News & Media

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Hosts 18th Annual Women and the Law Conference: Her Place at the Bargaining Table

Published: February 20, 2018

On February 9th, Thomas Jefferson School of Law hosted the 18th Annual Women and the Law Conference. This year's theme was entitled, "Her Place at the Bargaining Table: Gender, Negotiation and ‘Risky’ Decision-Making." 

The conference brought together leading experts and practitioners to examine the gender dynamics in negotiation, persuasion and bargaining. Key topics addressed included: the role of gender in pay and promotion disparities, why and how many women negotiate differently than men, how to train law students to negotiate from a position of gender parity, how our senses mediate our perceptions of others, and helpful anecdotal accounts from attorneys and mediators. “The timeliness of this conference theme cannot be sufficiently underscored,” said Thomas Jefferson School of Law Dean and President Joan Bullock. “Conference speakers presented to a capacity and overflow audience, and appropriately framed many of the challenges women face as equal participants in the workforce,” she added.

Professor Linda Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics and Chair of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University delivered the 16th Annual Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture, the conference keynote. Professor Babcock’s Ginsburg Lecture, “Barriers to Women’s Advancement: Negotiation and Allocation of Time in the Workplace,” captivated those attending. “The conference was a wonderful experience that brought together scholars and practitioners from so many different domains, all focused on leveling the playing field for women,” said Professor Babcock. “It was truly an honor to participate as the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecturer as Justice Ginsburg has always been an inspiration to me.”

This year’s event was co-organized by Professor Ellen Waldman, Director of the Mediation Program at the law school, and Associate Dean and Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp, one of the founders of the Women and the Law Conference Series. “The meld of academics and practitioners, and retired judges and leaders in the alternative dispute resolution community, made for a fascinating day,” noted Professor Waldman. “The many students and attorneys in the audience gained greater insight into the challenges facing women when they set out to negotiate for themselves and on behalf of their clients, and how best to meet those challenges,” said Professor Waldman.

“At this political moment, we need to be thinking deeply about persuasion and reasoned discourse,” said Associate Dean Bisom-Rapp. “Rather than assess a law or a policy, this year’s conference examined an art, and how women and men can hone their skills for maximum effect,” she added. “The Women and the Law Conference Series is a community project tended to with great care.  This year was a great example of what creative collaboration can produce,” said Associate Dean Bisom-Rapp.”

Other speakers included: Beth G. Chung, Professor of Management, San Diego State University; Charles B. Craver, the Freda H. Alverson Professor of Law, George Washington University; Thalma Lobel, Professor of Psychology, Tel Aviv University; Claire Wright, Visiting Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Nadia P. Bermudez, Shareholder, Klinedinst; Meryl Maneker, Partner, Wilson Turner Kosmo; Heather Riley, Partner, Allen Matkins; Lucie Barron , Founder and President, ADR Services; Hon. Christine Goldsmith (Ret.), Mediator and Arbitrator, Judicate West; Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.), Mediator and Arbitrator, JAMS; Hon. Nancy Wieben Stock (Ret.), Mediator and Arbitrator, JAMS; and Marquetta Stewart Brown, Adjunct Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

The event was co-sponsored by JAMS (Gold Sponsor), Wilson Turner Kosmo (Luncheon Sponsor), and Judicate West and Fragomen (Silver Sponsors).