AUBLR Hosts Second Annual Women in Business Law Leadership Conference

March 12, 2020

Meghan Biss, counsel for Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered; Michelle Rogers ’05, partner at Buckley LLP; and Sara Razi ’00, partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
Meghan Biss, counsel for Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered; Michelle Rogers ’05, partner at Buckley LLP; and Sara Razi ’00, partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

On Monday, March 9, the American University Business Law Review (AUBLR) presented its second annual Women in Business Law Leadership Conference.

Closing out a week of International Women’s Day celebrations at American University Washington College of Law, AUBLR’s Volume 9 staff hosted the all-women conference designed to showcase the day-to-day work of and incredible contributions by women in business and business law.

Vice Dean Susan Carle gave welcome remarks, commenting on the law school’s unique history. Washington College of Law was founded over 120 years ago by two pioneering women – Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett – at a time when women were generally excluded from the legal profession. The founders created a tradition of providing opportunities for those historically outside the mainstream of the legal profession.

The conference’s first panel, “Changes in Big Law Since the Great Recession and Future Trends,” included a conversation between alumnae Sara Razi ’00, partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Michelle Rogers ’05, partner at Buckley LLP; and Meghan Biss, of counsel for Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered. Nancy Abramowitz, professor of practice of paw and director of the Janet R. Spragens Federal Tax Clinic at AUWCL, moderated the panel.

Each panelist spoke about their position and how having a mentor who provided guidance and motivation for them in the early stages of their career was incredibly valuable. Razi credited AUWCL for “giving me a lot of the opportunities that have gotten me to where I am today.” Besides their companies having transparent policies, fair compensation, and a collaborative culture, Rogers noted that “professional development within the organization was key to training the next generation of leaders of the law firms.”

In the second panel, Minh Vu, partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and Julia Sarnoff, an associate at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, held a discussion about ADA Title III. The rule prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations, commercial facilities, and private entities that offer certain examination and courses related to educational and occupational certification.

The third panel focused on current Supreme Court matters with Sarah Harrington, partner at Goldstein & Russell, P.C., and Visiting Professor of Law and Fellow in Law and Government Kimberly Wehle, discussing upcoming SCOTUS cases to watch out for.

In the final panel, Veta T. Richardson, president and CEO of the Association of Corporate Counsel; Susanna McDonald, ACC vice president and chief legal officer; and Renee Appel, an associate at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, gave career advice for young lawyers. They both agreed that the nation’s capital was an incredible place to become a lawyer, with so many opportunities in the public and private sector.

Sofya Bakradze, AUBLR’s editor-in-chief, gave closing remarks and thanked the amazing women who joined in the conference.