‘Common issues, uncommon solutions' focus of program

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Published: October 2,2006

Women in all professions have an opportunity to network and hear a sought-after national speaker October 17.
The topic is “Today’s Professional Woman: common issues, uncommon solutions.” The speaker will be Pamela Roberts, chair of the Women in the Profession Commission of the American Bar Association.

Roberts is coming to Jackson at the invitation of the Hinds County Bar and the bar’s Women in the Profession Committee, the Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers and the Mississippi Bar Women in the Profession Committee.

The day provides two times to hear Roberts, who will speak at a noon luncheon at the Capital Club and a 5:30 p.m. event at the Old Capitol Inn. Men are also invited to the evening event, which includes a networking reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres following Roberts’ presentation.

One of the organizers of the event, Melissa Baltz of the Butler, Snow law firm in Jackson, says women should attend the luncheon for two reasons.

“First, it’s a chance to meet other professional women from all fields and network with them,” she said. “I know I’m busy with work and family and don’t have many opportunities to do that. And second, Pamela Roberts is an expert in this field.She is in demand as a speaker and it’s an opportunity to hear her.”

Baltz and others planning the day’s activities encourage women and men in all fields to attend. “The Hinds County Bar president, John Henegan, has made diversity a part of his presidency and this fits well with that focus,” she said.

Henegan, also with the Butler Snow firm, says this focus is important not only to the legal profession but to the state and country as a whole. “We are becoming increasingly more diversified in our population and we must all be aware of these issues,” he said.

He became president of the Hinds County Bar last June and has already had several meetings with diversity as the topic.

“So far, all our meetings have focused on diversity. In June, we had former Gov. William Winter and Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James Graves speak about race relations,” he said. “We got a good response and had a packed room. I think the attendance we’re having at our meetings indicates interest in diversity.”

A half-day diversity roundtable planned for November 16 at the Downtown Marriott promises to be well received too, Henegan said. “We have corporate executives from all around the country coming here,” he said. “The lineup is of the same caliber as Pamela Roberts and it will be outstanding.”

Those planning the October 17 events spoke with Roberts about opening the meeting to non-members and she agreed that her presentation is beneficial to all professions. Henegan said Roberts will actually give two different talks at the day’s two events.

“We’ve sent letters to the managers of at least 100 firms,” he said. “We’re also putting it in our newsletter to let everyone know about it.”

Mary Clay Morgan with the Bradley Arant law firm is serving as this year’s chair of the Women in the Profession Committee for the Hinds County Bar and is pleased to have Roberts coming to town.

“Pamela Roberts is hard to get and is a great speaker,” she said. “That’s why we decided to open it to women in all professions. Her remarks have to do with issues that are relevant to all women. It will be interesting to hear her perspective. She’s a very successful woman and has focused on issues that all professional women face.”

Roberts is a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm in Columbia, S.C. She practices in the areas of complex business litigation and securities litigation with emphasis on securities fraud and shareholder issues. She also supports the firm’s pharmaceutical and medical device practice.

A graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and Southwestern University School of Law, Roberts has bar admissions in South Carolina, Georgia and California. She is also a certified mediator, a distinction awarded by the Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Additionally, she has been trained for mediation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She had conducted mediations for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and served for several years as a mediation instructor at the U.S. Department of Justice Advocacy Center.

In 1998, she completed the Program of Instruction for Lawyers at Harvard Law School and returned the following year to serve as a teaching assistant for the course.

Roberts has long held prominent leadership positions within the American Bar Association where she currently serves as a member of the ABA House of Delegates.

She is in demand on a myriad of legal issues that includes diversity and issues affecting women and minorities in the profession. She is a featured speaker at leadership development events and provides civil law updates at annual judicial conferences.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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