Chicago Coalition Connects
June 25, 2020


Dear Chicago Chapter Members,
We start Summer of 2020 with so much happening around us. Since I worked on our last edition, we have watched the voices of protest amplify around the country and the entire world – and much awaited, and frankly, much overdue conversations taking place in earnest not just in homes, but increasingly in board rooms and in executive committee meetings.  A heightened awareness is necessary for progress, and it’s encouraging to see some recent positive changes begin to take shape. As I have thought about the defining crises of the past few months – the still increasing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the outcry over systemic racial inequality – I’ve been particularly struck by the imperative of togetherness, or, in our own terms, of coalition building. As some activists who had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have recently observed, the racism issue should not be just the Black community issue anymore. White, Asian, Hispanic and other Americans have joined in stating “Black Lives Matter,” bringing increased attention and strength to the movement. COVID-19, a very different crisis, also calls for purposeful togetherness – a different kind of togetherness, but togetherness nonetheless. Where entire communities have followed mask-wearing, distancing and other safety practices, infection rates have decreased; where such measures have been shunned, the rates have spiked. These are not political issues; they are human issues. And, as human issues, they require a shared sense of responsibility and a sustained and organized collective effort toward the greater good. Watching this effort gain strength all around, I am starting to have a real sense of hope that we will come out of all this as a more inclusive and just community overall, including in our own legal industry. 
 
Please read on to learn about the exciting happenings in our Chapter, and please don’t hesitate – at any time – to reach out to me, Chicago Chapter Vice-President Malaika Tyson or anyone else in our incredible Coalition network with any ideas or questions – or just to connect.


Chicago Coalition Chapter President
New Website Launch TOMORROW!
We are thrilled announce that the launch of our newly revamped Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law website is happening tomorrow! All Coalition Members will be receiving an email that outlines the new website features, and invites each member to "claim" their Member account and create a Member Profile.

Our new platform will offer updated benefits including:
 
  • Streamlined event registration process, combining registration and payments (when applicable) in ONE secure site.
  • The ability for members to manage their profiles, select preferences and view event registration history.
  • A robust database of Chapter members whereby you can search for members using different attributes (e.g., last name, first name, firm name, etc.).
  • Overall improved Chapter member experience and communication.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback as we continue to tweak the user experience, so please don't hesitate to send us your comments after the new site is live!
Chicago Chapter Happenings
June was a phenomenal month for Coalition programming. On June 10th, we held our Eighth Annual Judges' Panel , for the first time hosted virtually by our incredible Associates Committee. The panel featured Honorable Rossana Fernandez, Sophia Hall and Virginia Kendall, and was moderated by our own Nerissa Diaz Moisan. The Judges' dialogue was candid and insightful and the Panel boasted record attendance numbers. Congratulations and many thanks to our Associates Committee Chairs Sky Emison and Manuela C abal and the Event Planning Committee--including Margaret (Peggy) Hermann, Sarah Hertz, Heather Nelson, and Alison Constantine--for their tireless efforts to organize this signature annual program. And earlier this week, we had a blast getting the inside info on some famous intellectual property disputes in popular culture thanks to the lighthearted webinar  IP Disputes: From Stranger Things to Tiger King, hosted by Programming Committee Co-Chair Kate Johnson and In-House Committee Co-Chair Maria Maras. Thanks, Kate and Maria, for putting on this interesting and highly entertaining program!
Coalition Celebrates: Manuela Cabal
Congratulations to Manuela Cabal of McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd., for receiving the American Bar Association's 2020 "On the Rise" Top 40 Under 40 award. Manuela was nominated by the Coalition for this prestigious award that provides national recognition for ABA young lawyer members who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service.
Stay tuned for upcoming correspondence recognizing women who have received other recent accolades and awards. If you or a colleague has received special recognition, please let us know by emailing chicago@thewomenscoalition.com so that it we can feature you in an upcoming newsletter.
Quarantine Photo Challenge Highlights
As quarantine continues, at least in part, so does our Quarantine Photo Challenge! Thanks to many of our members who submitted your quarantine skills photos for this challenge organized by our Outreach & Inclusion Committee. For this edition, check out the truly impressive "project in progress" shared by Sarah Riedl Clark ( Gordon & Rees), and the family bike ride pic shared by Tanvi Patel ( Neal Gerber & Eisenberg).
If you’d like your quarantine skills featured, you’re not too late! Please send photo or a selfie with a brief description to chicago@thewomenscoalition.com .
Member Spotlight
Denise Beihoffer
First Vice President, Legal at Equity Residential
Chicago Chapter M ember and In-House Committee Co-Chair

Why did you join the Coalition?
Angela Elbert invited me to join the Coalition shortly after the In-House Counsel Committee was formed. Membership in the Coalition has allowed me to connect with smart, successful women lawyers and also provides an opportunity to collaborate with other in-house counsel on issues that are unique to working in-house. As an added bonus, the Coalition is the absolute best way to get CLE each year, while learning about a variety of topics that are not only interesting, but also focused on helping us advance our careers. Coincidentally, in packing up for a recent office move, I ran across the CLE certificate from my very first Coalition CLE event (in July 2012), which, interestingly enough, was called “Demonstrating the Value of Legal Departments and In-House
Lawyers” - how cool is that?
 
What committees are you active on?
I have been the co-chair of the In-House Counsel Committee since 2016, participate on the Programming Committee, and currently, as of the first of this year, sit on the Coalition Board of Directors.
 
Give us your elevator speech… or “Call me if you have…”
I am a First Vice President in the Legal Department at Equity Residential, a publicly held real estate investment trust . I have been in-house counsel at the company for almost 22 years. Equity Residential owns 300+ properties (approximately 79,000 apartment units) in Boston, Denver, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco and Southern
California. In my role as principal legal advisor to the property operations and property management teams, I am responsible for legal oversight of our customer-facing policies and procedures, and for ensuring compliance with the myriad of laws that touch the many aspects of our business operations. Those issues range from landlord/tenant, fair housing, collections, consumer protection, privacy and data security, affordability, rent regulation
and land-use issues. Suffice it to say, it’s been extremely interesting over the past year with the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act and keeping up with the myriad of COVID-related eviction and late fee moratoria, Stay-Home orders, etc. that have been implemented in our various markets.

Tell us something interesting about you that people may not know.
I celebrated my 30th birthday as a full-time college student at Oklahoma State University. While working as a legal secretary for the Tulsa County District Attorney and at a law firm in Tulsa, I went to paralegal school at night. Once I got my Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, I started working as a paralegal at the firm. Right around my 28th birthday, after suffering a personal tragedy in my life, I decided to cash in my 401k, pay the penalty to the IRS, and become a full-time college student. After graduating from OSU in December 1989, I went on to law school at the University of Oklahoma, graduating in 1993. I started my legal career as a bankruptcy and restructuring associate in Skadden Arps’ Chicago office.  


Share your favorite book or podcast – or your favorite stay-at-home resource or tip.
Unfortunately, because I’ve been so busy keeping up with COVID-related regulations in the 10 states and multiple jurisdictions where we own apartment communities, I have no real “stay-at-home” resources to share (other than to say that it definitely helps with the work-from-home focus to have 16 year old twin boys that stay up all night and sleep all day). Speaking of twin boys, one of my all-time favorite books is “Is Your Mama a Llama,” which makes me long for the days when my boys still liked to hear bedtime stories!
Quote of the Week
I’m going to end this CCC edition on a lighter note, sharing a Zen Haiku some of you might relate to from some recent conversations with family and friends: 
 
With one who does not speak his every thought
I spend a pleasant evening.
-- Hyakuchi