The Fourth Annual LCLD Fellows Alumni Conference will take place June 11-14, 2015 at Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Louisiana. Attendees will participate in a full agenda including substantive sessions on leadership, diversity in the legal profession, corporate board participation, executive education, and the judiciary.
“The LCLD Fellows Alumni Conference was founded by the Fellows Alumni and it has thrived on their hard work, creativity, passion, and most importantly, support,” said Andrew Giacomini, LCLD Board Member and Managing Partner of Hanson Bridgett LLP. “The continued growth of the entire Fellows and Fellows Alumni programs depends largely on involvement from the Fellows Alumni, and one of the best ways to demonstrate this commitment is to attend the conference.”
The keynote speaker will be Kenji Yoshino, a constitutional law professor at New York University School of Law and expert on the detrimental effects of "covering"—the tendency of individuals to over-manage or downplay their differences from others at work. Additionally, Sharon Davies, Executive Director and law professor at the Kirwan Institute on Race and Ethnicity of The Ohio State University, will speak about diversity in the legal profession.
“At the past two Fellows Alumni Conferences, I learned about solving challenges that corporate law departments face,” said Gerard Gregoire (pictured above), 2012 Fellow and Director of Litigation Services at Allstate Insurance Company. “The leadership and professional improvement presentations resulted in personal growth for me and my direct reports, as I’ve passed these lessons on to my team.”
The Co-Chairs of this year’s conference are 2013 Fellows Darwin Conner (pictured at right), a Partner at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, and Brian Seaman (below), Counsel at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP. Both were inspired to plan this year’s conference because of experience as previous attendees.
“I had such a positive experience at last year’s Fellows Alumni Conference because the speakers were informative and the events were perfect for networking,” Conner said. “The entire Alumni Conference Committee has worked very hard with the Fellows Alumni Executive Council to bring in speakers who will continue to foster leadership skills, discuss timely legal issues, provide information helpful to both in-house and outside counsel, and design activities to strengthen and build our networks.”
Seaman added, “When Darwin and I began planning this year’s alumni conference, we wanted to create an experience that is a direct extension of the energy and inspiration that we felt during our Fellowship year.”
In addition to the traditional conference sessions, Fellows Alumni may participate in a local community service project and will have numerous opportunities to attend networking events. Considering the results of the After the JD III: Third Results from a National Study of Legal Careers study, published by the American Bar Foundation (ABF) and the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, the importance of such networking is clear. The study found that women and minority lawyers are more likely to experience social isolation. According to Bob Nelson, ABF Director and MacCrate Research Chair in the Legal Profession, “The most socially isolated groups were also most likely to have left their firms or not be in equity partnership positions at firms.”
LCLD surveyed Fellows and Fellows Alumni last year on the indicators of social isolation adapted from the After the JD study, and Nelson’s analysis of the data showed that LCLD Fellows do not experience the same levels of social isolation. This holds true even when the numbers are broken down by race and gender. Consistent with his finding, 60 percent of Fellows and Fellows Alumni surveyed last year cited relationship development and networking as the most significant benefits of the programs.
“While I’ve experienced numerous benefits as an LCLD Fellow, the relationships I forged and the contacts I made were undoubtedly my greatest takeaways,” said Demetra Liggins (pictured left in the photo at right), a 2012 Fellow and Partner at Thompson & Knight LLP. “Now, as a graduate of the program, I remain connected and continue to build relationships through the Fellows Alumni Conferences. LCLD says it’s designed to establish partnerships between firms and clients to broaden the diversity of leadership in the legal profession, and that’s exactly what has happened.”
This year, as a result of the growing number of Fellows Alumni in attendance, the Fellows Alumni Conference has a registration fee to help cover increased expenses (including speaker fees and a group dinner). Those employed by corporations will pay a registration rate of $150 through June 1, 2015. Those employed by law firms will pay a fee of $200 if they register by April 30, 2015 and an increased fee of $250 from May 1 – June 1, 2015. The rate structure has been designed to accommodate the leaner budgets of Member corporations and encourage early law firm registration, while also keeping Member firms’ budgets in mind.
“I wholeheartedly support the attendance of all Fellows from my law firm to the Fellows Alumni Conference in New Orleans,” Giacomini said. “I hope every alumnus who can attend, does attend.”