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Morrison & Foerster event focuses on women in-house counsel

The summit underscored the need for advancement of women attorneys.

Many in-house attorneys and general counsel were among the 160 women lawyers who attended the third annual Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) Summit for Women In-House Counsel last month.

Talking part in Half Moon Bay, Calif. event, the attendees came from 80 different companies, representing the fields of technology, life sciences, banking and other sectors.

As part of the far-reaching summit, 47 Morrison & Foerster women attorneys participated in continuing legal education programs. One of the panels, called “Women General Counsel Today,” featured Beth Hecht from Auven Therapeutics, Ellen Oran Kaden from Campbell Soup, Karen King from Silver Lake, and Teresa Wynn Roseborough from The Home Depot. Mika Mayer, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Palo Alto, Calif. office and co-chair of the firm’s Women’s Initiative Committee, was moderator. The closing session focused on the current U.S. Supreme Court term, with a discussion led by Deanne Maynard, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Appellate and Supreme Court practice, and Therese Stewart, chief deputy city attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney’s office.

“The MoFo Summit for Women In-House Counsel is a truly unique event,” Janie Schulman, who co-chairs Morrison & Foerster’s Employment and Labor Group and chaired the 2014 summit steering committee, said in a recent statement. “The event is special because it is by and for women lawyers about substantive legal issues of the day.”

Topics addressed at the summit included privacy and data security, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, internal investigations, patent law, attorney-client privilege, and leadership issues. Overall, it focused on professional development needs of women general counsel and in-house counsel. Also, NPR’s Nina Totenberg spoke at the event about the Supreme Court.

Schulman took part in a panel called “Practical Tips on Key Corporate Issues Facing In-House Counsel.” Other panelists were Suzanne Graeser and Tessa Schwartz, both of whom work at Morrison & Foerster. Graeser has been co-chair of the Emerging Companies and Venture Capital group. Schwartz has been co-chair of the Cleantech group.

When it comes to the law firm’s overall reputation as a place for women to work, Working Mother listed the firm as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers 13 times. Similarly, Yale Law Women listed the firm in its 2013 survey of the top family-friendly firms. The firm’s part-time/reduced hours policy was among the reasons for the honor.

“MoFo has a long-standing commitment to the advancement of women lawyers,” Schulman said. “The continued growth of the summit underscores the importance of such events for women in our profession.”

In addition, Morrison & Foerster has set up a Twitter account, @MoFoWomen, to report how the firm is promoting women in the legal field, InsideCounsel said.

There is more that needs to be done to increase the number of women attorneys in leadership roles at companies – though the outlook appears to be improving.


Further reading:


Morrison & Foerster shines spotlight on female lawyers

Women may dominate the compliance officer field, but it should lead to other corporate opportunities

Number of women CEOs remains low, but long-term outlook will improve


Contributing Author

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein ( is a veteran freelance writer and and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. He writes frequently for ALM Media's

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