SMSNew Hampshire Governor Margaret Hassan '85 servd as the keynote speaker at the law school's sixth annual Women in the Law Conference on May 16, 2014. "Our judgement is at its best when it is informed by our skills, mistakes, triumphs, education and what we learn from everyone around us," Hassan told the 90 attendees. 

The daylong conference also included two panel discussions and breakout sessions covering topics such as learning to take risks and risk-taking in certain areas of law. 

The annual Women in the Law conference provides career guidance and professional development growth to women attorneys and other professionals at all stages of their careers and brings together powerful decision makers from Boston and beyond.

Lingos Law

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>>2014 Conference Materials and Related Links

>>Download 2014 program booklet

*All sessions take place in Dockser 240, unless otherwise noted. 

Conference Schedule

Friday, May 16, 2014

8:30 a.m.

Registration, Networking and Continental Breakfast
240 Dockser Hall 

9:00 a.m.

Dean Jeremy Paul, Northeastern University School of Law
Sofia Lingos ’09 and Christina Miller ’98 (Conference Chairs)

9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

Keynote Address
Governor Margaret Hassan ’85

10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

Coffee and networking with Governor Hassan
Location: Lounge outside 240 Dockser 

10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Panel 1: Taking Risk in an Unforgiving World

Risk can be difficult to manage and embrace — especially for lawyers trained to exhaustively anticipate and answer every last question — but it's often integral to success. The reality is that circumstances will eventually require you (as a lawyer and as a human being) to leap, whether you practice for-profit or public interest law, in a small or large firm or as a solo practitioner. In this session, you will hear from those who have taken risks: panelists will share stories of how they handled challenges, how they might have done it differently (or not) and how the experience impacted their careers. Having landed firmly on the other side of various legal leaps, these professionals will offer insights on the ways embracing risk brought them to where they are today.

Moderator: Professor Lucy Williams, Northeastern University School of Law


  • Margaret Burnham, Professor of Law, Northeastern University
  • Adriane Dudley ’72 Senior Partner, Dudley Rich Davis LLP, Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
  • Erin V. Freeborn ’10, Executive Director, Juvenile Court Restorative Justice Diversion
  • Maura Healey ’98, Candidate for Attorney General
 11:35 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.

Panel 2: Know Thyself: Pre-Leap Planning

Before taking a risk, you need to make sure you're prepared. That means doing your homework: looking inward to understand your motives and clearing up unfinished business cluttering the way. It's particularly important to recognize how we, as women, often sabotage our own success — fearing to fail so that we never try, believing that failing is bad or simply chalking up our achievements to luck and timing rather than hard work and talent. On this panel, you'll meet women reflecting on how they prepared to embark on their journeys. Learn how they looked within, talked back to those false perceptions and have become FEARLESS.

Moderator: Doris Roach '86, Executive Coach, Management Consultant and Courage Specialist


  • Kate Cook, Chief Legal Counsel, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts
  • Bridget Cooper, Ed.D., Leadership Training Expert, Executive & Life Coach
  • Betty Francisco '98, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and General Counsel, Millennium Partners Sports Club Management LLC
  • Kathy Henry ’00, Deputy General Counsel, Plymouth Rock Assurance
12:40 - 1:40pm 

Professional Headshots

Complimentary photos taken for participants who have signed up in advance – for your Linkedin and websites. There will be two photographers taking head shots in two different spots. You will need to pre-register at registration. Space is limited. Don’t forget to dress accordingly.

12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

Location: Dockser Commons

1:45-2:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions I: Taking and Managing Risks Differs Depending on Your Practice Area.

Join your colleagues in practice specific sessions as they share how they’ve leaped to success.

Room 42: In House, Corporate, and Transactional Law

In the business world, some level of risk taking is inevitable if an organization is to achieve its objectives. On a daily basis, business lawyers are called upon to help the organizations that they represent identify and strategically manage a myriad of legal and business risks. To succeed and thrive professionally in a business environment, lawyers have to be comfortable not only with advising on risk, but also with taking professional risks themselves to continue to develop professionally. Our discussion will focus on how to develop your career inside a corporation or working with corporations and how to take risks that can reward you professionally in this context.
Breakout leaders: 

  • Janene Ásgeirsson '01, Counsel, Wilmer Hale
  • Christine Alibrandi O’Connor ’95, Director, Health Policy, Northeast Delta Dental

Room 44: Litigation

As litigators, we constantly assess risk and advocate for our clients in many forums. We identify the risk that our client will face a lawsuit or criminal charges, and we work to mitigate that risk. We also evaluate the risks and benefits of our litigation strategy should matters come to court. As women litigators, we also face individual risks: How do we map out a career plan and should we adjust that plan to accommodate personal life transitions? How do we strive for work/life balance in a fast paced practice with high client expectations and court-imposed deadlines? 

Breakout Leaders:

  • Monica Kieser '99, Staff Attorney, New Hampshire Public Defender's Office
  • Jamie Notman '09, Associate, Litigation Department, Edwards Wildman

Room 46: Public Interest and Government

Government and Public Interest attorneys face distinct risks. Attorneys experienced in these fields have developed uniquely tailored strategies for navigating the small and large-scale political climates of their work environments. We will discuss how to thoughtfully take risks and consciously live with the choices we make in the course of government and public interest careers.

Breakout Leaders:

  • Christina Miller ’98 Chief, District Courts, Suffolk County District Attorney's Office
  • Melissa Shannon ’99, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs at Commonwealth Care Alliance 
2:55 - 3:55 p.m.  

Breakout Sessions II: Professional Development

Room 46: Marketing You/Creating Your Own Personal Brand

Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Developing a personal brand is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan and business development efforts. Come learn rewarding ways to conduct smart self-promotion and create your personal brand online, in print and in person.

Breakout Leaders:

  • Susan Letterman White, Letterman White Consulting
  • Sofia Lingos ’09 

Room 44: Exceptional Leadership Skills: Learning to Lead and Take Risks at Appropriate Times

Experienced attorneys lead by example, managing through wisdom gained through tough experiences and complex problem solving. Learn from those who manage egos, personalities, and fears about how to lead with confidence and insight.

Breakout Leaders:

  • Carmelyn P. Malalis '01, Partner, Outten & Golden LLP
  • Judith Scott '74, General Counsel, Service Employees International Union

Room 42: Speed Mentoring


Just like it sounds -- In 15-minute blocks of time, experienced mentors will evaluate next steps, advise on fearless career decisions and more.

Speed Mentors include:

  • Janene Ásgeirsson '01, Counsel, Wilmer Hale
  • Navjeet Bal ’89, Counsel, Nixon Peabody, Public Finance Group
  • Kelly Douglas ’92, Senior Employment Counsel/North America; Data Privacy Officer/U.S., Draeger Medical Systems, Inc
  • Kimberly Dougherty ’03, Managing Attorney, Boston Office, Janet, Jenner and Suggs
  • Sheilah McCarthy ’91, Partner, Lenow and McCarthy
  • Kathy Morris ’75, President, Under Advisement, Ltd.
  • Cynthia Stewart Reed '80, President and CEO, LTR Holdings, LLC 
  • Rachael Rollins '97, Chief Legal Counsel, Massachusetts Port Authority
4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Networking Reception

We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of our Women in the Law Conference Steering group:

  • Navjeet Bal ’89
  • Kelly Bonnevie ’92
  • Professor Emerita Judy Brown
  • Vanessa Candela ’00
  • Kelly Douglas ’92
  • Kathy Morris ’75
  • Gina Perini ’01
  • Cindy Reed ’80
  • Rachael Rollins ’97