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What Legal Organizations Can Do to Get More Senior Women Leaders

(512 reviews)

Produced on February 10, 2020

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Course Information

Time 1h 3m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Ethics Labor & Employment

Course Description

Join presenters Andrea S. Kramer (“Andie”) and Alton B. Harris (“Al”), who have been working together for more than 30 years to promote gender equality in the workplace, for this important program about overcoming gender bias in the legal profession. They discuss the career achievement disparity between female and male lawyers, and make clear that none of the common explanations – women’s lesser ambition, different life preferences, and greater domestic responsibilities – account for this disparity. They persuasively argue that gender stereotypes and the biases that flow from them are the true cause of women’s and men’s unequal career success in the legal profession. They then present specific techniques and practices women, men, and legal organizations can use to avoid or overcome the often subtle and unconscious discriminatory consequences of gender biases, against the background of the implications of the ABA’s Model Rule 8.4(g).

About the Faculty

Married to each other, Andie and Al are highly successful lawyers who have mentored thousands of women over the course of their careers. Andie is a partner in an international law firm, a founding member of her firm’s Diversity Committee and chair emerita of its Gender Diversity Subcommittee. She currently serves on the advisory board to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, Diversity and Inclusion. Al was a founding partner of a successful Chicago law firm, where he served for many years as managing partner and then as a member of its Executive and Compensation Committees. Over the course of his career, Al grew increasingly concerned about the barriers and biases women faced in traditionally male career environments. Because of this concern, Al has mentored and advised women in many career fields, focusing on the communication skills they need to advance despite the prevalence of negative gender stereotypes.

Andie and Al are coauthors of Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work, which was named one of the best business books of 2016 by Women@Work and called by Publishers Weekly “a well-organized, well-thought-out call to action.” Publishers Weekly called their second book, It’s Not You, It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work and the Bias that Built It, (Nicholas Brealey, 2019), “a refreshing, well-timed rebuttal to a hackneyed old fiction that blames individual women for the institutional biases they face.” Porchlight Books (formerly 800-CEO-Read) named it one of the 2019 “Books to Watch.”

You can learn more at www.AndieandAl.com and follow them both on Twitter at @AndieandAl.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore the pervasive nature of gender stereotypes with respect to women, men, families, work, and leadership
  2. Recognize how these gender stereotypes result in discriminatory biases that operate to hold women back in their legal careers
  3. Identify practical strategies and effective techniques to avoid or overcome gender bias and achieve gender equality in the legal profession

Credit Information

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Andrea S. Kramer

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Andie has vigorously worked to remove discriminatory barriers to women’s career advancement for over 30 years. Despite her successful and demanding legal practice, Andie has helped thousands of women navigate both obvious and subtle gender-based obstacles to successful careers. Her keen insights into the nature and operation of gender bias and her pragmatic techniques for avoiding or overcoming these obstacles have made her a nationally recognized authority on gender discrimination, the nature and operation of stereotypes and biases, and practices and policies to increase women’s leadership opportunities.

Andie is the co-author, with her husband, Al Harris, of Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work (2016) and It’s Not You It’s the Workplace, Women’s Conflicts at Work and the Bias that Built It (August 2019). She is a co-author of the American Bar Association’s guide “What You Need to Know About Negotiating Compensation.” She has written hundreds of articles and blog posts, and she’s a Forbes contributor.

Andie is a partner in an international law firm where she was the first chair of its Gender Diversity Committee and now takes great pride that her firm has recently been named one of the “10 Best Big Law Firms for Female Attorneys.” She was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal for her “demonstrated power to change the legal landscape, shape public affairs, launch industries, and do big things.” She also received the Founders Award from the Chicago Bar Association, the Women with Vision Award from the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, the Inspiration Award from the Coalition of Women in Law Initiatives, and was named the 2014 Gender Diversity Private Practice Lawyer of the Year by ChambersUSA for her outstanding contributions to furthering the advancement of women in law.

Andie is a dynamic, inspirational speaker who conducts workshops around the country on gender, bias, communication, and workplace relationships. She draws on her research, work advocating for women, and professional experiences to provide realistic, detailed, and readily usable advice. More about Andie, her writing, and her upcoming speaking engagements can be found at www.AndieandAl.com.

Alton B. Harris

Nixon Peabody

Al was a founding partner of a Chicago law firm that, having grown from five lawyers to 125 lawyers, merged into a much larger national law firm. Al served for many years as managing partner and then as a member of its Executive and Compensation Committees. In these roles, he had extensive experience mentoring and advising women in many career fields.

Over the course of his career, Al has grown increasingly concerned about the barriers and biases women face in gendered workplaces, characterized by masculine norms, values, and expectations. Al’s extensive research, astute observations, and pragmatic voice have made him a nationally recognized advocate for women’s career advancement.

Al focuses on the communication skills women need to advance in their chosen fields, despite the prevalence of negative gender stereotypes. A frequent lecturer and keynote speaker, Al speaks to women about what male colleagues expect from future leaders, offering creative ideas and useful techniques for women to be seen as talented leaders. Al also speaks to organizations about the negative effect that gender bias has on their organizations, providing practical steps to eliminate gender bias.

Al is author with his wife, Andie Kramer, of the book Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work, which was named one of the best business books of 2016 by Women@Work and “a well-organized, well-thought-out call to action: by Publishers Weekly. Their second book, It’s Not You, It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work at the Bias that Built It was released in August 2019. He is the coauthor over 175 articles and blog posts on promoting diversity and overcoming stereotypes and biases.


Jeffrey Thorn T.

Very good presenters.

Lisa L.

Enjoyed this presentation

Tina P.

Excellent, practical course. Real content,

David F.


Carol M.

Very interesting and informative. Both presenters very clear and engaging.

Donna A.

Sexual harassment is the major obstacle to women advancing in the legal profession.

Susan M.

Very thought provoking content!

Carolyn G.

I got better at handling the cultural issues as I got older but by then I was long gone from the big firm! I was not alone. Very few women could thread the needle of the Goldilocks dilemma. Oh, and here's a quote from one of the senior partners of the second firm I tried: "You women need wives!" Kind of true and I knew what he meant, but it felt not good. My boss came to talk to me about a woman who didn't make partner and said "All I can do is make decisions on a case by case basis, as I see it." I asked him, "If you are making decisions on case by case basis, how come all your decisions come out the same?" He had no answer. I felt OK saying that because we liked each other, I already had decided to leave the firm (but had not announced my intentions), and I hoped to help others coming up in the ranks. He went on to become managing partner. They hired some women but then they starved us of mentorship, collegiality, and opportunity to grow in skill. If I knew then what I know now, I might have been able to work through the thicket but I didn't know. And I didn't have to stay so I did not!

Erin M.

Great content-good suggestions

Elizabeth R.

Really good presentors!

Isabella D.

Informative and interesting.

Barbara A.

Excellent presentation and presenters!

Michael C.


Louise F.

Very good!

Deborah D.

I enjoyed the program.

Francine T.

Enjoyed the colloquy between Andy and Al. Insightful and informative. Thank you.


Very interesting and insightful presentation

Amy C.

Loved the presenters. Very informative and thought provoking. My favorite session so far.

Suzanne G.

Very knowledgeable speakers

David D.

Excellent presentation and discussion.

Delia J.

This is the best CLE I have ever watched on the need for diversity of women in the law subject area.

Mary Ann S.

Fantastic seminar, which should be viewed by every HR Dep’t and law firm Managing Partner.

irina k.

Loved it. Powerful kind of sad but also inspiring.

Michelle K.

Excellent content

Tiffany A.

A must-watch!

Ewa N.

Great speakers!

Amy P.

This course should be required for everyone.

Robert F.


Kay R.

Excellent! Would love to have a conversation with both Andie & Al.

lisa h.

The speakers were excellent and their suggestions and examples were insightful.

joelle w.

Interesting discussion!

Margaret H.

Andie and Al, thank you for your clarity and suggestions!

Byron M.

Informative presentation. It was interesting to hear the presenters address the causes of underlying bias. I think it is unfortunate (but true) that white males in positions of authority do not recognize their bias toward women or persons or color.

Evelyn M.

This program should be required viewing in any legal setting, whether small or large firm, corporate legal department, or governmental organization. Clear and great!

Stacy C.

Well done course! Nice flow between the speakers.

Deanna M.

These two were great!

Anna T.

Great deck/materials! Very informative and not just common sense stuff. Would recommend for all men to watch this to be better allies to women.

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