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MARCH 2011 NEWSLETTER - Up and Over
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Up and Over: Effective Ways to Climb the Maternal Wall

by Stacy Horth-Neubert
March 10, 2011
8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
300 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071

“In law firms and accounting firms, roughly half the entering employees are women. In these settings, if an employer defines the ideal worker as someone who takes no time off for childbearing and who works long hours each week, high attrition will result, given that over eighty percent of women become mothers and ninety-five percent of mothers aged twenty-five to forty-four work fewer than fifty hours a week year-round.  The result is what the former CEO of Deloitte & Touche referred to as “a very leaky pipeline” for talent.”
— Joan C. Williams and Nancy Segal, Beyond the Maternal Wall: Relief for Family Caregivers who are Discriminated Against on the Job, 26 Harv. Wom. L.J. 77 (2003).

The so-called “maternal wall” has been described as “the strongest and most open form of gender bias.”   Every woman lawyer has heard stories or has personally been impacted by  assumptions and work-place decisions made about mothers that would never be made about non-mothers.  Even in the most enlightened of law firms and other legal work places, the maternal wall can and does negatively impact the careers of women lawyers. 
But there are success stories as well, and we can all learn from them.  On March 10, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., WLALA will bring together a panel of accomplished women lawyers who have surmounted the maternal wall, reaching positions of power, authority, and influence in government, and law firms big and small. 
Our panel includes successful mothers who have a diverse range of practices and have climbed the maternal wall in a variety of ways.
Kimberly R. Arnal is a partner with Black, Compean, Hall & Eli.  Since joining the firm in 1999, Ms. Arnal’s practice has focused exclusively on insurance coverage, with an emphasis on third-party construction defect, pollution liability, products liability, general liability, errors & omissions, and insurance guaranty association law. Ms. Arnal represents insurance carriers in a wide range of litigation matters including declaratory relief actions, equitable contribution matters and bad faith litigation. In addition to her litigation practice, a substantial portion of her practice is dedicated to providing coverage opinions to insurers.
Caroline Dreyfus is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP.  Ms. Dreyfus' practice focuses on all facets of real estate finance.  Ms. Dreyfus represents both borrowers and lenders in all types of real estate finance transactions involving office buildings, multi-family properties, retail shopping centers, mixed use projects, condominium buildings and hotels and raw land.  Ms. Dreyfus has been honored and recognized for her work in both the legal and real estate industries.  Ms. Dreyfus was named one of the most influential women in commercial real estate by Real Estate Southern California Magazine in 2007 and 2008. In the legal industry, Ms. Dreyfus has been elected since 2007 as a Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star; Ms. Dreyfus was recognized as one of the Outstanding Young Lawyers by the Los Angeles County Bar Association - Real Property Section in 2007.
Robby Monteleone was a business litigator with McDermott, Will & Emery from 1987 to 1995, first as an Associate and then as an Income Partner.  In 1995, Ms. Monteleone joined the United States Attorney’s Office as an Assistant United States Attorney in the General Civil Division, where she handled cases in each of the Office’s main practice areas, including Title VII, Bivens, FTCA, and immigration.  In particular, Ms. Monteleone tried Title VII cases, developed a particular expertise in those cases and in high-profile and complex Bivens cases, and handled several complex and high-profile immigration cases.  In 2006, Ms. Monteleone was promoted to an Assistant Chief in the Civil Division, where she supervises a group of General Civil AUSAs and oversaw civil immigration litigation from 2006 through 2010.  Most recently, in 2010, Ms. Monteleone was named the Civil Rights Unit Chief for the Civil Division in addition to continuing her responsibilities as an Assistant Division Chief. 
Erica Reilley is a litigation partner at Jones Day whose practice focuses on legal strategy, analysis, and advocacy in trial and appellate courts throughout the country.  Ms. Reilley has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Court of Appeal, and federal and state trial courts.  In addition, Ms. Reilley  is committed to public service. She has worked on pro bono matters for the Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Panel, Public Counsel, and Bet Tzedek and has volunteered at the LACBA Domestic Violence Project. Erica is a member of the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, the Federal Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the National Association of Women Lawyers, and the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and serves on committees for several of these organizations. Ms. Reilley also serves as an adjunct professor of appellate advocacy at Loyola Law School.
Sabrina Strong is a partner at O’Melveny & Myers and is a member of the Class Actions, Mass Torts, and Insurance Litigation and General Trial and Litigation Practices.  Ms. Strong has worked on numerous high-profile, multi-plaintiff cases for public and private sector clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and consumer goods industries.  In 2008, Sabrina helped found the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic at the UCLA School of Law.  She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the clinic.  Sabrina has been recognized as a Southern California “Rising Star” in a survey conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles Magazine and the Southern California edition of Super Lawyers (2004-2010).
The event promises to provide useful insight into effective ways to climb up and over!
To register for this event, please CLICK HERE.
Stacy Horth-Neubert is Chair of the Career Development & Life Balance Committee.  Ms. Horth-Neubert is counsel in the Litigation Group of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates.