We kicked off this year’s Women in the Law theme, All In: Reimagining Inclusive Workplaces, with a virtual symposium on Friday, September 25, that drew in almost 200 graduates and friends of the law school from across the globe. Program highlights included a conversation with Michele Coleman Mayes, vice president, general counsel and secretary of the New York Public Library, who will serve as our May 2021 Women in the Law conference keynote. We also enjoyed a special presentation by Shana Knizhnik, co-author of The New York Times bestseller, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and interactive presentations by Tracey Lukes, a highly regarded executive leadership coach, and  Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson, co-founder of the Disruptive Equity Education Project. 

>> View photo gallery

Video Highlights

A Conversation with Michele Coleman Mayes,
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, New York Public Library

Special Presentation by Shana Knizhnik,
Co-author of The New York Times bestseller, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

There's an App for #WIL2020!

To enhance your online expererience, we have built a mobile app for the virtual edition of our 2020 Women in the Law conference tthat allows you to view the conference schedule, speakers bios and to receive ongoing updates. It also facilitates networking with other registered guests - before, during and after the conference. There is even a social wall where social media posts will be displayed. 
>> Learn more and download the app

>> Check out our Social Wall

If you would prefer to access the web version of the app, please copy and paste the following link to your browser: crowd.cc/wil2020. We recommend bookmarking this page for easy access on the day of the event. All Zoom links and passwords will be available through the app/web version.

Save the Date

*Our next in-person Women in the Law Conference will take place on Friday, May 21, 2021, at Northeastern University School of Law. Our 2020/2021 theme is All In: Reimagining Inclusive Workplaces.

2020 Virtual Conference Schedule

Friday, September 25, 2020

8:45 a.m. 


Mielle Marquis | @MielleMarquis
Director of External Relations, Northeastern University School of Law

Amy Carlin ’00 | @acarlin8
Partner, Morgan Brown & Joy (conference co-chair)

Sunu Chandy ’98 @SunuChandy
Legal Director of the National Women's Law Center (conference co-chair)

James Hackney 
Dean, Northeastern University School of Law 

9:05 a.m. 

Poem by Sunu Chandy ’98

9:05 - 9:45 a.m.

Conversation with Michele Coleman Mayes
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, New York Public Library | @nypl
Hosted by Mielle Marquis

9:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Special presentation by Shana Knizhnik, co-author of New York Times bestseller, *“Notorious RBG. The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” | @shanakn
*The first 120 persons that sign up will receive this hard cover book free of charge in the mail. 

10:30 - 10:40 a.m. 

An update on Northeastern Law's latest happenings. 

Kristin Madison
Professor of Law and Health Sciences and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

10:40 - 11:15 a.m.

Interactive Presentation by Tracey Lukes, Vice President, Hollister Institute @Holl_Institute
Tracey Lukes, a highly regarded executive leadership coach, will lead us in a conversation around managing stress, in both work and life, and strengthening your resilience throughout these challenging times.

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Presentation by Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson, Co-founder of the Disruptive Equity Education Project | @dlamante
Diversity Activator and well-known presenter Darnisa Amante will share concrete ways to increase diversity in our firms and organizations.

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Speed Mentoring

Just like it sounds - experienced professionals will offer short-term career and mentoring advice in 15 minute sessions. We will have both mid-career and advanced career mentors on hand. You will be asked to sign up in advance for these proactive sessions.

Speed mentors:
Cleo Deschamps '11
Managing Attorney, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Joan Fortin '96
Chief Executive Officer, Bernstein Shur

Priya Lane ’13
BizGrow Director, Lawyers for Civil Rights, Boston

Elizabeth Brady Murillo ’04
Director of Professional Development, Burns & Levinson

Mytrang Nguyen '96
Program Counsel, Legal Services Corporation

Lili Palacios-Baldwin ’98
Deputy General Counsel, Labor, Employment and Litigation, Tufts University

Nancy Reiner '84
Managing Director, Major, Lindsey & Africa

Heather Yountz ’07
Immigration Attorney, Demissie & Church 

Speaker Biographies

michele-coleman-mayesMichele Coleman Mayes

Michele Coleman Mayes is vice president, general counsel and secretary for the New York Public Library (2012 – present). She previously held the position of general counsel for Allstate Insurance Company (2007-2012) and Pitney Bowes Inc. (2003-2007). Ms. Mayes served on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration from 2013-2014. She was chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession of the American Bar Association from 2014-2017. In 2015, she became a fellow of the American College of Governance Counsel. In August 2016, she was elected to the Board of Directors of Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO).  She is a sought after speaker on the topic of diversity and inclusion.  She is co-author of the book Courageous Counsel: Conversations with Women General Counsel in the Fortune 500. 

 KnizhnikShana Knizhnik
Author, Notorious RBG, Attorney & Activist

Shana Knizhnik is a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of New York City’s Criminal Defense Practice. Previously, she was a legal fellow at the ACLU of the District of Columbia.

While a student at New York University School of Law, she created the Notorious RBG Tumblr, a feminist website dedicated to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her lifelong fight for equality and social justice. In 2015 she co-wrote the book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with journalist Irin Carmon.

Knizhnik was also an articles editor for the New York University Law Review and served on the boards of OUTLaw and the Coalition on Law and Representation at NYU Law. After graduating cum laude in 2015, Knizhnik served as a law clerk to the Honorable Dolores Sloviter, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In 2016, she was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 List in Media. Knizhnik holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University.

Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson, Co-founder of the Disruptive Equity Education Project
Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson is an educational and racial equity strategist that is deeply committed to the study of culture; innovation; and adult development. Since earning her master’s degree in Anthropology from Brandeis University, and her doctorate from Harvard’s Educational Leadership Doctorate (Ed.L.D.), Dr. Amante-Jackson has honed her knowledge of culture and adult development to transform organizational and school cultures on issues of equity; change management and re-design. Dr. Amante-Jackson currently serves as the CEO of The Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP) and as system level leadership lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Tracey Lukes, Vice President, Hollister Institute
Tracey Lukes has been working with and developing leaders for over 25 years as an executive and as a business owner. Tracey’s experience as a market research executive, a marketing communications and strategy consultant, and an innovation and idea generation consultant has provided a strong backdrop for the leadership training and coaching that she does today.

As Vice President at Hollister Institute, Tracey is passionate about growing leaders. Tracey believes the goal of leadership training and coaching – no matter where leaders function within their organization – is to examine mindset and the internal operating system to determine what limits effectiveness and where there are opportunities to expand leadership “range”. Tracey’s approach creates clarity of purpose, improved communication, focused intention, and leveraging of strengths and passion for stronger leadership both professionally and personally.

In addition to corporate leadership development, Tracey is a parent and teen coach. Tracey helps parents and teens break the cycles of drama, stress, and disconnection that are so common during the teenage years. Tracey is committed to creating stronger family relationships and helping teens develop more confidence and a clearer sense of who they are at their core.

Tracey’s leadership and coaching education and certification was obtained through the world-renowned ICF-credentialed Coaches Training Institute (CTI), developer of the highly regarded Co-Active Coaching and Dimensional Leadership® model. Tracey is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) through CTI and is certified through the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

About the Conference

This conference provides career guidance and professional development growth to women attorneys and other professionals at all stages of their careers and brings together powerful decisionmakers from Massachusetts, Alaska, Canada, California, Illinois, New York, Washington, DC, and beyond.

We emphasize practical, useful information to take away from the full day's programming to further develop your career.

  • Top-notch panels, breakout sessions and speed mentoring with high level practitioners.
  • Learn how to position yourself to take the leap into a power role and be inspired by our expert panelists as they touch on topics such as civil rights, pay equity, economic and social justice, and best practices for advocacy.
  • Network, network, network – whether you want to advance where you are or move to a new opportunity, this is a great space to network for that next step.

Related Events

WIL NYCThursday, March 5, 2020
Strength in Diversity: Women of Color on Leadership
Women in the Law Hits the Road

On Thursday, March 5, Northeastern Law brought its highly popular Women in the Law program to NYC with a lively and informative breakfast panel generously hosted by Ropes & Gray and moderated by The Honorable Victoria Roberts '76. Chaumtoli Huq ’97, Carmelyn Malalis ’01, Angélicque Moreno ’93 and Susan Shah ’02 spoke about their pathways to success and their unique vantage points in addressing challenges as women of color in leadership roles. 
>> Learn more
>> View photos

April 8, 2020
Film Screening and Discussion: The Vote
Join us for a film screening and discussion this spring around The Vote, a four-part documentary series, slated to air nationally on PBS this summer in conjunction with the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment — giving women the right to vote. 
>> Learn more


To participate in Twitter conversations around the Women in the Law Conference, please add the hashtag #WIL2020 to your tweets.

Follow us on Twitter @NUSL.

Visit our Conference Materials page
A curated list of articles on topics related to Women in the Law. 


Please contact us at 617.373.3819 if you are seeking an accommodation related to disability related to access to participate in this event.  We will do our best to be responsive to any such requests before the event and making requests before 4/1/20 will be helpful. 


Join the NUSource Network

Get a jumpstart on conference networking by joining the Women in Law group on NUsource!
NUsource is Northeastern University's newest platform for alumni to connect with one another and we've created a special group just for law alumnae. Click here to create a profile and search for the "Women in Law" group in the Groups tab to start building your network before the conference. 

>> Learn more about NUSource
>> Create an NUSource profile
Questions about NUsource? Email nusource@northeastern.edu

2020 CONFERENCE CHAIRS: Amy Carlin ’00 and Sunu Chandy ’98

Amy CarlinAmy Carlin ’00
Amy Carlin is a trusted employment advisor to business owners, C-level executives, entrepreneurs, human resources professionals and company managers. As an experienced lawyer, she plays an important role as a daily resource on legal topics relating to all aspects of the employer-employee relationship. Amy is a proactive counselor, adeptly guiding clients through employment issues that affect businesses of all shapes and sizes. Her advice is applicable across all industries, but her clients tend to come from the retail, restaurant and food services, wellness and fitness, and technology industries. She applies a distinctive human touch to her legal advice, helping clients handle any scenario, including how to deliver difficult conversations.

One of Amy's strengths is working with managers and owners to develop the best possible working environments for their employees. This approach naturally results in full legal compliance for her clients and their businesses. Amy's preventative approach extends to employee training. She crafts and delivers training programs on many topics, including the prevention of sexual harassment and discrimination, appropriate leadership practices for managers and a range of other mission-critical employment topics.

In addition to providing her clients with her first-hand legal knowledge, Amy is often invited by external organizations to share insights in educational seminars focusing on employment law topics relevant to local businesses and their owners/managers. In addition to her daily counsel, Amy is an experienced litigator, defending clients in discrimination and retaliation claims, wage and hour act issues, common law employment torts as well as in other state and federal statutory actions. She represents clients before state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. Amy also provides thoughtful risk assessment and benefit analysis for clients choosing to resolve employment matters using mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods. She has a proven track record of achieving positive results for clients who prioritize settlement over litigation.

Amy is often selected by clients for her personal touch and real-life experience. Prior to practicing law, she was employed by Legal Sea Foods, handling a number of different roles interfacing with the company's expansive workforce. Among her many responsibilities, Amy served as the company's corporate training specialist where she oversaw employee training experiences. Following law school, Amy served as a law clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court, and then was associated with two small Boston firms, where her practice included employment law as well as other civil and criminal litigation.

Sunu ChandySunu P. Chandy ’98
Sunu Chandy is the legal Director of the National Women’s Law Center. She oversees the Center’s litigation efforts, providing strategy across the NWLC to create better outcomes for women and girls at school, the workplace, and the healthcare sector. She helped to create the Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity and build the policies and procedures guiding the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. She also provides guidance for the Center’s policy positions towards greater workplace equality. In the Spring of 2019 she provided Congressional testimony in support of the Equality Act, a bill that would strengthen and clarify civil rights protections including for LGBTQ individuals and provided testimony before the US Commission on Civil Rights on Federal Sector and #metoo.

Until August 2017, Sunu served as the deputy director for the Civil Rights Division with the US Department of Health and Human Services, where she led civil rights enforcement including in the areas of language access, auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities and sex discrimination cases under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Before that, Sunu was the General Counsel of the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) and in that role oversaw the agency’s legal decisions following civil rights investigations of discrimination in employment, education, housing and public accommodation matters.

Previously, Sunu was a federal attorney with the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for 15 years and litigated cases including based on sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination, as well as race, national origin, disability, age and religion based discrimination cases. At EEOC, Sunu led several outreach and training initiatives including as a member of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAPPI) Regional Working Group. Sunu began her legal career as a law firm associate representing unions and individual workers in New York City at Gladstein, Reif and Megginniss, LLP.

Sunu earned her BA in Peace and Global Studies/Women’s Studies from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston and her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from CUNY/Queens College. Sunu has served on the boards of directors of several organizations including the Audre Lorde Project, the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective and LeGal (the LGBTQ+ attorneys’ organization in New York City). Sunu currently serves on the board of directors for the Transgender Law Center and volunteers with Split This Rock, a national social justice poetry organization


Donate Now!

To support NUSL's Women in the Law program, please select the Jim and Judy Brown Fund.

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 Henry ’00
Sofia Lingos ’09
Christina Miller ’98
 Karen O’Malley ’94
Gina Perini ’01
Mala Rafik ’97 
Cynthia Reed '80
Rachael Rollins '97

Advisory Board

With Thanks to Our 2020-2021 Women in the Law Conference Sponsors:

WIL 2020 Sponsors


Since its founding, Northeastern University School of Law has championed diversity in the legal profession. Today, more than half of our graduates are women, practicing in every conceivable setting — from private practice to public service, from the bench to business — as well as a host of non-legal fields. Our 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. 

Visit our conference materials page for a list of selected articles on topics related to Women in the Law.