Women’s Development Initiative (WDI)

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s Women’s Development Initiative aims to maximize the contributions of our women attorneys by supporting their advancement both as lawyers within the firm and as leaders within the legal and business community. Our mission also includes supporting the recruitment of women attorneys and increasing their retention and ascension to equity partnership by helping them to:
•    provide outstanding service in their client’s core industries; 
•    cultivate professional networks; 
•    develop business opportunities; and 
•    engage with the communities they serve.

Women Leading Women

Led by a Steering Committee of women from across the firm’s footprint of 17 offices, the WDI meets regularly to share information and help to sustain a positive and supportive environment for women attorneys. We also aim to build this inclusive environment beyond our firm with our support of women’s organizations and women-owned companies, where we  have opportunities to learn about the needs and challenges faced by both women business owners and corporate counsel. In addition, we support charitable events that benefit girls and young women who are just beginning their careers.

Recognizing Women of Vision in Our Communities

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr recognizes that many of the businesses that the firm serves share a similar commitment to diversity and inclusion. In that spirit, each year we celebrate the achievements of successful businesswomen with our Woman of Vision Award. Through this honor, we aspire to promote and empower professional women within the firm and throughout all of Chicago and South Florida

We present the award at a luncheon to recognize an inspirational woman who has made a difference in the professional world and to highlight a notable charity within the community. Women from a wide array of professional sectors attend, including female leaders in government, law, health care, business and education. Click here for a gallery of the honorees for our Women of Vision Award.

Recognition for our Support for Women in the Legal Profession

The WDI’s support for women has been recognized by several independent organizations, including Benchmark Litigation, which selected the firm as one of eight nominees nationwide for its 2013 Diversity Firm of the Year Award based in part on the strength of the WDI. Other honors include:

  • Law360’s The 100 Best law Firms for Female Attorneys, 2016 and 2015.
  • The Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Honor Roll of Legal Organizations Welcoming Women Professionals in 2013, 2011 and 2009.
  • The 2013 and 2011 Women in Law Empowerment Forum’s (WILEF) Gold Standard Certification Award. To win the award, the firm had to prove – through statistics – that it had integrated women into its highest leadership positions.
  • MultiCultural Law magazine’s “Top 100 Law Firms for Women” list in 2012.

 

Committee Leadership

Laura Lau Marinelli, Co-Chair, 312-876-7834

Sharilee Kempa Smentek Co-Chair, 312-876-7838

Caitlin P. Strauss, Co-Chair, 215-972-7153

Robin D. Leone, Vice Chair, 410-332-8794