“By Women Lawyers, For Women Lawyers”

Friday, March 10, 2023

K&L Gates LLP
599 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10022

130 years ago, Mary Kennedy Brown became the first female graduate of Cornell Law School in 1893.   This inaugural summit of the women’s alumni network of Cornell Law School was developed to inspire women lawyers to continue the tradition of Cornell Law School’s female graduates who have been pioneers in law, business, and education.  The 2023 summit is titled “Women in Entrepreneurship and Leadership.”  It is uniquely designed to provide networking, learning and friendships that will last far beyond 2023 and become part of your pathway into the future.

Friday, March 10, 2023

9:00 – 9:30 AM


9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Welcome and Recognition of Muriel Kessler, JD ’48

Jens David Ohlin
Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

Recognition of Honor:

Muriel Kessler
JD ’48

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Session 1: “Cornell Women in Entrepreneurship: A Lawyer’s Perspective”

Celebrate Cornell Law women advising and being entrepreneurs.  Lawyers, advisers, and founders — in their footsteps are thousands more — all supported by life-long learning opportunities that focus on women and women entrepreneurs.  Highlighting the unique collaborations and offerings Cornell provides for women entrepreneurs and clinical training for the lawyers of entrepreneurs, this panel will discuss the advice and skills needed to promote women entrepreneurs.  


Celia Bigoness
Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School


Kirsten Barker
BS ’92
Program Director, The Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship, Cornell University
Emily Kuvin
AB ’86, JD ’89
Founder, Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design
Kristina Hurley
BS ’16, JD ’19
Associate, Fenwick & West
Adele Smolansky
Candidate BS ’24
Founder & CEO, Al-Learners

11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.


11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Session 2: “In the Business of Being a Woman Lawyer”

What are some of the unique challenges that women face as they build a brand and a business? How do we as women lawyers learn the lessons of entrepreneurship?  What are the skills that we develop that can be applied to other business models? The panelists will share how entrepreneurial concepts also relate to building a business, assuming leadership positions in organizations and on boards, and will discuss successful skills for pivoting from law firm to business, to board rooms and beyond.   


Maria Fernandez
JD ’92
Advisory Consultant, Employment Practices Solutions, Inc.


Margaret Bae
AB '96, MBA, JD '04
Partner, Dorsey & Whitney
Colette Pollitt
JD ’00
Solo Practitioner, State Securities ("Blue Sky") Law
Wendy Samuelson
JD ’93
Partner, Samuelson Hause PLLC
Judith Rinearson
Partner, K&L Gates

12:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Lunch with Keynote Speaker: “Raising the Bar: Promoting Diversity in Law, Entrepreneurship and Business”

Natalya Johnson
AB ’07, JD ’10
Senior Counsel, Johnson & Johnson and President of the Garden State Bar Association

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.


2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Session 3: “Diversity and Disruption in Venture Capital”

The VC industry remains overwhelmingly male and white, with glaring inequality on both sides: the VC firms and the founders and companies they invest in.  Great efforts are being made to clear the pathway for women and people of color, but much work remains.  Join our panel as they share their experiences, assess the biggest barriers to diversification and discuss how their advocacy is disrupting the business for women and people of color.  


Jacquie Duval
JD ’92
Partner, K&L Gates LLP


Christine Chang
AB ’95
Principal, Avire Finance
Raudline Etienne
Founder and CEO, Daraja Capital
Halyna Vasylevska
Tech LLM ’19
Sr. Manager - Portfolio Development, Munich Re Ventures

3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Session 4: “Communities & Networking Post-Pandemic”

Does networking make you uncomfortable and feel like a chore, and how has the global pandemic of 2020 impacted the way we network?  Is it better, worse, or just different, and how have women lawyers adjusted? 


Ann-Marie Luciano
JD ’01
Member, Cozen O’Connor


Judi Rosenthal
Vice President, Bernstein Private Wealth Management
Meghan Berglind
JD ’00
Of Counsel, Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP
Sonya Olds Som
JD ’97
Global Managing Partner, Diversified Search Group

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Networking Reception

Jacquie Duval
JD ’92
Partner, K&L Gates LLP

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Dechert LLP

Please consider supporting the Law School Annual Fund for Scholarship, which greatly impacts the educational opportunities for women and students of color.