Center for Women in Law

Convening leaders, generating ideas, leading change.

February 8, 2012

Center for Women in Law Releases White Paper on Getting, Using, and Keeping Power in Legal Institutions

AUSTIN, Texas – February 8, 2012 – Today, the Center for Women in Law at The University of Texas School of Law released Power in Law, a white paper on getting, using, and keeping power in legal institutions.  “If women are to make meaningful advances in the legal profession, they must master power dynamics as a predicate to success for themselves and others within their legal institutions,” said Linda Bray Chanow, Executive Director of the Center and co-author of the white paper. 

Last April, the Center for Women in Law at The University of Texas School of Law convened 150 leaders in the legal profession for the 2011 Power Summit on Law and Leadership.  For three days, law firm managing partners, judges, general counsel, law school deans, and other senior attorneys engaged in an unprecedented examination of power and leadership with academics and business leaders.  The goal: to move a critical mass of women lawyers into positions of power and influence.  Using their own experiences as a framework, speakers at the 2011 Power Summit explored how women lawyers can attain power, and use that power for themselves and on behalf of other women. 

The white paper captures perspectives on organizational power from more than thirty speakers, including:


“The Center’s 2011 Power Summit and white paper are changing the terms of the discussion about women in the profession,” asserted Lauren Stiller Rikleen, Executive-in-Residence at Boston College’s Center for Work & Family and co-author of the Center’s white paper.  “We cannot narrowly focus on attrition and retention, without understanding the related effects of exclusion from the decisions that impact organizations and the people who work in them.”

Of particular concern is the fact that nearly 50 percent of Am Law 200 firms have one or no women on their highest governing committee.  “In these challenging times, our legal community is missing out on the wisdom and perspective of the women in our profession,” explained Catherine Lamboley, General Counsel, Shell Oil Company (Ret.) and founding member of the Center.  She continued, “Our legal community is not and will not be the community of excellence that our lawyers desire and our clients deserve unless our community utilizes the talents of all of its members.” 

The Center for Women in Law is the premier educational institution devoted to the success of the entire spectrum of women in law, from first-year law students to the most experienced and accomplished attorneys. The Center serves as a national resource to convene leaders, generate ideas, and lead change.

The Center’s next Women’s Power Summit will be held in 2013.  For more information, contact Linda Bray Chanow at (512) 232-1973 or