diversity and inclusion efforts—including recruiting law students and laterals.”

The Best Law Firms For Female Attorneys
Fisher Phillips has been recognized for its strong dedication to the support and advancement of women by inclusion on both Working Mother magazine’s 2017 list of the 50 “Best Law Firms for Women” and Law360’s “Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys,” which both recognize U.S. firms implementing best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers and fostering environments committed to achieving that success.  

Law360 grouped firms based on U.S. attorney headcount in order to evaluate them with similar-sized peers. They then excluded any firm that had below-average female representation at even a single level of the firm, and ranked the rest based on their percentage of female attorneys both at the nonpartner and partner level.

Fisher Phillips ranked 5th in its grouping, with an aggregate workforce that is over 40 percent female.

Wendy McGuire Coats Named to Daily Journal’s 2017 Top Women Lawyers List – May 24, 2017
Wendy McGuire Coats, Partner and Appellate Counsel in the San Francisco office, has been named to the Daily Journal’s 2017 list of Top Women Lawyers in California. The list recognizes leading female attorneys who possess strong litigation and leadership skills, have been influential in the community and have made an impact on the legal field. 

Coats leads the firm’s California Appellate Practice. She is a certified specialist in Appellate Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction held by fewer than 400 California attorneys. Coats represents clients in all aspects of appellate litigation in state and federal appellate courts, and she advises trial counsel in appellate strategy before, during, and after trial.

A member of California Women Lawyers and the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, Coats is a regular contributor to the council’s publication, Appellate Issues. She is also a moot court coach for Pepperdine University School of Law. Coats was named a “Rising Star” from 2012 to 2015 and a “Super Lawyer” in 2016 by Northern California Super Lawyers. 

Suzanne Bogdan Named 2017 Influential Business Woman by South Florida Business Journal – May 10, 2017
Suzanne Bogdan, regional managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale office was named an Influential Business Woman for 2017 by the South Florida Business Journal.   This honor, bestowed upon only 25 women each year, is based on individual’s impact on her profession and the community.

This year, the event was subtitled “Inspiring.  Innovative.  Influential.”  A team of judges evaluated the many nominations received and selected 25 women that represented the best in business. Bogdan, as chair of Fisher Phillips Education Group nationally, stood out among the other nominees, as did her commitment to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. 

She is, in fact, the Chair-Elect Designate for the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.   She served nine years as general counsel and will assume the role of Chair in January of 2019    Bogdan was also the 2014 recipient of the Chair’s Award from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, in recognition and appreciation of her outstanding leadership and dedicated volunteerism for many years with the Chamber. 

As chair of the firm’s Education Practice Group, Bogdan represents hundreds of private educational institutions nationwide in employee, student and board issues. Bogdan is a frequent presenter to both educational and corporate associations on all aspects of employment law and risk management in the employment context and also works with many accrediting agencies and school associations.

Suzanne Bogdan was recognized as an Influential Business Woman at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency on May 12, 2017. 

An Evening of Pampering at Capelli Salon – April 13, 2017
The Memphis office and attorney Courtney Leyes hosted its first WILC evening of pampering on Thursday, April 13 at local, female owned business Capelli Salon.  The event included a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception catered by 2 local, female owned businesses (Another Roadside Attraction and Muddy’s Cupcakes) combined with blow-outs and mini-manicures for each attendee. The group of dynamic female clients and contacts enjoyed the lovely evening of complimentary salon services, but the most valuable was the networking component.  Many new relationships were made and the energy throughout the night was enthusiastic and contagious.  We look forward to making this an annual event.

Ascent 2017 Conference - May 3-4, 2017 –Atlanta, GA
Fisher Phillips and WILC were a Diamond Sponsor of the Ascent 2017 Conference -Women Leaders: Lawyers Learning the Business of Business.  The firm hosted the labor and employment portion of this initiative presented by Chief Legal Executive.  The Ascent Conference is the first program of its kind in the Southeast, offering seven practice group tracks, panel discussions with experts and a variety of topical breakout sessions highly focused on business acumen: learning the business of business. 

The conference kicked off with an opening panel entitled “Driving Forces Behind Gender Equality and Pay Equity Converge in 2017.  Cheryl Behymer, Partner, Columbia, was one of the distinguished panelists.  Christine Howard, Partner, Tampa, moderated a panel on Class and Collective Actions, and Arbitration.  Terri Stewart, Partner, Atlanta, moderated a panel of experts including Philip Miscimarra, Acting Chairman, National Labor Relations Board and Jenny Yang, Commissioner, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  On Day 2, Danielle Moore, Partner, San Diego office, moderated a panel on Significant Legal and Regulatory Developments and What Lies Ahead.  

Fisher Phillips also hosted a dinner on the first night at St. Cecile’s for clients and colleagues.  This was an excellent opportunity for everyone to relax, enjoy outstanding food and drink, and share their thoughts on the day’s events.  Attending the conference from Fisher Phillips in addition to the speakers were Wendy Coats, Partner, San Francisco, Jessica Cook, Partner, Atlanta, Danielle Urban, Partner, Denver, Laurel Cornell, Partner, Louisville, Lori Halber-Armstrong, Partner, Philadelphia, Michelle Anderson, Partner, New Orleans, Jennifer Sandberg, Partner, Atlanta, Christine Baran, Partner, Irvine, Lori Maring, Partner, Atlanta, Stacey McReynolds, Business Development Manager, Atlanta and Jackie Greenbaum, Business Development Manager, Southern California.

Fisher Phillips and WILC are looking forward to participating in future events sponsored by Chief Legal Executive.

Georgia Association of Black Women Attorney’s on Gender Equity in the Workplace - March 31, 2017
Natasha Banks and Stacey McReynolds hosted a luncheon in the Atlanta office with the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorney’s on Gender Equity in the Workplace. The panelists included our own Mairen Kelly, Keisha Hudson, Chair and Lead Instructor of Paralegal Studies at Atlanta Technical College, and Professor Greg Lewis, PhD, Georgia State University, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. The moderator was Adwoa Ghartey-Tagoe Seymour of Cox Enterprises, Inc. The discussion focused on the legal and the dynamic issues related to gender equity at places of employment, what “gender equity” means in the current climate, the protections available to the employer and the employee, the history and current trends of gender equity, and whether gender equity is only about equal pay and promotion. Over 30 individuals attended including the current president of GABWA, Ms. Tori Silas, and the incoming president for the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (“GAWL”), Ms. Michelle West. GABWA offered CLE credit for this event as well. 

Executive Next Practices & Lean In - December 2, 2016
Danielle Moore was a featured panelist at the ENP & Lean In – Women’s Leadership Summit, in Irvine, California.  The topic was How Women Are Inspiring, Influencing & Innovating to Create Exceptional Workplaces.  Danielle was joined by Kristen Lipton, Regional Director of Gallup, Scharrell Jackson, CFO/CAO, Squar Milner and Sally Meyers, EVP, Plaza Bank.  Danielle shared with the group the development of Fisher Phillips’ women’s initiative, and the firm’s commitment to leadership opportunities for women attorneys.  Fisher Phillips greatly values the importance of having women leaders throughout the firm, the legal profession, and in our communities.

An Evening of Intrigue at Union Station – October 10, 2016
The Kansas City office hosted its first WILC event on Monday, October 10, 2016 “An Evening of Intrigue at Union Station.”  The event included a Happy Hour at Pierpont’s upscale indoor “patio” combined with the Escape Room challenge.  An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit (an hour). Games are set in a variety of fictional locations, such as prison cells, dungeons and space stations, and are popular as team building exercises. The Escape Room was very well received.  Attendees were so excited to participate in the challenge and even more enthusiastic afterward.  Each of Kansas City’s three female attorneys, Melody Rayl and Samantha Horner were designated to one of the Escape Room’s “puzzle” rooms, and the attendees were randomly assigned to teams when they checked in.  Each team represented a local charitable cause – chosen by the attorneys – with the firm providing

California Association of Black Lawyers Honors Regina Petty of Fisher Phillips - September 30, 2016
Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces that Partner Regina Petty will be honored by the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting in San Diego. Petty and two other honorees, U.S. District Court Judge John Houston and Pepperdine University School of Law Professor Chris Chambers Goodman, will be recognized at the meeting on September 30.

“Regina is an exceptional attorney, a trusted leader and an exemplary member of the community,” said Christopher C. Hoffman, managing partner of the firm’s San Diego office. “She has had a great impact in her field and in San Diego generally, and we are glad that she is being recognized for her talents and hard work.”

A partner in the firm’s San Diego office, Petty practices in state and federal courts, serving as lead in multi-district and class action litigation, including numerous cases that have wide-reaching business and industry implications. She is a Master in the Louis Welsh American Inn of Court and chairs the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Committee of the International Association of Defense Counsel, as well as a member of the National Bar Association, the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association and the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys.

Outside of the office, Petty currently serves on the board of directors of the American Heart Association and is a member of the “Go Red for Women” Executive Committee. She also serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit hospital Sharp Healthcare and is a member of the Redcoat Committee of the San Diego Bowl Game Association.

“CABL is privileged to honor Regina at its Annual Reception during the State Bar of California Annual Meeting. She is an example of visionary leadership in her practice and the community,” said Camille Townsend, president of CABL. “She has displayed an unparalleled commitment to diversity and the community, and we couldn't be more pleased to bestow this honor on her.”

In addition to her honor from CABL, Petty has previously been recognized as one of the Los Angeles Daily Journal's “Top 75 Women Litigators in California” and as one of the San Diego Daily Transcript’s “Top Ten” attorneys in both the labor and employment and business litigation categories. She has been listed in San Diego Super Lawyers every year since its inauguration, and she is also a past recipient of the San Diego Business Journal's "Women Who Mean Business Award." Petty earned both her J.D. (1982) and her A.B. (1979) from Stanford University.

Art Uncorked – August 15, 2016
The Columbia, SC Office held their inaugural event at the Columbia Museum of Art.  WILC- Columbia rented the museum for the evening and provided attendees with wine glass Tervis tumblers as favors. Attendees enjoyed wine, appetizers, and complimentary docent tours of the exhibits. The event attracted a variety of attendees and all noted how much fun they had interacting with new contacts and getting a chance to learn something new.

Fisher Phillips Attorney Receives President’s Award from South Carolina Bar - June 22, 2016
Sheila Bias, an attorney at labor and employment firm Fisher Phillips, has received the President’s Award for her work with the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division (YLD) on the Cinderella Project.

The President’s Award is given in recognition to YLD members who exemplify dedication to public service and YLD initiatives. The South Carolina Bar YLD is a sponsor of the Cinderella Project, now in its 15th year, which provides gently worn formal, bridesmaid and prom dresses for young women who lack the financial resources to buy a gown for their high school prom. Bias serves as the statewide Chair of the Cinderella Project.

The YLD includes all members of the South Carolina Bar under age 36 and those with less than five years membership. The organization has a membership of more than 15,000 lawyers.

“Sheila has already made a remarkable impact on our clients since her arrival and this honor highlights her exceptional work in our local community,” said Stephen Mitchell, managing partner of the Columbia office. “We are so proud of this accomplishment.”

Bias represents employers in a variety of labor and employment matters. Prior to joining Fisher Phillips, she practiced in a regional civil defense firm, representing employers in litigation and a variety of administrative proceedings. Bias has also worked as a Staff Attorney for the Supreme Court of South Carolina. She serves as Secretary and is on the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Women Lawyers’ Association. Bias also serves on the Board of Directors for Columbia – Society for Human Resource Management and is a board member for the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association.

She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2011. Prior to attending law school, Bias was a member of store leadership for a Fortune 500 retail company, providing employee supervision and managing a variety of employee issues related to wage and hour, workers’ compensation, discrimination issues, performance management, and other personnel issues.

Fisher Phillips Recognized as a "Champion of Women" by Connected Women of Influence - March 18, 2016
At an awards ceremony on March 16, Fisher Phillips received the “Champion of Women” award by Connected Women of Influence, a leading association recognizing leaders and trail blazers in professional services companies. In front of a crowd of 300 guests, the firm took home the top prize of the day, which was also the only award given to a company. In addition, Partner Danielle Moore was honored as a final nominee in the “Women Breaking Barriers” category.

Connected Women of Influence strives to support and recognize women at business-to-business companies who make an impact on their communities and colleagues. The association’s various programs provide opportunities for members to connect, cultivate and collaborate, with an overall goal of advancing women in business. The “Champion of Women” award recognizes a company or organization that provides internal programs and initiatives that are unique, cutting edge and specifically designed to support the advancement and acceleration of women in the workplace. The “Women Breaking Barriers” nominees are women who utilize their position, stature, expertise and influence to break down barriers and effect positive change in their professions, industries or enterprises.

“At Fisher Phillips, we are committed to gender equality and embracing diversity – in all its forms – in the workplace,” said Chris Hoffman, managing partner of the firm’s San Diego office. “We are honored to be recognized by Connected Women of Influence, an organization whose vision and goals we embrace.”

Fisher Phillips has been a contributing member to Connected Women of Influence for the last few years, with partners and staff participating in various initiatives with the association. The firm also created and supports a similar in-house program, the Women’s Initiative and Leadership Council (WILC), which focuses on recruitment, development and support for women throughout Fisher Phillips. WILC also provides a forum for attorneys to share experiences and ideas to support advancement.

“Through WILC, and with the support of the firm, we have been able to promote and encourage the advancement of women in our profession,” said Moore, co-chair of the WILC committee. “I am honored to have been recognized by such an important and prominent group for the efforts being done both regionally and nationally with our firm.”

LA Women of Influence Awards Kristen Nesbit Nomination for WILC - January 28, 2016
On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Los Angeles Partner Kristen Nesbit was honored by the business publication L.A. Biz at the 2016 Women of Influence Awards Luncheon. The award, in its second year, consults a variety of sources, including association partners, entrepreneurs, business owners and executives to identify 50 successful women with strong community commitment and a track record of paying it forward.

L.A. Biz's “Women of Influence” program is part of a national effort by American City Business Journals to identify and celebrate women business leaders and to foster business environments that will create even more successful women in the future.

In addition to her honor from L.A. Biz, Kristen’s previous recognitions include her inclusion in the 2013 “Hot List” for Minority Attorneys Under 40 in the Western Region by Lawyers of Color Inc., Top Women’s Attorney designation by Los Angeles Magazine and selection by the National Advocate as a Top 100 African American Lawyer in 2015. She was also recognized by Southern California Super Lawyers as a Rising Star. Kristen earned her J.D. from Loyola Law School and her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Tampa Hosts 2nd Annual “Evening at the Spa” – November 3, 2015
Tampa business women enjoyed a tranquil evening, where both their skin and palate were pampered with flavors of relaxation, at the Epicurean Hotel Spa Evangeline in the trendy Hyde Park historic district of South Tampa. The event was hosted by WILC Steering Committee co-chair Christine Howard and attorney Theresa Gallion of the Fisher Phillips Tampa office. In addition to a variety of Evangeline’s signature services the guests enjoyed specialty cocktails, appetizers and heartwarming treats from Chocolate Pi. As with other WILC sponsored events, the evening is another example of Fisher Phillips providing an opportunity for Tampa’s legal and human resources community to develop connections or simply enjoy each other’s company.

A Night of Cooking - October 22, 2015
On Thursday, October 22, 2015, the Denver office of Fisher Phillips hosted a night of cooking with Chef Dan Witherspoon of the Gourmet Spoon at The Seasoned Chef Cooking School. The event offered a very hands on and collaborative cooking event in which Fisher Phillips lawyers, clients and guests had the opportunity to team together to prepare a delicious meal while enjoying each other’s company. Clients commented that it was not only nice to catch up with their Fisher Phillips’ team in this setting, but to visit with old friends and colleagues. It was a pleasant night for all.

Women Lead Conference - October 22, 2015
On Thursday, October 22, 2014, Grace Horoupian was a panelist on “Breaking Barriers: Companies Striving to Advance Women in the Workplace” at the Women Lead conference, sponsored by Connected Women of Influence in San Diego, California. The panel consisted of various individuals from major corporations discussing company initiatives to advance women to leadership positions. Grace spoke extensively about the firm’s Women’s Initiative Leadership Counsel (“WILC”) and its commitment to recruit, develop and retain women attorneys and foster female leadership within the firm. Grace explained that one of the ways that WILC strives to meet these goals is through WILC ambassadors and leave liaisons for each of their offices. In particular, Grace emphasized that WILC’s leave liaison program was created to ensure women stay engaged in the firm, especially before, during and after leaves so that the next generation of women leaders are not lost in such transition periods.

Networking at the Ritz-Carlton Spa – September 17, 2015
On Thursday, September 17, Fisher Phillips hosted an evening of relaxation and networking for women at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale Spa. Professionals from across various industries enjoyed food, wine and spa treatments at the event.

Diversity & Inclusiveness Committee and WILC Program Nominated for Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award - September 10, 2015
Fisher Phillips was selected as a finalist for the Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award at the Palmetto Vision Awards Gala held by South Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce on September 10, 2015. The nomination was in recognition of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusiveness Committee and Women’s Initiative & Leadership Council (WILC) program. The firm’s WILC program strives to advance women within the firm and in the legal community. Our Diversity & Inclusiveness Committee addresses recruitment and retention issues and develops the firm’s strategic management initiatives in these areas.

WILC Program Nominated for Champion of Women Award – March 25, 2015
The Fisher Phillips Women’s Initiative and Leadership Council (WILC) was nominated for the Champion of Women Award at the Annual Women of Influence Awards Luncheon held by the San Diego Chapter of Connected Women of Influence on March 25, 2015. The nomination was in recognition of the firm’s internal programs and initiatives that are specifically designed to support the advancement and acceleration of women in the workplace. WILC was also selected as one of the top three finalists along with Qualcomm and Jazzercise, Inc. Partner Amy Lessa was a judge in all categories except for the Champion of Women Award category, in which WILC was a nominee. Amy Lessa, Danielle Moore, Megan Walker and Jackie Greenbaum attended the event on behalf of the firm.

Women's Night Out at Woo Cosmetics – February 5, 2015
On Tuesday, February 5, Fisher Phillips and Dress for Success Atlanta hosted Women’s Night Out at Woo Cosmetics. Attendees donated gently used business attire and toiletries to support Dress for Success Atlanta’s suiting initiative. As a bonus, all attendees received an evening of pampering with make-up consultations from the professionals at Woo Cosmetics in Peachtree Battle Shopping Center. Nearly 40 professional women attended the two-hour event.

Evening at the Spa in Tampa – November 13, 2014
Tampa business women enjoyed a tranquil evening at the spa, hosted by WILC Steering Committee chair Christine Howard, and attorneys Theresa Gallion and Marci Britt of the Fisher Phillips Tampa office. In addition to a variety of spa services the guests enjoyed specialty cocktails and appetizers while socializing at the Epicurean Hotel Spa Evangeline in the trendy Hyde Park historic district of South Tampa.

Evening at the Museum - October 16, 2014
The Philadelphia and New Jersey offices of Fisher Phillips hosted a joint WILC event at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. In addition to cocktails and a private tour of the amazing cultural treasures at the museum, the participants enjoyed a unique presentation on the complexities of Fine Art Repatriation by Cynthia M. Jacob, of the Fisher Phillips New Jersey Office.  Lori Armstrong Halber and Cynthia Jacob helped to organize the event.

Women, Influence & Power in Law conference in Washington DC. – September 18-19, 2014
On September 17-19, 2014, the firm sponsored the Women, Influence & Power in Law conference in Washington DC.  Partners Danielle MooreRegina Petty and Lori Armstrong Haber all attended as representatives of the firm and the firm’s Women’s Initiative and Leadership Council (WILC).  The conference is the only national forum facilitating women-to-women exchange on current legal issues and is led and facilitated almost exclusively by women.  The conference was led by women corporate counsel with the purpose of creating a meaningful exchange between in-house and outside counsel.  Regina Petty served as a panelist at the Conference in the Executive Leadership track, providing insight on the topic “Managing Alpha-Personalities.”   Danielle Moore commented that “The Conference was a wonderful way to meet women in-house counsel and the programming was truly excellent.  I was pleased and honored that Fisher Phillips was a part of such a wonderful event.”

Spa Day in Chicago – July 31, 2014
On July 31, 2014, Fisher Phillips’ Chicago Office held a spa event at Renew Spa. The project was spearheaded by WILC Steering Committee member Nesheba Kittling and Jessica Huynh Causgrove. The event was a huge success with several important women clients and business women attending. Attendees received spa services, gift bags, and enjoyed cocktails and appetizers while socializing before and after their chosen spa services. 

Event Honoring Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor – May 8, 2014
On May 8, 2014 Fisher Phillips’ San Diego Office sponsored Lawyers Club of San Diego’s 42nd Annual Dinner “Raising the Bar.” The event honored retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who also served as the event’s keynote speaker. The event, which was sold out months in advance, was attended by several hundred guests, including Fisher Phillips’ attorneys Danielle MooreRegina Petty and Megan Winter as well as Fisher Phillips’ clients. Danielle Moore, Lawyers Club current board member and Chapter President, and Regina Petty, former board member, were also acknowledged with other members for their contributions to the organization. For the past three years, Fisher Phillips has been a sponsor of the organization generally and throughout the year at various events.

Ladies Night in Atlanta – February 26, 2014
The Atlanta office of Fisher Phillips hosted a Ladies Night Out on February 26, 2014 at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel. WILC Steering Committee member Kim Thompson was pivotal in organizing the event. The event included live music from Nick Hagelin, a chocolate tasting presented by Cacoa Atlanta Chocolate Company, food and drink, and fabulous door prizes. It was a wonderful opportunity to relax and network while enjoying cocktails and sweets.

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