I believe that men can mentor women and vice versa. Mentoring and dialogue across gender should be encouraged in the legal profession. My objections (blogged here) to the upcoming New York State Bar Association Panel are based on the marketing of the panel, not on some belief that women have nothing to learn from men (or vice versa). To the contrary!
Here’s my attempt at a revised description for a panel discussion by men — using the same title and speakers for the scheduled NYSBA panel — that I’d be interested in attending:
Point of View: Tips From the Other Side
Historically, the legal profession has been less than receptive to “outsiders” such as women of all colors and men of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The ripple effects of many years of exclusion continue to be felt to the present day. Some women critique the contemporary legal profession as perpetuating male models for success. This panel aims to foster constructive dialogue between men and women about their professional roles generally and how women and men can “cross-mentor” each other, in particular. Emphasizing the importance of diverse perspectives, this panel discussion will begin with reflections from seasoned male practitioners who will speak about what the lessons that they believe women and men can learn from each other about communication, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, organization and management of legal work. The panelists will talk about their own experiences mentoring and being mentored by women and men, and provide suggestions for how to better improve communication between men and women in the law office, the local bar and the legal profession.
Zachary Carter, Partner, New York Trial Department Head, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
Carey R. Dunne, Partner, Litigation Department, Davis, Polk & Wardwell, LLP
James B. Carlson, Partner, Mayer Brown, LLP
Moderator: Earamichia Brown, Esq., Director of Intake and Intelligence, MTA Office of the Inspector General