Contact: Rabiah Burks
Rainmaker who helps female lawyers hone business skills to receive prestigious Margaret Brent Award
Holtz will be honored for her work at ClientFocus, where she trained and coached more than 500 women in business development skills, in an effort to help female lawyers advance in the legal profession and address gender inequity.
“The Margaret Brent Awards celebrate the extraordinary achievements of female lawyers who have significantly contributed to the advancement of women in the profession,” said Mary B. Cranston, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. “Our honorees’ accomplishments serve as an inspiration to women throughout the nation.”
“Earning the Margaret Brent Award is literally the high point of my career,” Holtz said. “I am flattered, delighted and inspired by it.”
When Holtz joined the legal profession in the late 1970s, mentors were in short supply.
“I did not have a lot of mentors, or even role models, so I kind of had to make it up as I went along,” she said.
Holtz excelled in the field of corporate counsel. She ultimately held positions such as vice president and general counsel for Nestlé Beverage Co. and division counsel for Clorox Co. She was also the first female president of Association of Corporate Counsel.
As a successful attorney in the legal profession, she found that women faced a myriad of challenges in firms.
“I just really felt like there was a need for women to claim the contributions that they were making to their companies or firms, to be fairly compensated for their services and to achieve their goals in a way that gave them satisfying personal and professional lives,” Holtz said.
In 1996, Holtz became a mentor to hundreds of women when she launched ClientFocus, a company dedicated to helping women compete successfully in the rainmaking arena. While women make up 70 percent of staff attorneys at large law firms, they account for a mere 15 percent of equity partners.
“Understanding business development is the thing that gives lawyers autonomy, makes sure they are fairly compensated, affords them the freedom to create the practice they want and allows them to have some control over their personal lives,” Holtz said. “I think all of those things are really important for women to achieve their fullest potential, and that is why I do what I do.”
Through ClientFocus, Holtz contributed greatly to the growth of female lawyers in the profession.
“It’s important that people are able to make individual choices about how they want to spend their time or invest their energies, what causes or issues they want to divert their attention to, and if women don’t have leadership roles or advance in the profession, it is not going to be possible for them to do those things.”
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, Gladys Kessler, Marygold Shire Melli and Therese M. Stewart will also receive the award. Previous honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
More information about the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards can be foundonline.
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