Women in Law Section

The Women In Law Section offers an effective platform for women lawyers to advocate on behalf of women in the legal profession. In seeking to improve the standard of excellence in the practice of law, we:

  • Secure the full participation of women in the justice system and the legal profession

  • Empower women to excel by providing effective mentoring, training and support

  • Provide networking opportunities for women lawyers

  • Assist law firms and organizations in their efforts to attract and retain women lawyers

  • Provide women lawyers an avenue to return to the active profession of law

We do this by providing the necessary support, resources, training and networking to women lawyers as well as our male colleagues, and by partnering with other advocacy organizations.  

As women, we know all about giving, supporting others, and doing a great job. But when it comes to our careers, we need to think proactively: take. Take control. Decide where we want to be, and how we are going to get there. Take credit for our accomplishments. Take the initiative to network, and to develop business. Take the initiative to find diverse mentors. Take advantage of opportunities as they arise, especially those outside of our comfort zone. 


Rebecca Bennett 





 Rebecca J. Bennett 


Amelia J. Leonard 


Patricia Missal 


Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.  



Leonard Legal Services, LLC 



The Numbers Group 

Executive Council
The Executive Council consists of the officers and at least three members at large.

The at large members include:

Susan Vitaz White
Kami Brauer

Advisory Council
Elaine Eisner
Ann M. Caresani
Sherri L. Dahl

Click here to view the Section's bylaws. 

The Committees are aligned with the objectives of the Section, which are (1) mentoring; (2) networking; (3) professional and community leadership; and (4) advocacy on behalf of women lawyers.

Become more involved with WIL - join one of our committees!   Click here to complete the Section's Volunteer Form. 

Membership Development and Advocacy Committee

Chair: To Be Announced

The Membership Development and Advocacy Committee seeks to increase the involvement, commitment, and engagement of section members in order to provide a section that advocates for the advancement of women in the legal profession and provides continued value to members. In addition to fostering current relationships with section members, the Committee seeks to increase involvement from law firms, corporations, and government attorneys that are not currently involved in the section in order to create a better awareness of what the section does as well as form strategic relationships.

Not only does the Section offer free monthly lunches to Section members, but it has reduced cost CLE offerings, numerous networking opportunities, and Food for Thought small group meetings.

The Committee will also be reaching out to women’s initiative and diversity leaders at law firms that are underrepresented in the section. Committee members will engage in discussions with these leaders to determine how the section can best meet the needs of women lawyers and to inform these leaders of the numerous benefits of the section. Time will also be spent reaching out to those current members who are non-lawyers that take advantage of the CMBA’s Affiliate Membership program. Engaging these members will provide the Committee with insight as to the value the section provides to non-lawyers as well as how to attract and retain non-lawyer members.

The Committee will also coordinate with Diversity Circle regarding the Spring Diversity and Inclusion Conference.

Input from existing members is essential to the continued success of the section. Therefore, the Committee welcomes and thanks all returning members, and seeks input from them regarding how the section can better meet their individual needs.

The Committee is always looking for volunteers who are committed to providing consistent support and help.

Food for Thought 

Chair:  Susan Vitaz White

This networking and mentoring program runs from September through May. Groups are formed based on preferences such as breakfast, lunch, or cocktail hour, and geographic location. Group members are diverse, ranging from law students to experienced professionals.   Click here to join Food for Thought for 2014.  Please register before September 5.

Professional Development and CLE Committee

Chair and Liaison to the CMBA Staff: Kami Brauer

The Professional Development & CLE Committee will focus on programming designed to advocate on behalf of women lawyers and to develop and enhance leadership skills within the law firm environment and other legal work environments, and in the community at large. Proceeds from the CLE Program, excluding the December program, remain with the Section.

The Committee is in the process of arranging various other programs to be announced later.

Four or five members needed to help secure speakers, plan programs, and attend/coordinate some of the programs. While the programs are held throughout the year, members should be ready to dive in immediately, as the committee’s activities primarily occur during the first few months of the bar year.

The WIL Roster is now available through Section's Community Page.  To access the Community Page, log in to the CMBA website and click on "profile" in the upper right corner.  Select "My Communities" from the menu bar, and then select Women in Law.  The directory is located under the Documents tab.  For more information on Communities, please click here to view the Community Guide 

The Women in Law Section holds meetings at the CMBA at Noon on the first Wednesday of every month.  These meetings are intended as an opportunity for networking, mentoring, and becoming more involved with the Section.  Meetings typically end at 1:00, or may be scheduled to run longer if accompanied with CLE. Minutes are posted to keep those who are unable to attend informed.  Section Members, and anyone considering membership, are welcome to attend! 

If you are not receiving emails about monthly meetings and other events, your email system may be blocking these messages. Please check whether you can add contacts to prevent this from occurring, or consider asking CMBA to use your personal email address. You can also join our LinkedIn group, check Communities, and check this website for updates. 

Meeting Materials: 

Agenda - July 2014 Meeting 

The Women in Law Section invites you to join our LinkedIn group.


The Women in Law members are invited to propose an article they would like to write for the April issue of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar  Journal.  Click here to view the Submission Guidelines. Proposals should be sent to the Section Chair.

Please click here to view the April 2014 issue of the Bar Journal.

Thank you to the National Association of Women Lawyers for sharing its 2012 Report on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law. Here is a snippet:

"The good news is that, in general, women are holding their own: for example, although median equity partner compensation is down across the board, women's compensation has declined less than men's. The bad news is that along every dimension of comparison, and in spite of law firms' expressed support for gender equity, women have not made significant progress either economically or in reaching leadership roles during the seven years the Survey has measured the impact of gender in law firms."

Click here to view the full report.

Good Reads

        Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Want - by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

        The Comeback - by Emma Gilbey Keller

        Why Women Still Can't Have It All? - by Anne-Marie Slaughter, published in The Atlantic

        Elite Women Put a New Spin on an Old Debate - by Jodi Kantor, published in The New York Times

Professional Associations for Women Lawyers

        American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession 

        National Association of Women Lawyers 

        National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations 

        Ohio Women’s Bar Association 

        National Association of Women Judges 

        The National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms 

        Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts 

        Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia 

        Minority Corporate Counsel Association 

Business Associations for Women

        National Association of Women Business Owners 

        Catalyst: Expanding Opportunities for Women in Business 

Education Resources for Women

        In House Blog 

        Ms. J.D. Blog at Yale Law School 

        Attorney Mentoring for Women 

        Women’s Rights Law Reporter 

        Hastings Women’s Law Journal 

        Women & the Law 

        Women in Law Empowerment Forum 

Law Firm Resources

        Flex-Time Lawyers LLC® is a national consulting firm advising law firms, corporations and lawyers on work/life balance and the retention and promotion of women attorneys.

        Recruiting and Retaining Minority and Women Lawyers 

Organizational Tools for Women

        National Women’s Law Center 

        IM Diversity 

Sites for the Multi-Tasking Mom

Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association (MAMA)

                Seattle Chapter 

                San Diego Chapter 

        Dress for Success Cleveland 

        Beyond Motherhood 

        The Comeback 

Check out the Women in Law Community to view the latest version of the Section roster, which includes contact info and practice areas for our members.

To access the Community, follow these instructions:

  • Sign in to the CMBA website and select "profile" in the upper right corner. 
  • On the menu bar, select "My Communities" to view a list of your available communities
  • Select Women in Law Section
  • Once inside the Community, the roster is found in the "Documents" tab

Please click here to email Samantha Pringle with any questions, or call the CMBA at 216-696-3525.