NYC Bar Association Women Lawyers Book Club Series: Learning to Lead - What Really Works for Women in Law

  Learning to lead

On Thursday, February 5, 2015, the New York City Bar Association's Women Lawyers Book Club hosted a session named after the book written by Gindi Eckel Vincent and Mary Bailey Cranston entitled, "Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law".  

The event moderator Valerie Fitch, Senior Director of Talent Development at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, discussed some of the principles, career strategies and tips for success gleaned from the women legal leaders who were interviewed for the book.   

Valerie's brief, yet enlightening, synopsis of the book was followed by an interactive small groups discussion.  Each of the five small group facilitators, including Jodi Balsam, Associate Professor of Clinical Law and Director of Civil Externship Programs at Brooklyn Law School and chair of the day's program, was asked to help attendees to map out strategies that could be used to develop leadership skills and scope out opportunities to demonstrate leadership within and outside their organizations.

Some of the leadership challenges that were identified included obstacles associated with being an effective leader with limited resources; overcoming perceptions about ability and desire to lead that are based on marital status and parental responsibilities; leading during or after a personal or professional crisis.

The session was very informative.  Not only did attendees get to identify and discuss their personal challenges, but they also benefited from receiving feedback from their peers about potential action steps and solutions for improving their effectiveness as leaders. For example, one participant suggested that a frustrated leader working with limited resources may need to develop a reliable list of external service providers to help with alleviating time and work load pressures at key periods.  Another attendee encouraged a working mother to continue to express her interest in assuming more leadership roles in her office despite the  perception that she would be unable to perform well as a result of her familial commitments.   

In closing out the session, the moderator Valerie Fitch left participants with a few items to ponder in developing their leadership styles and values:

1.  Are leadership styles different for men and women

2.  Do women lead men differently than they lead other women? 

3.  Think about a time that you led well.  What was particularly notable about this experience?

4.  What is the worst thing that you could do as a leader? How can you recover from this?

Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law is available for purchase on   



First Annual Women of NABA Forum: Navigating Through Turbulent Times: Think Impact, Not Output




On March 13, 2012, NABA hosted it’s First Annual Women of NABA Forum: Navigating through Turbulent Times seminar.  The event was hosted by Morgan Stanley at their mid-town Manhattan office. 


NABA was established by nine African American accountants in New York City in 1969.  It has since grown to more than 100,000 members.  Its mission is to represent and advocate for the interests of its members in furthering their educational, professional and career aspirations in business, with a specific focus on the areas of accounting, consulting, finance and information technology. 


The panel included an amazing group of women with varying academic and professional backgrounds and experience.  The welcome remarks was delivered by Ruth Porat, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Morgan Stanley.  She emphasized the continued value of pursuing a career in financial services even during an economic downturn.  Her advice was to focus on developing new career objectives and seizing new opportunities instead of trying to recreate past successes.  To successfully make this transition, it’s invaluable to have a sponsor in your organization (if employed); a strong network of mentors and supporters, as well as the ability to communicate your strengths both directly and indirectly (i.e. making a contribution at meetings) to your peers and superiors.  Combined with a healthy personal life, Ruth believes this is a fail safe recipe for long-term success in your career.


Kimberley Hatchett, the moderator for the seminar and the Executive Director of Private Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, reiterated Ruth’s charge to find work-life balance.  She encouraged women in the audience to maintain some level a connection to the work force (i.e. consulting) after having children to make it easier to transition back into a career once the children have grown and become more independent. 


Rosalind P. Danner, one of the esteemed panelists and current Vice President of Finance and Business Management at the McGraw-Hill Companies, weighed in on the topic of work-life balance by reminding those in attendance of the importance of having an excellent support system, at home and at the office, that will allow you achieve the balance that will bring success in both areas. 


One panelist, Kathy-Ann Edwards, Assurance Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, had a personal testimony about how she was recently challenged with learning achieving work-life balance with a new born infant, now sixteen months old.  Returning to work three months after giving birth to her daughter, little had changed in the way that she spent her time at the office prior to giving birth.  After feeling burnt out and having a discussion with a sponsor at the firm, she realized that she had to do things differently.  And she did.  She learned how to be more effective in less time leaving ample opportunity to enjoy her bigger family as well as get some well needed rest.  She is a lot happier and more productive. 


Aliah Greene, Executive Director of the Financial Control Group at Morgan Stanley, summed up her theory on work-life balance in one phrase: Think Impact, not output.  Simply, this means focusing on getting the important, urgent matters done first.  This, according to Aliah’s undisputed wisdom, will open up the opportunity to get the smaller things done without feeling overwhelmed.


At the NFL, Natara Holloway finds a lot of enjoyment at work but has recently made a commitment to focus on developing more extra-curricular activities outside the office.  As the Vice President of Retail Development Consumer Products for the league, it easy to see why she has so much fun.  However, given that she can not take the NFL home to bed at night, she urges that it’s essential to nurture your interest outside of work as well so it will one day reciprocate. 


Amen to that! 


NABA Provides Key Rules for Achieving Success in a Competitive Environment

The tumultous economy has caused many changes in the market for job seekers and the employed alike.  For young professionals the market has become even more competitive than in past years.  Being successful in this type of environment requires a more strategic approach to job hunting, lateral moves and securing promotions.  

On November 9, 2011, the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants co-hosted a panel discussion with Ernst & Young  at 5 Times Square, New York, NY, which was directed at helping young professionals with developing their own strategy for achieving success in a competitive environment. 


The session was moderated by Dana Lodge, a fellow transplant from Toronto who is now a Senior Manager in Transaction Advisory Services at Ernst and Young LLP in NY.  The accomplished and erudite panelists, all from Ernst & Young, represented a broad range of experience and expertise.  They were:

  • William (Bill) Barrett, Associate General Counsel in the General Counsel’s office 
  • Cliff Cammock, Assurance Partner in the Financial Services Office (FSO); and
  • David Kadio-Morokro, Advisory Principal in the Financial Services Office (FSO)


The evening started off with casual networking before the speakers were summoned to the microphones to discuss topics such as: building your brand, working across boundaries and standing out from your peers.   The session, primarily geared to young professionals, also provided a lot of insight to the more seasoned professionals in attendance.


Below is a summary of the main points of the presentation:



Bill: deliver good, professional service and your client will always come back.


Cliff: (1) believe you belong; (2) develop the substantive “content” necessary for your area of expertise; (3) think outside the box


David: (1) know your strengths, (2) understand how others perceive you; (3) surround yourself with really good people; (4) have an objective, but be flexible; (5) work hard; and (6) pray for good luck;



Bill: (a) Appearance:  do you appear credible? (b) Personality: how do people experience/perceive you? (c) Competencies: what do you know and what don’t you know? (d) Differentiator: what body of knowledge or experience do you have that separates you from your peer group?


Cliff:  Remember, for every one mistake you make to deteriorate your brand, it takes 17 positive actions to recover


David:  (a) understand how to utilize your brand to help you and your team achieve success; (b) there is no one-size-fits-all brand that will get you to where you want to be.  Develop your own personal brand that is not based on external standards.



Cliff:  global, multi-discipline, culturally diverse teams are the new normal.  Your team will only be as strong as its weakest link.  Know your strengths and your weaknesses so you know when to ask for help and when to provide support to someone else.  This includes challenging other team members, where appropriate, and suggesting alternative approaches to a problem.  This will strengthen the overall performance of the team.


Thank you Ernst & Young and NABA NY for putting on such an informative and successful event.  


© Copyright
written Marsha Henry

Request for Panel Presentations for Ontario-New York Legal Summit 2012


The New York State Bar and Ontario Bar Associations are partnering to present a summit on international/cross-border advisory issues.  The summit is called, “1 Legal System + 2 Jurisdictions = Infinite Opportunity”.  Catchy, right? 


They are hoping that practicing lawyers will jump on the opportunity to be a part of this inaugural event. 


The summit is scheduled to take place in Toronto and Buffalo from March 28-29, 2012.  But right now, the associations are looking for attorneys from both sides of the border to participate on the various panels.


There will be three tracks for the panels:  corporate/transactional issues; litigation and dispute resolution; and general practice topics.  A tax topic can fit into any one of these areas.  The summit will be CLE and CPD accredited for New York and Ontario lawyers, respectively. 

The Summit is currently seeking proposals for panels at this exciting event.

Ideally the panels will consist of equal numbers of New York and Ontario lawyers.  Each panel must have one New York and one Ontario lawyer as co-chairs or moderators.  Each panel will be allotted one hour and 15 minutes.


For more information on the summit and proposal requirements, click here.

TaxQuarry would like to submit a proposal for a panel.  If you are interested in either co-chairing a panel or becoming a speaker on one of the panels, please contact us at: [email protected]

Proposals must be submitted no later than Friday, October 14, 2011.




Women in Tax: NYSBA presents Career Choices in Tax Law


Last year, Tax Diversity conducted a comparative analysis of the status of women in the tax profession.  They looked at data from 2002 and 2009 to determine whether there were any noticeable gender trends in staffing in the accounting/tax industry. 

What they found was the following:

  • A leveling off in the percentage of females entering the profession (33% in 2002 and 35% in 2009);
  • A significant population of females are attracted to sectors that offer them the greatest opportunity of having an acceptable work/life balance;
  • The profession has made great strides in bringing more females into mid-management with an increase of 15% over the past 7 years and senior-executive positions showing an increase of just under 19% over the past 7 years;
  • The greatest advances made by females was evident in mid-management roles at in-house Corporate Tax Departments with an increase of 26% over the past 7 years as opposed to Professional Services which showed an increase of 9% over the past 7 years


With so many more females entering the tax profession and with more available options, women have more choices for the types of roles they can play.  The New York Bar Association has recognized this trend and has decided to provide assistance to female tax professionals planning out their careers.           


On September 22, 2011, the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section will be presenting a panel discussion and networking breakfast for women tax lawyers in New York City.


The purpose of the panel discussion is to provide a forum for women lawyers who have worked in federal and state government, private practice, academia, and in-house, to share their experiences in travelling their various career paths in tax.   They will also discuss the value of government service, and the importance of mentors and networking.


Panelists include:           

Deborah Paul, Moderator (Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz)

Maria Jones (Partner, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP)

Annaliese Kambour (Senior VP Tax, Time Warner Inc.)

Karen Gilbreath Sowell (National Tax Partner, Ernst & Young)


The program begins at 8:00 a.m.  and ends at 9:30 a.m.  The panel discussion will begin promptly at 8:45 a.m. at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP located at 425 Lexington Avenue (between 43rd and 44th Streets), New York, NY 10017.


Please RSVP to Nicole A. Bowen ([email protected]) by Friday, September 16th.


Hope to see you there!


Click here to review the Tax Diversity Study entitled "Women in Tax 2010: A Gender Trend Analysis".  


Are you Interested in Participating in the ABA 2011 Law Student Tax Challenge?



Reality TV seems to be overtaking the world.  We all love to take a sneak peak into what's going on in other people's lives.  We also like to see people take on ridiculous challenges like eating bugs, or drinking toxic liquids, or jumping on bean bags elevated over dirty, muddy water before they are whacked off their safety ledge.  

Well, the ABA Law Student Tax Challenge may not be as exciting or gross, but it may make for some good reality tv in the future, right? Think about it: 20 teams of highly articulate law students battling it out with the tax code in hand.  On second thought, maybe this challenge is more appropriate as a line item on your resume.  

The ABA Law Student Tax Challenge may not be reality tv worthy, but it is definitely a great experience and a great career move.  You should consider taking on the challenge.   

Alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice.  

Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria:  a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to the client explaining the result.  Based on this written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL.M. Division will receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) to the Section's 2012 Midyear Meeting from February 16-18 in San Diego, CA, where they will defend their submissions before a panel of some of the country's top tax practitioners. 

The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and to gain valuable exposure to the tax law community.  On average, more than 50 teams compete in the J.D. Division and more than 30 teams compete in the LL.M. Division.  

For more information, click here or visit the ABA Tax Section webpage at or contact the Tax Section at [email protected] or 202-662-8670. 

Important Dates: 

Problem Release Date:    September 2, 2011

Submission Deadline:       Friday, November, 18, 2011 (5:00PM EST)

Notification of Finalists:   Monday, December 19, 2011

Semi-Final Oral Defense Rounds:    Friday, February 17, 2012 in San Diego, CA


Past oral-round judges have included:

Alexander, William Associate Chief Counsel, IRS

Butler, Deborah, Associate Chief Counsel, IRS

Carluzzo, Lewis R., Special Trial Judge, U.S. Tax Court

Caudill, William H., Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP

Cohen, Adam H., Partner, Holland & Hart, LLP

Colvin, John O., Chief Judge, U.S. Tax Court

Egerton, Charles, Partner, Dean Mead

Franklin, Elke, IRS

Hochman, Nathan, Partner, Bingham McCutchen

Jacobs, Kevin, Associate, Ropes & Gray, LLP

Lipton, Richard, Partner, Baker & McKenzie, LLP

Marvel, L. Paige, Judge, U.S. Tax Court

McKenzie, Robert E., Partner, Arnstein & Lehr

Thomas, Thomas R., Judge, Office Counsel, IRS

Wherry, Robert A. Jr., Judge, U.S. Tax Court

Wilkins, William, Chief Counsel, IRS


Join Us for the NBA/ABA Joint Taxation Section Seminar on May 6, 2010, Washington, DC ***Free***

Are you interested in pursuing a career in tax?  Would you like to talk to top tax practitioners about what is needed to thrive and survive in the tax profession?  Panelists from the US Senate, KPMG, University of Virginia Law School, Skadden Arps and Sutherland Asbill will be on hand to answer your questions and tell you how to get hired.  All for FREE!

 For more information and details on the program, please click on the following link:   Download NBA:ABA Joint Tax Seminars