VWAA Biennial Conference at UVA Inn at Darden

Friday, October 05, 2018


2018 Biennial Conference

FINDING OUR VOICES: Women in the Law 2018 

Achieving success in whatever career path you choose 

University of Virginia Inn at Darden
10 Duffy Blvd
Charlottesville, VA 22903



2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

"Early Bird" Ethics CLE: Opening Your Own Law Office (1.0 Credit Pending)

Elizabeth Shoenfeld, Esq. Va State Bar, will address some of the most common types of complaints that the bar receives, the Rules of Professional Conduct that apply to these types of complaints, and recent cases in which these Rules were applied. It will focus on ethical issues that attorneys are likely to confront when beginning their own law practice.

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

CLE and Panel Discussion: Balancing the Scales: A Film by Sharon Rowen, Attorney/ Filmmaker (1.5 Credit Pending)


This documentary about the struggles of women lawyers in a generational context will be followed by a panel discussion led by guest Sharon Rowen. Sharon is a nationally recognized speaker who is dynamic in her approach to bringing clarity to the challenge of gender equality in the legal profession. From Harvard University to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sharon has delivered the truth about the story of female lawyers in America with humor, transparency, and passion.

Based on interviews conducted over two decades, Balancing the Scales is an insightful look at the story of women lawyers in America. The interviewees include a broad array of lawyers and judges across five generations, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, and Roe v. Wade attorney Margie Pitts Hames. Interviews also include state Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices, women equity partners, minority women, associates, and students. They tell their own remarkable and often hilarious stories, from pioneers who paved the way for today's law students, who don't yet understand the difficulties they will face in the workplace. It explores how discrimination has shifted from overt to subtle, and why women are leaving the profession in droves. It highlights the deep cultural biases and the ingrained presumptions about both the "work" and the "life" parts of the work-life balance. Finally, the film explains why women being promoted to top positions is good for both society; and for firms' bottom lines.

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Cocktail/Networking Hour

6:00 pm



9:00 am - 12:00 pm

"You Be The Judge": Insight from women judges in choosing a judicial career path and navigating the appointment process

A panel discussion led by Michelle R. Parker, Esq., of The Decker Law Firm, Past President VWAA. Panelists include:

  • The Honorable Sarah Deneke, Judge
    Caroline County Circuit Court
  • The Honorable Kimberly Irving, Judge
    Prince William County Circuit Court
  • The Honorable Deborah S. Tinsley, Judge
    Louisa Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
  • The Honorable Victoria A.B. Willis, Judge
    Stafford County Circuit Court
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Vivian-Hamilton Keynote Speaker: Vivian Hamilton, Professor of Law, Affiliated Professor
Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies, W&M School of Law

Professor Hamilton earned her B.A. from Yale College and graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. After earning her law degree, Professor Hamilton clerked for Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She later practiced law as a litigation associate at Steptoe & Johnson L.L.P. in Washington, D.C., then worked as a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Washington, D.C. Professor Hamilton joined William & Mary in 2007.

1:30 pm

Employment and Labor Law for Non-Employment Attorneys CLE: Considerations for Women in Leadership Positions - Sexual Discrimination and Other Laws You Need to Know in Leading a Law Firm (1.0 Credit Pending )

Kris Spitler, Esq., Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. will focus on:

  1. Sexual discrimination in the workplace including the effect of the #MeToo and Time's Up Campaigns in today's changing cultural landscape
  2. Equal pay laws and gender discrimination cases filed against law firms
  3. Other employment laws which leaders should be aware of when running their firm/businesses.

Open and lively discussion, questions and sharing of experiences and challenges are encouraged.


UVA Inn at Darden
10 Duffy Blvd
Charlottesville, VA 22903

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