On October 5, 2023, the Utah Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, in partnership with the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, the Women Lawyers of Utah, and the Utah State Bar were proud to present Staying in the Game, a CLE event centered on the topic of Recruiting, Retaining, and Promoting the Advancement of Women and Diverse Talent in the Legal Profession. We gathered at noon and enjoyed a delicious catered lunch from Roula’s Cafe for two hours at the Orrin G. Hatch U.S. Courthouse’s Jury Assembly Room or via Zoom. The program was designed to encourage women and diverse talent to get in —and stay in—the game and to address how practitioners and organizations can act as champions in recruiting, retaining, and promoting the advancement of women and diverse talent in the legal profession.
The first hour was a Judicial Panel featuring the Honorable Carolyn B. McHugh, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the Honorable Daphne A. Oberg, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, the Honorable Cecilia M. Romero, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, and the Honorable Peggy Hunt, Bankruptcy Judge, U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah. The panel was moderated by Artemis D. Vamianakis, Fabian VanCott. The judges discussed lots of important topics and issues, including how they “got in the game” and what factors allowed them to “stay in the game” and get to where they are today. They shared their motivations for sticking around, champions in their career who helped promote their advancement, and policies that allowed them to succeed. They also addressed the discouraging lack of professionalism and civility from opposing counsel that attorneys sometimes feel, and discussed ways that attorneys can rely on the rules of professionalism and civility to push back against these situations. They rounded it off with fantastic advice for law students and young attorneys in the crowd about how to find their place in the profession, use their voice, and have the courage to stick around despite difficulties.
The second hour was a Practitioner Panel with attorneys offering practical strategies and best practices for firms and organizations at various levels. The presenters included Tracy S. Combs, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Christina M. Jepson, Parsons Behle & Latimer; Andrea T. Martinez, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah; Caroline A. Olsen, Zimmerman Booher; Artemis D. Vamianakis, Fabian VanCott; and was moderated by Jenifer Tomchak; Tomchak Skolout Law. The panel addressed a number of important issues, including discussions on how law firms can navigate the new climate in the wake of the Supreme Court’s affirmative action decision and ensure that their diversity programs and policies are still thriving despite the legal pushback. They also discussed various programs and policies that they have seen to be effective among legal employers.
We were grateful that so many members of the judiciary and legal profession, as well as law students and students interested in attending law school, attended and benefited from the collective wisdom and advice of the panelists. There were over 200 people listening in the room or virtually. Thank you for your support of these important topics and for everything you do to make the legal profession a more inclusive place for people of all identities and backgrounds.