2019 Women in Law Institute at Los Angeles


Described by one partner at a top law firm as “the most practical tool I’ve encountered in my 20 years of practicing,” the Women in Law Institute is an all-day, intensive workshop for law students, judicial clerks, and LL.M.’s. Participants can look forward to expert presentations on the essential skills for navigating a successful career in law:  communicating with impact, communicating your value, and building strategic relationships. Following each of the first two lectures, students work in small groups led by distinguished practitioners (3:1 ratio) to practice these skills through practice and individualized critiques in a supportive environment.  The day ends with a cocktail party where participants can work on their networking skills.  More information on the focus of each workshop can be found in the Women in Law Institute – Session Objectives.



Registration is Closed.

Information on Parking and Transportation

  • Jones Day Garage – $15 with validation before 5pm
    555 South Flower Street
    Los Angeles, California 90071-2300
  • Pershing Square Parking – $10/day (if parked by 11am)
    530 S Olive St
    Los Angeles, CA 90013, US
  • LA Metro Rail – 7th St./Metro Ctr. station
    7th & Flower St. (2 blocks away)



9:00am Registration and Breakfast
9:30am Welcome and Introduction
Susan Blount, Interim Executive Director, Center for Women in LawSusan Blount

Susan Blount served as General Counsel of Prudential Financial, a leading provider of insurance, retirement and asset management products and services, from 2005 to 2015. In that role she led a team of 700 people around the world in the Company’s Law, Compliance, Business Ethics and External Affairs organization. Susan joined Prudential in 1985 as a staff attorney in the Company’s commercial real estate organization. Thereafter, she held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, including the roles of Chief Investment Counsel and Vice President and Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Prudential, Susan was an Associate at Kirkland & Ellis.

Susan is active in professional and community service. While at Prudential she served on the Boards of such organizations as Montclair State University (the second largest university in New Jersey), the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (NJLeep). She was also a regular faculty member at Stanford University’s annual Directors’ College and a regular participant in Stanford’s Institutional Investors Forum. She currently serves on the University of Texas Law School Foundation, the Executive Committee of the Center for Women in Law and the Nantucket Historical Associaition.

In 2017 Susan was an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University.

In 2019 she joined the board of Cavco Industries as an independent outside director.

10:00am Communicate with Impact Lecture
Wendy Shiba, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, KB Home (ret.)

Wendy Shiba is a retired corporate attorney and business executive who served as an executive officer of three NYSE-listed companies, most recently as Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of KB Home, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, in Los Angeles, CA.  Earlier in her career, she was Corporate Chair of the City of Philadelphia Law Department, a tenured Associate Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law, in private practice with O’Melveny & Myers, and law clerk to Justice Stanley Mosk on the Supreme Court of California.

Wendy is a member of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) House of Delegates and the Board of Directors of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative.  She served on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession (2014-17) and the ABA Diversity & Inclusion 360 Commission (2015-16), and was 2012-2013 President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).  She received the Warren Christopher Values Award from O’Melveny & Myers (2019), ABA TIPS Liberty Achievement Award, sponsored by Thomson Reuters (2016), ABA Spirit of Excellence Award (2014), Corporate Counsel Women of Color’s Diamond Award (2014), NAPABA Trailblazer Award (2009), and the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award (2007).  In 2010, she was recognized as one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in California.  She is a frequent speaker on topics including corporate and board governance, women’s leadership, and diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

11:00am Communicate with Impact Workshop
12:45pm Demonstrate Your Value Lecture
Holly Engelmann, Principal, McKool Smith

Holly Engelmann is a principal at McKool Smith. Her practice focuses on results-oriented, client-focused intellectual property litigation, complex business litigation, and mortgage-backed securities litigation. Working for industry leaders and private equity firms, Holly has substantial experience managing high-stakes litigation from client pitch through verdict and settlement. Holly also served as in-house legal counsel on secondment at Ericsson, working with their patent assertion and litigation groups.

Holly holds a J.D. from the Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, and a B.A. in mathematics from Whittier College. She is licensed to practice in Texas, New York, and Florida.

During law school, Holly interned with Justice Craig T. Enoch of the Supreme Court of Texas and Justice David W. Chew of the Eighth Court of Appeals of Texas. She was also Ticketmaster’s first legal intern.

Holly serves as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas, College of Law, teaching Practice Foundations. She is also a member of Dallas Women Lawyers Association, Attorneys Serving the Community, and the Dallas Bar Association.

Prior to law school, Holly was a high school math teacher in the greater Los Angeles area.

1:45pm Demonstrate Your Value Workshop
3:00pm Build Strategic Relationships Lecture
Diane Darling, Founder and CEO, Effective Networking, Inc.

Diane Darling has presented to the American Bar Association, Center for Women in Law, Harvard Law School, Boston College Law School, Houston Bar Association, SMU Dedman, Ms. JD and Georgetown Law to name a few. Her firm clients include: Haynes Boone, Winstead, Holland & Knight, Cooley, McDermott, and Mintz Levin.

She’s also presented at the Association of Corporate Counsel and at the GC meetings for several companies. Diane demystifies the word “networking” and helps you find your own style – even if you’re an introvert. She receives rave reviews for her speeches. She was even the commencement speaker for MIT Charm School. McGraw-Hill commissioned her to write the definitive book on networking called The Networking Survival Guide, which was published in April 2003 and went into a 2nd printing just 90 days after the book hit the shelves.

In 2005, McGraw-Hill published her 2nd book, Networking for Career Success. Combined they are translated into eight languages. She appeared on NBC Nightly News, in The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Boston Globe. She was the 15,600 subscriber on LinkedIn – now there are 300 million.

Her travels include all seven continents and approximately 60 countries. She has lived in the Philippines, Thailand, Colorado, Indiana, Alabama and now in Boston, MA. She is a member of the Chief Executive’s Club of Boston, is the past president for the Association for Talent Development, and a founding member of 20/20 Women on Board.

Her hobbies include watching football, reading, and attempting to play tennis. To overcome her fear of public speaking, she took acting and standup comedy classes.

4:00pm Build Strategic Relationships Workshop with Reception
5:00pm Closing Remarks



Tracey Kennedy

Event series: Women in Law Institute