On-Demand Video

Women in Leadership in the Legal Profession

  • City:
  • Start Date:2023-10-25 20:00:00
  • End Date:2025-10-25 20:00:00
  • Length:
  • Level:Basic
  • Topics:Law Practice Management

$149.00 ["ProPass"]

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To quote Christian pastor, author and radio preacher Chuck Swindoll, “We all are faced with a number of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible problems.” 

What are the biggest problems and challenges faced by law firms today?

Having emerged from the pandemic in many ways better and bolder, law firms are banking on one constant: change. Some of these changes translate to the top challenges facing law firms today.

In roundtable format, this program brings together a panel of women law firm managers who address the most prevalent challenges that they are seeing in their practices and firms.

  • Finding your path to a leadership role in your firm
  • Thriving as a hybrid-working law firm
  • DEI efforts and potential impact of the US Supreme Court’s recent affirmative action decision
  • A roadmap to inspiring the next generation of attorneys

Co-sponsored with the PBA Large Law Firm Committee and Women in the Profession Commission.

All attendees will receive the course book as a digital download.

Recorded in October 2023.


Lauren McKenna Esq.

Ms. McKenna is a Litigation Partner at Fox Rothschild, LLP in Philadelphia, a member of the firm’s Executive Management Committee and co-chair of the Title Insurance Defense Group. She focuses her practice on resolving sophisticated business disputes and litigation, particularly in the real estate, insurance and flood industries. Ms. McKenna routinely defends lender and flood zone determination companies in matters involving claims brought in connection with the 1973 Flood Disaster Protection Act and the 1994 National Flood Insurance Reform Act. She frequently writes and speaks on federal, state, and local legislation and other topics impacting the flood industry. Ms. McKenna also represents title insurance companies, their agents, and insureds. She served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2021, which is comprised of 13,000 members. She was selected for inclusion in “Women Leaders in the Law” by ALM (2015), is rated AV Preeminent and was named a Super Lawyer by Philadelphia Magazine and Law & Politics Magazine for multiple consecutive years. Ms. McKenna received the Pro Bono Roll of Honor award from the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. She is involved in numerous organizations and provides pro bono services through the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Volunteers for the Indigent Program. Ms. McKenna received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. 

Brigid Alford Esq.

Ms. Alford is a member of the Professional Liability Department of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman &  Goggin. She concentrates her practice in various areas of insurance defense and civil litigation, with a focus in insurance coverage matters and litigation of coverage and bad faith claims involving issues arising from motor vehicle, homeowner, professional liability, commercial general liability and other policies. She has more than 30 years of experience litigating cases in 53 of Pennsylvania’s 67 county courts, in all three of Pennsylvania’s federal district courts and before the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. Her trial resume includes both jury and bench trials in over 20 counties throughout the state, from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. She has also argued before Pennsylvania’s Superior and Commonwealth Courts, as well as the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1983, Ms. Alford earned her J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law. She continues to serve as an adjunct assistant professor with the school’s award winning Trial Advocacy Program. She is a 1980 cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Allegheny College. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, where she participates annually in this organization’s Young Lawyers Division statewide High School Mock Trial Competition. She is a member of the Dauphin County and Cumberland County Bar Associations and a Master in the William J. Lipsitt American Inns of Court. Other professional associations include membership in CLM. Ms. Alford is a frequent lecturer throughout the state for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and other groups, speaking on a variety of subjects including insurance coverage, bad faith, civil trial practice and UM/UIM issues.

Amy Coles Esq.

Ms. Coles is a
Partner with Blank Rome LLP in Pittsburgh. She is a litigator who
concentrates her practice primarily in the energy and construction
industries. Most recently, she represented Shell Chemical Appalachia is
obtaining its various permits for the construction of its $6B petrochemical
processing facility in Beaver County, PA. Ms. Coles has handled a wide range
of disputes for energy companies, construction owners, contractors,
subcontractors, and material suppliers; she has also represented banks,
financial services providers, healthcare corporations, manufacturers and
pharmaceutical companies in state and federal cases, as well as in
arbitrations all over the United States and abroad. She frequently writes on
litigation matters. Ms. Coles previously served as a judicial law clerk for
the Hon. Gary L. Lancaster of the U.S. District Court for the Western
District of Pennsylvania. While in law school, she was the managing editor of
the Journal of Law and Commerce. Ms. Coles has been named a “Pennsylvania
Super Lawyer” every year since 2013 and as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
Rising Star” from 2007–2012. In 2015, she was recognized by The Legal
Intelligencer as a “Lawyer on the Fast Track.” She is passionate about
diversity and inclusion and was named one of Pennsylvania’s “Most Powerful
and Influential Women” by the PA Diversity Council. Ms. Coles is active in
the Allegheny County Bar Association, the National Association of Women
Lawyers, and serves as the co-chair of Project Eviive, a non-profit
organization that strives to bring clean water to underdeveloped communities
around the world. She received her JD, magna cum laude, from the University
of Pittsburgh School of Law, and her BS, cum laude, from Allegheny College.
Ms. Coles is member of the Allegheny County (PA) Bar Association and the
Pennsylvania Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania,
the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the United
States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Jami McKeon Esq.

Jami McKeon is the Chair of Morgan Lewis—the largest law firm in the world led by a woman—and a trial lawyer who represents some of the world’s leading banks in regulatory and litigation matters. The first woman chair in the firm’s 150-year history, Jami’s second term was extended by unanimous vote through the end of the 2026 fiscal year. In implementing a strategic approach focused on client needs, Jami has spearheaded large combinations that have significantly expanded the services of the firm’s 2,000+ lawyers in 30+ offices crossing 17 time zones. Under her pioneering leadership, Morgan Lewis has been widely recognized by multiple independent organizations, including BTI Consulting Group, which in 2023 named Morgan Lewis among its elite Client Service 30 for the 22nd consecutive year—one of only three global law firms to earn this important distinction. In furthering Jami’s commitment to clients, Morgan Lewis proactively conducts unique and innovative programs to recruit, retain, and mentor elite and diverse lawyers. The firm also conducts a series of industry-leading technological and training initiatives to create a more productive environment benefiting both clients and firm personnel. These include the development of a firmwide Exceptional Client Service training program that engages every lawyer and professional staff member in immersive guidance to optimize collaboration. Another initiative, SPARK, has successfully solicited innovative proposals from lawyers and staff to improve the firm’s services and communications to clients. Under Jami’s leadership, Morgan Lewis has launched multiple innovative initiatives including ML Women, which harnesses the strength of the firm’s women; ML Well, a holistic program that promotes the health of the entire Morgan Lewis family; and Mobilizing for Equality, dedicated to supporting the global movement to achieve racial justice. Jami has received numerous honors for her leadership and accomplishments, and she is a member of several boards, including the Advisory Board of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, the Penn Law Board of Advisors, the Board of Directors of Equal Justice Works, and the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. In 2023, Jami was again selected to participate in the Fortune–US Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. Financial Times honored Jami in 2015 with its Special Achievement Award (North America) for her innovative approach to Morgan Lewis’s strategic growth.

Danielle Banks, Esq.

Ms. Banks is a Partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, in Philadelphia. She devotes a significant amount of her practice to defending employers against employment discrimination claims, including claims brought under Title VII, Section 1981, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Ms. Banks also defends governmental entities against Section 1983 claims, represents businesses in housing and mortgage discrimination claims, and has represented defendants in products liability actions, including pharmaceutical and asbestos litigation. Ms. Banks also handles matters on behalf of religious institutions, and has extensive knowledge of First Amendment subject matter jurisdiction challenges, and application of the ministerial exception to Title VII in employment matters involving religious institutions. She is the immediate past chair of Stradley Ronon’s diversity committee and served on the firm’s hiring committee for a two-year term. Ms. Banks is chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Federal Courts Committee and previously served on the board of governors. She also has served as chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award Committee (2011-2012) and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates. Ms. Banks serves as president of the board of directors of Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse and is the immediate past co-president of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group.

Kathleen Wilkinson, Esq.

Philadelphia lawyer Kathleen D. Wilkinson, a partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, past president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, was the 2021-22 president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Ms. Wilkinson was the 2020-21 president-elect. From April 27 to May 20, 2021, she served as president due to the resignation of the previous president. Her recent efforts to support the organized bar have focused on issues related to attorney wellness and wellbeing in the legal profession as well as issues dealing with the ongoing pandemic. She served on the PBA COVID-19 Task Force that provided timely information to assist lawyers in their practices during the pandemic. She was a member of the Joint Task Force on Continuity of Delivery of Legal Services that issued a comprehensive report offering recommendations such as technology enhancements so that citizens have access to justice during the current pandemic and future emergencies. Ms. Wilkinson is the current co-chair of the Legislative Committee of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession. She also is a PBA appointed delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates and has served as an ABA delegate for many years. Ms. Wilkinson has represented Philadelphia lawyers on the PBA Board of Governors. She has served in the PBA House of Delegates and has been a member of numerous PBA committees and sections. She is the chair of educational programs for the Federal Practice Committee Executive Council, past co-vice chair of the PBA Planning Committee, a co-chair and past co-vice chair of the PBA Quality of Life/Balance Committee, past co-chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession Quality of Life Committee, past co-chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession and past chair of the PBA Civil Litigation Section. Ms. Wilkinson is a member of other committees, including the Bylaws, Membership Development and Minority Bar committees. She was chair of the PBA Membership Engagement Blue Ribbon Panel on Millennials, Mothers and Minorities. In addition, Ms. Wilkinson served on the board of directors for PBI (Pennsylvania Bar Institute) and was a zone one director for the PABAR-PAC, the PBA’s political action committee, and co-chair of the 2007 PBA Midyear Meeting. She is a Life Fellow of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, and previously served as the foundation’s zone one director. In 2013, Ms. Wilkinson served as the 86th chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, only the sixth woman to serve in that position in the association’s history. She has filled a variety of leadership roles in the Philadelphia Bar Association since 1998 when she co-chaired the association’s Women in the Profession Committee, and later when she chaired the State Civil Litigation Section in 2005, for which she was one of the founding members in 2004. She was the bar association’s secretary, vice chancellor, chancellor-elect and a member of the bar association’s cabinet. She served on the Board of Governors for a total of 16 years. Ms. Wilkinson was the 2019 chair of the Federal Courts Committee. Ms. Wilkinson received the 2023 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Third Circuit. Ms. Wilkinson was named by named on the Power 100 2022 List of Pennsylvania attorneys by City & State PA, and as a “Power Woman,” and received an award from Main Line Magazine in 2021. Ms. Wilkinson is the recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 2019 Sandra Day O’Connor Award, which is presented to a woman attorney who has demonstrated superior legal talent, achieved significant legal accomplishments and has furthered the advancement of women in both the profession and the community. In 2019, Ms. Wilkinson received the C. Dale McClain Quality of Life/Balance Award, an annual award presented by the PBA Quality of Life Balance Committee that recognizes the substantial contributions made by Pennsylvania attorneys in identifying issues relevant to balancing the professional and personal lives of their peers, as well as the progress made in assisting attorneys in maintaining and improving their overall quality of life. She received the Gilbert Nurick Award from the PBA Conference of County Bar Leaders in 2014 for outstanding service to local bar associations. She was the recipient of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Anne X. Alpern Award in 2008 for her demonstrated leadership in the legal profession and professional impact on women in the law. The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly named her “Woman of the Year” in 2007-2008. Ms. Wilkinson has been named as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for many years. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Kean University, which named her “Alumni of the Year” in 2010. She received her juris doctorate from the Villanova University School of Law. In 2013, the Villanova Law Alumni Association named her the recipient of the Gerald Abraham Alumni Association Award for service to the law school. She is also a member of the Alumni Association Board of Advisors of the law school. Ms. Wilkinson was a member of the Executive Council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, a division of the ABA, from 2013 to 2016, and remains an active member of the NCBP Program and Diversity Committees. Wilkinson served on the boards of directors for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP) and Philadelphia Defender Association. She served on the board of the Forum of Executive Women from July 2014 until June 2016 and was the program chair. She has served on other boards in the community. Ms. Wilkinson is a member of the Chester County Bar Association, Delaware County Bar Association (honorary) and the Montgomery Bar Association. She has been a board member, secretary, and most recently vice-president of programs for the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel in 2020-2021, which presented her with the William J. O’Brien Award for achievements in legal advocacy and improvements in the legal profession in 2016. She is a founding member of Villanova University’s School of Law J. Willard O’Brien Inn of Court, was its first woman president in 2004 and serves as an Honorary Member of the Inn. Ms. Wilkinson received the Inn’s J. Clayton Undercofler III Award for exemplary leadership, integrity and dedication to the rule of law in 2013. Ms. Wilkinson is also a member of the Villanova Law School Alumni Board. A civil litigator with more than 30 years of experience, Ms. Wilkinson is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, defends complex cases involving employment, professional liability, construction, products, toxic tort, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. She also serves as a judge pro tem and special master in state and federal court. Ms. Wilkinson has been a member of Wilson Elser’s Women Attorneys Valued and Empowered (WAVE) initiative that focuses on advancement and well-being of women in the profession.

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