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After years of not being invited to an impromptu all-male golf outing before the American Bar Association’s white-collar crime annual conference, Kathy Weinman decided it was time to find her own outing � a spa day. In the male-dominated practice of white-collar criminal defense, Weinman, a partner at Boston’s Dwyer & Collora, united the women who attended the conference through the spa retreat. Neither the retreat nor the golf outing are affiliated directly with the ABA conference, but are arranged by attendees. “It’s an opportunity to get to know other women around the country who do what I do,” she said. All-women events are becoming more popular among women attorneys who say it is important to meet with other women in the field. And for some firms, the all-women events are yet another way to cultivate business, with any concerns of perpetuating stereotypes taking a back seat. “These are activities clients enjoy and it is good for business,” said Linda Addison, a partner in the Houston office of Fulbright & Jaworski and participant in the office’s all-women poker night for attorneys and clients. “It’s effective to spend time with people doing things they enjoy. Most of the time it is gender neutral, sometimes it is not.” Bottom line: It’s networking The women attorneys in the Boston office of Goulston & Storrs held a spa night in April, with the women attorneys inviting all of the firm’s female clients. The spa-night theme included minifacials and massages, manicures, temporary tattoos and make-up applications � but the theme of the evening is incidental, said Anne Meyer, a partner at the firm. “The theme is just a vehicle for mingling and connecting,” she said. “They come to the event not for a manicure, but to see their colleagues.” This is the 10th year that Goulston & Storrs has had an all-women networking event, with themes in the past including a wine tasting, a night at the museum and celebrity chef cooking demonstrations. Deborah Lawrence, senior vice president of Bank of America, attended Goulston’s event and said that she has been invited to many similar events at other firms. “I enjoy women’s events personally and professionally,” she said. “It’s a way to foster good relationships in a relaxed setting and anything that fosters good relationships is good for business.” Bryan Cave’s New York office held a “shoe event,” with women attorneys inviting their women clients to spend an hour shopping for shoes at a small boutique that offered a 10% discount. After shopping, they crossed the street for a group dinner. “The idea is to empower and support the women in the firm,” said Larson Campbell, marketing manager for the New York office of Bryan Cave. “Golf, sporting events and happy hours ignore a broad group of people. This is an opportunity for those that have different interests. And it is a group of women only, so it can be less intimidating.” The firm has sponsored other all-women events in the past, including a cooking event at Italian Wine Merchants in New York, a restaurant owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali, who gave a 30-minute cooking demonstration and autographed books at the event. The firm is planning to hold another all-women event with poet Maya Angelou in September. The ‘global’ approach But women attorneys at Boston’s Hanify & King did worry about choosing an event that would not fall into a “girly” stereotype, said Kathy Cross, a firm shareholder. The seven women at the 31-attorney firm wanted to incorporate an element of community service into the event and decided to put together an evening showing of The Inconvenient Truth to bring about a discussion on global warming. Following the movie, the firm invited an earth science professor at Boston University to speak. They entitled the event, “Global Warming: What’s a Girl to Do.” Drinks, appetizers and desserts were provided by the firm. While most women are in support of these events, they do warn that they must remain just as one type of a broader range of activities. “It really just needs to be once in a while only,” said Cristina Arguedas, a partner in the Berkeley, Calif., law firm Arguedas, Cassman & Headley who attended the spa day at the most recent ABA white-collar crime conference. “But anything more than that is strange in a co-ed world.”

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