"Off The Record" Luncheon Networks Women Lawyers and Students

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On February 25, The University of Tulsa College of Law hosted the “Off The Record: Straight Talk from Successful Women Lawyers” luncheon sponsored by the McAfee & Taft law firm.

The event allowed 49 TU women law students to meet successful women lawyers from both private practice and industry in a relaxed environment. Discussion topics included real-world concerns women attorneys face that are not discussed in the classroom.

The National Association for Law Placement has reported on the existing gender gap in the legal profession, noting that women earn 85 percent of what men earn, women are underrepresented as firm partners, and women report lower levels of satisfaction in working for firms.

Kristine Bridges, Assistant Dean and Director of Professional Development for the TU College of Law, said these facts demonstrate the value programs such as the “Off The Record” luncheon hold for women law students.

“Women attorneys face some unique challenges during their careers,” she said. “It is important for our students to be prepared for those challenges and to know there is a network of successful professionals who are ready and willing to support them.”

TU students attending praised the event, saying it led to a better understanding of professional life.

 “I am very thankful to the law school and McAfee & Taft for hosting this event,” said Jessica Hunt, a third-year law student. “I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The professionals voiced similar praise.

“The attorneys were very positive in their response, and many have expressed a desire to participate in future programs,” said Rachel Blue, intellectual property attorney with McAfee & Taft and one of the event organizers. “I really think we may have gotten as much out of the program as the students did.”

Other professionals participating in the event were Lynn Conard of the United States Beef Corporation, Jenna R. Johnston of Tyson Foods, Inc., Connie Lee Kirkland of the Williams Companies, Inc., Nancy Pruitt of BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma and Kendra Robben of the Juell Companies, LLC. Participants from McAfee & Taft were Leanne Barlow, Heidi Brasher, Kathy Neal, Jenna Rader, Christina Vaughn, Susan Walker, Jennifer Wheeler and Sharolyn Whiting-Ralston.

Jimmy Hart