An Opportunity or a Landmine: Promoting Gender Diversity from the Bench

On Nov. 18, Hon. Kathryn Vratil appointed 11 female lawyers to a 20-lawyer executive committee overseeing approximately 300 cases consolidated in In re: Ethicon Inc. Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation.1 The appointments marked the first time women composed the majority of a leadership committee in a consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceeding.2 While the press covering the mass tort and the class action bar lauded the milestone, the applause made me slightly uneasy.

A Conversation with Tara Kelly of BP

Professional women are an ever-increasing presence in the energy industry, thanks in part to concerted efforts by the industry to engage women in the workforce. For example, women represent more than 30 percent of BP’s hires in recent years, and the company’s goal is to have women comprise 25 percent of senior leaders by 2020. Female attorneys practice in BP’s legal department at even higher percentages.

Attorneys at Home: The Forgotten Resource for Legal Aid Delivery

Attorneys who leave their legal careers for home and family obligations often feel set afloat on the proverbial iceberg—with the parting advice to keep their legal skills current and stay in touch if they are serious about reentry. While the advice is true, it is enormously difficult to put into action. I found myself on this iceberg and, after experiencing the obstacles of practicing pro bono from the suburbs with children, developed a model to remove those hurdles.

Staying in the Game: Women, Leadership, and the Law

Believing that this issue demands the attention of the legal community, the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (FBA), along with co-sponsoring organizations Stetson University College of Law, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, the George Edgecomb Bar Association, and the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, offered an innovative leadership program in 2015: “Staying in the Game: Women, Leadership, and the Law.”

A View From the Well

What constitutes a good trial judge depends in large part on one’s point of view. A judge may have a different perspective of what makes a good trial judge than a lawyer, a criminal defendant, or a civil litigant. This article purports only to articulate my opinion, from the point of view of a trial attorney, of what makes a good trial judge. I have entitled it “A View,” not “The View,” intentionally, to reflect my recognition that other trial attorneys likely have different opinions of what makes a good judge.4

Oh Snap!

Move over email, and take a back seat, text messages. Mobile apps such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Kik Messenger are fast taking the lead role in electronic communications. This social media shift creates new issues in litigation related to electronically stored information just as the 2015 revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure promise to shake up the ever-evolving field of electronic discovery.


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