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How to Maintain Inclusivity for Law Firms in a Remote Environment

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Produced on July 17, 2020

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Ethics Covid-19 Anti-Racism Library

Course Description

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional ways of doing business, within firms and with clients and others outside the firm, are no longer the norm. While there have been some positive aspects to remote working, there are also serious concerns about the impact of remote environments on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This course covers (a) the changes in work environment and relationships that are currently in place and may become the “new normal” for an extended period of time; (b) positive and negative aspects of the new normal for diversity and inclusion; and (c) the policies, strategies, and practices in this “new normal” to develop, include, and equitably advance diverse talent at all levels. This program is presented by Paulette Brown, Roberta (“Bobbi”) Liebenberg, and Stephanie Scharf, three of the leading lawyers in the nation working to advance equity in the legal profession.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine how the “new normal” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has been experienced by law firms and practicing lawyers

  2. Identify the positive and negative effects that the “new normal” can have on women and lawyers of color

  3. Develop best practices for firms adapting to the “new normal” to develop and advance diverse talent at all levels

Credit Information

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Stephanie Scharf

Scharf Banks Marmor LLC

Stephanie A. Scharf is founding partner of Scharf Banks Marmor, LLC, a prominent women-owned law firm that represents national and global businesses in litigation. In three decades of representing clients in federal and state  courts, Stephanie has tried and won multiple jury and bench trials have spearheaded the pre-trial, trial and appellate phases of litigation, and has overseen the resolution of multiple commercial disputes and complex tort actions. Stephanie frequently counsels companies on strategies to avoid litigation and mitigate risks at the product or enterprise level.

Stephanie and the Firm has been profiled for the "unique quality of their work" and for "Work at a Very High Level."  The Firm has also been recognized for “delivering great expertise, insight and value” and its “collaborative approach” in supporting its clients. 

A frequent author and CLE speaker, Stephanie created and is the lead editor of PLI's Product Liability Litigation: Current Law, Strategy and Best Practices. She has been named a Leading Lawyer, Best Lawyer, and Super Lawyer, was granted the PLAC President's Award and was selected by Lawdragon Magazine as one of the "500 Leading Litigators in America." She is "AV Preeminent" peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell, reflecting the highest peer recognition for both ethical standards and legal ability.

In addition to her law practice, Stephanie is a Founding Principal with The Red Bee Group, LLC, a consulting firm that helps businesses, organizations and law firms achieve their goals for growth and innovation using data-based strategies with diverse and inclusive solutions.

Stephanie has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences with a focus on social and organizational psychology as well as statistical analysis of large data sets. Before practicing law, she managed large national data-driven initiatives in the areas of health and employment.

Stephanie is one of the nation's leading lawyers for the advancement of women in the profession. She is the 2017-2020 Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. She also co-chairs the ABA Presidential Initiative, Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in the Law; and is a member of the Advisory Board of DirectWomen.  Stephanie is a former President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (2004- 2005). She  was Special Advisor to the  2015-2016 American Bar Association's Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

Stephanie frequently combines her skills in data analytics to create cutting edge research on issues of diversity and inclusion.  Her most recent report, with co-author Roberta Liebenberg,  is Walking Out the Door: The Fact, Figures and Future of Experienced Women in Private Practice. This the innovative study received national attention for its multidimensional perspectives of women, men and managing partners about the status, impediments, and avenues for change to create greater gender diversity at senior levels.  Stephanie also founded and conducted the NAWL Annual Survey of Women in Law Firms (2006-2014); the National Survey of Women's Initiatives (2012);  and the first-ever survey of women as lead counsel in litigation,  First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table (2015), with co-author Roberta Liebenberg.  Stephanie has designed unique and lasting programs, such as the NAWL General Counsel Institute, the NAWL Supreme Court Committee, and the NAWL Summit for Best Practices for Advancing Women in Law.

Stephanie has received many awards in recognition of her work for advancing women in the law including The Chicago Lawyer/Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Salute! Women in the Law Award (2020); The Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Myra Bradwell Award (2018); the National Association of Women Lawyers Public Service Award (2017); the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women Founder’s Award (2015); the National Law Journal Two Steps Forward Award (2014); the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Member Award (2002). She was named by Crain’s Chicago 2017 as one of the 50 most influential women lawyers in Chicago.

Roberta Liebenberg

Fine Kaplan & Black

Roberta (“Bobbi”) Liebenberg, a partner at Fine, Kaplan, and Black in Philadelphia, focuses her practice on antitrust and class actions. She has been appointed by courts to represent plaintiff classes in many class actions, and is now Lead Counsel for the End Payer Purchaser class in the Generic Pharmaceuticals Pricing Antitrust Litigation, which is the largest pending antitrust MDL in the country.  She was one of trial counsel for the class in the Urethanes Antitrust Litigation,  where a $1.06 billion judgment was entered against Dow Chemical Company after a four-week jury trial.  That was the largest price-fixing judgment ever.  The judgment was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit and during Dow’s appeal to the Supreme Court,  it settled for $835 million, the most ever obtained from a single defendant in a price-fixing case. She has also defended Temple University and  Fortune 500 companies, including Southwest Airlines, in class actions and other complex commercial litigation.

Ms. Liebenberg has chaired numerous organizations devoted to gender equality in the profession, including the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the ABA Gender Equity Task Force, the ABA Presidential Initiative on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law,  DirectWomen (the only organization devoted to increasing the number of women attorneys on corporate boards), the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations’ respective committees on women in the profession, and the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness.  In these leadership roles, she has spearheaded a number of initiatives, studies, and publications concerning the gender pay gap,  the under-representation of women lawyers in equity partnerships and positions of power and influence, implicit bias, sexual harassment, and myriad other issues of importance to women lawyers.  Working in collaboration with Stephanie Scharf, Ms. Liebenberg has been at the vanguard of cutting-edge research addressing the dearth of women in leadership roles at trial (“First Chairs at Trial-More Women Need Seats at the Table”)  and the high rates of attrition of experienced women lawyers from private practice (“Walking out the Door: The Facts, Figures, and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice”). In those groundbreaking publications, Ms. Scharf and Ms. Liebenberg provide concrete best practices and solutions to create a more level playing field for women lawyers.

Ms. Liebenberg has received many awards and honors, including  induction into the American Antitrust Institute Private Enforcement Hall of Fame, the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the Lynette Norton Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association,  the Sandra Day O'Connor Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Florence K. Murray Award from the National Association of Women Judges, the Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award from the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, the Martha Fay Africa Golden Hammer Award from the ABA Law Practice Division,  the Lifetime Achievement Award from Corporate Counsel and Inside Counsel magazines, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s “Influencers of Law-Lifetime Achievement Award,”  the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Distinguished Leader Award from The Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia's daily legal newspaper, and the “Outstanding Achievement Award” from Chambers Women in Law. She was named by former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell as a "Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania,” was named by the National Law Journal as one of the “50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America,” was named by the National Law Journal as one of the country’s “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar,” and was named by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the “Best of the Bar.”

Paulette Brown

Locke Lord LLP

Paulette Brown is a member of the labor & employment practice group of Locke Lord LLP and is the Immediate Past President of the American Bar Association. Throughout her career, she has held a number of positions, including in-house counsel to a number of Fortune 500 companies and as a Municipal Court Judge. For the past 30 years, Paulette has engaged in the private practice of law, focusing on all facets of labor and employment and commercial litigation. She has defended employers in cases involving discrimination on the basis of age, sex, marital status, sexual harassment, disability, race, and national origin. Paulette has received results in class action employment discrimination cases based upon race and wage and hour claims. She is also experienced in all aspects of workplace training and collective bargaining.

Paulette litigates in both federal and state courts, as well as arbitration forums for both unionized and non-union employees. She is a certified mediator for the United States District Court, District of New Jersey and a member of the Employment AAA Panel. Paulette is a frequent lecturer on labor and employment issues and issues related to electronic discovery and serves as Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is also a member of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyer and American Law Institute. Additionally, Paulette has been recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of the prominent women and minority attorneys in the State of New Jersey and by the National Law Journal as one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America." She has been listed as an NJ Super Lawyer since its inception and for the past three years as one of the top 50 women lawyers and one of the top 100 lawyers. Ms. Brown has also repeatedly been named by US News as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of Commercial Litigation. Paulette also received DRI's Pioneer Diversity Award and the NJ State Bar Association's Excellence in Diversity Award, and she was honored with the Spirit of Excellence and Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. In 2014, Paulette was honored by the Rutgers Law-Camden Black Law Students Association for exemplifying the values advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Representative Experience

  • Obtained recent summary judgments in ADA matters in both Federal and State Court
  • Obtained recent summary judgment in CEPA matter in State Court
  • Obtained recent summary judgment on Fraud and Breach of Employment Agreement
  • Obtained a ruling sustaining the termination in an arbitration concerning the termination of a union employee for a major manufacturer
  • Obtained a settlement on behalf of a major service provider in unfair labor practices matter concerning union organizing before the NLRB
  • Obtained a TRO and preliminary injunction against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on behalf of a rental car company in an airport taxing matter
  • Reached a nominal settlement on behalf of the employer for all class members in a class action employment matter filed by the EEOC
  • Persuaded plaintiffs to amend their complaint to remove all class allegations in a class action employment matter
  • Achieved summary judgment as to all claims asserted against a large manufacturer of medical equipment in a tortious interference matter
  • Achieved summary judgment for an employer with respect to all plaintiffs, despite alleged inappropriate comments such as references to attendance at “nude” beaches and comments related to plaintiffs' physical attributes in consolidated sexual harassment cases

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Past President, American Bar Association
  • Hall of Fame Inductee, National Bar Association
  • Honorary Doctorate Recipient, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law
  • Martindale Hubbell AV preeminent peer and client review rating
  • Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers
  • Member, American Law Institute
  • Top 25 Women Lawyers in NJ 2015
  • Cover Story
    • Inaugural U.S. News Business Edition Magazine 2016
    • Women Lead Magazine Fall 2015
    • Network Journal “Lawyers at the Top”
  • Chair, Labor & Employment Section, NJ State Bar Association
  • Third Circuit Task Force on Equal Treatment in the Court
  • Board of Directors, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Medal of Honor Award Recipient, New Jersey Bar Foundation
  • Equal Justice Award Recipient, National Bar Association
  • Spirit of Excellence Award Recipient, American Bar Association
  • Award of Excellence Recipient, Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • Gertrude Rush Award Recipient, National Bar Association
  • Professional Lawyer of the Year Award Recipient, New Jersey Commission on Professionalism
  • President’s Award Recipient, Garden State Bar Association
  • The C. Francis Stradford Award Recipient, National Bar Association
  • Named, 2016 Top Women in Law, New Jersey Law Journal

Community Leadership

  • Board Member, Community Trust of New Jersey
  • Legal Services Corporation, Leaders Council
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Board Member, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Board of Visitors, Seton Hall University School of Law
  • National Center for State Courts, Advisory Board, Community Engagement
  • Completely 5 Consecutive Walks for Breast Cancer
  • Boys & Girls Club Advocate
  • Former President of the YWCA of Central New Jersey
  • Led a delegation to monitor the first free and democratic elections in South Africa
  • Completed five 3-day 60 mile walks to raise money through Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation


Evan S.

Good presentation.

William S.

I am a small firm where there is, of necessity, a high degree of interaction . When content relates soley to large firms it is hard to find application in my situation.

Bettye C.

Extremely relevant information during COVID pandemic.

Anthony C.

very important presentation

Sheree W.

Excellent presenters!

Duane B.

Excellent mental health and outlook tips at the end of the presentation! Thank you.

Michael H.


Thomas L.

Good data and practical points on a rapidly evolving area of importance. Thank you for sharing!

Robert L.

Important CLE for legal profession in midst of Covid-19 remote working.

Lynnette S.

Excellent course!

richard l.

Interesting to hear all of the statistics.

Barbara M.

Extremely useful.

Rene B.

Excellent session. Thank you.

Louise N.

Good written material

Natalie G.

The presentation was informative a I enjoyed the panel and how they interacted with each other and the positivity the had.

Lon H.

The course title is deceptive. While the presenters were great, I felt that only about 20% of the materials and of the lecture pertained to the stated subject matter.

Jay G.

Lots to think about.

Teresa V.

Great course! So timely and relevant!

Sharmil M.

I loved the amount of statistics in the presentation.

Dana A.

faculty was exceptional!!

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