Five inspiring women, including BASF Past President Kelly M. Dermody, were honored on August 11 at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco with the 2019 ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.
“We honor a distinguished group of women lawyers who have excelled and have paved the way to success for other lawyers,” ABA President Bob Carlson told a luncheon audience of more than 600 people. “Your accomplishments as leaders in the legal profession is one that has taken us to new heights and has inspired us to do better. Thank you for doing what you’ve done, but more importantly, thank you for what you are going to do in the future.”
At the awards event, Dermody urged the audience to confront the lack of racial diversity in the legal profession and “the deep-seated bigotry rocking our country now.” She said the nation has “not yet engaged in an honest reckoning with white supremacy – historical or ongoing – or our own participation or complicity in systems of oppression.” Here’s her acceptance speech.
She is managing partner of the San Francisco office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein. She is a nationally recognized advocate in the areas of pay equity, MeToo and diversity and inclusion. She has prosecuted many cases challenging unfair hiring, promotion, compensation and performance systems. Dermody is former president of the Bar Association of San Francisco and is a past member of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section governing council, where she also previously served as co-chair of the section’s annual conference, Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession and Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. She has been honored by the National Association of Women Judges, the Anti-Defamation League and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, among others.
The ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established in 1991, honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have paved the way for others. It is sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. It is named after Margaret Brent, who was the first woman lawyer in America, arriving in the colonies in 1638.