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Miller Canfield to participate in Women in Law Hackathon

Top law firms nationwide generating ideas to recruit, retain, advance women in law careers

February 23, 2016

Miller Canfield, a global law firm headquartered in Detroit, has announced that it is one of 54 top law firms nationwide, and the only Michigan-headquartered firm, to be selected to participate in Women in Law Hackathon, an innovative program to advance the careers of women in the legal profession. The announcement was made by Miller Canfield CEO Michael McGee.

The Women in Law Hackathon is a national “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition created by the Diversity Lab in collaboration with Stanford Law School and Bloomberg Law. The goal of the Hackathon is to generate innovative ideas and solutions that will lead to greater recruitment, retention and advancement of women in law firms. 

Dawn M. Schluter, Chair of Women of Miller Canfield and Personal Services Group leader, has been selected to represent Miller Canfield, and will work with a group of other senior attorneys from major law firms around the country as a participant in this inaugural Women in Law Hackathon. Schluter is a member of one of nine teams, each comprised of six high-level partners, two expert advisors and one Stanford law student. Over a period of six months, each team will generate practical and actionable ideas to improve gender parity in law firms.

During the Hackathon, and continuing thereafter, Miller Canfield will create a Hackathon Support Committee. The HSC will be co-chaired by Schluter and Miller Canfield Principal A. Michael Palizzi, Miller Canfield Intellectual Property Group leader and Litigation Group co-leader.

The HSC will provide plans to firm leadership, and thereafter work to implement transformative plans based upon the lessons gleaned from the Hackathon. 

“Our goal is to firmly establish Miller Canfield as a firm that attracts, supports, retains and advances the very best women attorneys,” McGee said.

The nine Hackathon teams were formed and started their work in January. They will work through June of this year to devise their respective projects, plans or initiatives. The teams will then present their ideas in-person to a panel of expert judges at a pitch event at Stanford Law School on June 24, 2016. The top three winning teams will award grant prizes, donated by Bloomberg Law ($10,000 for 1st place; $7,500 for 2nd place; and $5,000 for 3rd place), to their choice of a non-profit organization that advances women in the legal profession and beyond.

Miller Canfield will participate alongside an impressive array of  leading Big Law firms from across the country, including, among many others: Sidley, Orrick, White & Case, Akin Gump, Jenner & Block, Weil Gotshal, Reed Smith, Morrison Foerster, Vinson & Elkins, Seyfarth Shaw, Skadden, Arnold & Porter, Haynes & Boone, Holland & Knight, Andrews Kurth, Fried Frank, Morgan Lewis, Kirkland, Sullivan Cromwell, Dentons, Wilson Sonsini, WilmerHale, DLA Piper, Winston & Strawn and Kilpatrick Townsend, among others.