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Women of Color in the Legal Profession: Realism, Resilience, and Well-Being

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: October 20, 2021
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  • Challenges of Women of Color Law Students
  • Issues that Affect AAPI Women
  • Findings in ABA Studies
  • Discussing Work-Life Balance with Supervisors
  • Q & A
  • Takeaways
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Recorded: October 20, 2021

For NY - Difficulty: Experienced Attorneys Only (Non-Transitional)


We read the reports. We live the experiences. In a demanding profession, many lawyers experience high levels of anxiety and stress. The unique experiences of women of lawyers of color can add another layer of stress. These conditions often become overwhelming and take a toll on individual well-being and the ability to perform legal work at the highest professional level.

Join our panelists as they share their experiences as women lawyers of color and provide tips to increase your effectiveness as a lawyer while reducing your stress level.

This program was recorded on October 20th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Wendy Shiba

Retired Public Company C-Level Executive Officer & General Counsel

Wendy Shiba is a retired public company C-level executive with core experience in corporate and board governance, strategic planning, executive compensation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, SEC disclosure, compliance, and antitrust. Her industry experience includes homebuilding and global manufacturing (specialty chemicals and polymers; forest products, pulp and paper) in multiple geographies including North America, Europe, and Asia.

During her corporate career, she managed the following departments and functions: Legal; Government and Public Affairs; Compliance and Risk Management; Internal Audit; Environmental, Health and Safety; and Product Stewardship. She is a frequent speaker and panelist on topics including corporate governance, securities law, women’s leadership, and diversity in the legal profession.

She is a former arbitrator for the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and served by Gubernatorial appointment on the South Carolina Board of Accountancy.

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Carla Pratt

Dean & Professor of Law
Washburn University School of Law

Carla Pratt became dean at Washburn University School of Law in 2018.

Prior to joining Washburn Law, Dean Pratt served as Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law where she was the Nancy J. LaMont Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law. Dean Pratt has taught courses in Constitutional Law, Federal Indian Law, Education Law, and Race and American Law. While at Penn State Dickinson Law, Dean Pratt received the law school's Philip J. McConnaughay award for outstanding achievement in diversity related work.

From 2012 to 2018 Dean Pratt also served as an Associate Justice for the Supreme Court of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Fort Yates, North Dakota. In this capacity she heard appeals involving tribal members and those doing business with tribal members in cases relating primarily to tribal criminal law, family law, business law, and constitutional law.

Dean Pratt engages in scholarship examining racial diversity in law school and the legal profession. She is co-author of the book, The End of the Pipeline: A Journey of Recognition for African Americans Entering the Legal Profession, which reports the findings of a qualitative study of African American attorneys and challenges the assumption that blacks entering the profession today have a post-racial colorblind journey. In her most recent research project Dean Pratt partnered with Professor Eboni Nelson and Dr. Ronald Pitner at the University of South Carolina. The resulting article in the Iowa Law Review, "Assessing the Viability of Race-Neutral Alternatives in Law School Admissions," explores the potential for race neutral law school admissions. The findings from the study aim to enhance law schools' understanding of race-neutral admissions factors that may or may not contribute to their ability to assemble a racially diverse student body, and gives law schools the tools to experiment with trying to yield a racially diverse class without asking applicants about their race.

Prior to joining the law faculty at Penn State Dickinson Law, Dean Pratt engaged in private practice as a commercial litigator with the law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP in Philadelphia and served as a Deputy Attorney General in New Jersey.

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Elia Diaz-Yaeger

Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin, & Hubbard

From our New Orleans office, Elia is a shareholder in the firm. Her primary areas of practice are industrial employment/long-latency lung disease litigation, insurance defense and coverage, environmental law, risk management and data protection, and commercial litigation. In the last eighteen years, Elia has successfully defended thousands of occupational exposure claims, including exposure to asbestos and silica-containing products. Elia focuses her practice on insurance coverage litigation and counseling, and has significant experience representing insurers as direct action defendants in litigation in Louisiana. Elia’s extensive experience defending mass tort claims enables her to provide clients with an early strategic plan, vigorous defense, and efficient litigation.

Elia also focuses on several insurance coverage practice areas including third-party insurance coverage, general liability, environmental and toxic tort liability coverage and Cybersecurity Litigation. Additionally, her knowledge and experience with property insurance coverage and bad faith claims litigation has allowed her to serve as defense counsel for insurers in commercial and residential property insurance cases resulting from hurricanes, hailstorms, and other first-party claims.

Elia‘s professional credentials include being nominated as an AV-rated attorney, an honor bestowed on less than 5% of women lawyers. As an AV-rated attorney, Elia was selected for the inaugural edition of the Martindale-Hubbell? Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers™ – an organization created exclusively for women attorneys who have received the highest possible peer rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.

Recognized by Chambers USA as a 2017 Women in Law Future Leader Gender Diversity Award winner, Elia is involved in monitoring legal trends and proposed laws that have a direct impact or effect on her clients. Elia actively promotes diversity and the inclusion of women and Hispanics in the legal professions through various professional organizations. She is a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), where she currently holds the title of National President and is one of fifty members selected nationally to participate in the HNBA/Associate of Corporate Counsel Executive Leadership Program. Elia moves into the presidential position after spending the past year as President-Elect and previous years in a variety of leadership positions with the organization. Her involvement with the HNBA came after her role as a past-president of the Hispanic Lawyers of Louisiana. In 2017, Elia was appointed to the United States Senate Republican Task Force on the Hispanic Affairs Advisor Committee. These positions of honor allow her access to legal trends and proposed laws that directly impact or affect the local Hispanic community. Her professional engagements include a variety of presentations on effectively communicating with corporate counsel, diversity seminars, leading round-table discussions at several in-house corporate meetings, serving as a diversity facilitator for the Louisiana State Bar Association, participating in the Louisiana State Bar Association’s diversity and inclusion video, and presenting continuing legal education throughout the state.

Elia also serves on the Board of Directors of the ASI Federal Credit Union, which facilitates loans of all sizes for transportation, home-ownership, business development, and education as well as international microloans in partnership with Kiva, a non-profit connecting individual investors with microfinance institutions.

In addition to her professional pursuits, Elia also volunteers and participates in a number of social and community programs including elementary school reading programs and various habitat/environmental groups, including Habitat for Humanity. She is a founding member of Candy Girls/Life Savers of New Orleans, a non-profit group that supports and provides services to families in need as well as a local orphanage.

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Paulette Brown

Senior Partner, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Locke Lord, LLP

Paulette Brown is a member of the labor & employment practice group of Locke Lord LLP and is the Immediate Past President of the American Bar Association. Throughout her career, she has held a number of positions, including in-house counsel to a number of Fortune 500 companies and as a Municipal Court Judge. For the past 30 years, Paulette has engaged in the private practice of law, focusing on all facets of labor and employment and commercial litigation. She has defended employers in cases involving discrimination on the basis of age, sex, marital status, sexual harassment, disability, race and national origin. Paulette has received results in class action employment discrimination cases based upon race and wage and hour claims. She is also experienced in all aspects of workplace training and collective bargaining.

Paulette litigates in both federal and state courts, as well as arbitration forums for both unionized and non-union employees. She is a certified mediator for the United States District Court, District of New Jersey and a member of the Employment AAA Panel. Paulette is a frequent lecturer on labor and employment issues and issues related to electronic discovery and serves as Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is also a member of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyer and American Law Institute. Additionally, Paulette has been recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of the prominent women and minority attorneys in the State of New Jersey and by the National Law Journal as one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America." She has been listed as a NJ Super Lawyer since its inception and for the past three years as one of the top 50 women lawyers and one of the top 100 lawyers. Ms. Brown has also repeatedly been named by US News as one of The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Commercial Litigation. Paulette also received DRI's Pioneer Diversity Award and the NJ State Bar Association's Excellence in Diversity Award, and she was honored with the Spirit of Excellence and Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. In 2014, Paulette was honored by the Rutgers Law-Camden Black Law Students Association for exemplifying the values advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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