About Us

The Commission was created in August 1987 to assess the status of women in the legal profession, identify barriers to advancement, and recommend to the ABA actions to address problems identified. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first chair of the Commission, set the pace for the Commission to change the face of the legal profession by issuing a groundbreaking report in 1988 showing that women lawyers were not advancing at a satisfactory rate. From this report, the Commission found that a variety of discriminatory barriers remained a part of the professional culture, the significant increase in the number of women attorneys would not eliminate these barriers and a thorough reexamination of the attitudes and structures in the legal profession was needed.

Brent Circle of Giving





Melissa Wood - Melissa.Wood@americanbar.org

Oversight of all Commission staff and its programs and projects. Provides guidance and support to the Commission on ABA policy.  Manages the budget and Commission finances. Supports ABA House of Delegates activities.  Responsible for planning of CWP business meetings and agendas.

Program Specialist
Ashleigh Hill - Ashleigh.Hill@americanbar.org

Ashleigh manages and provides support for the Grit Project, Zero Tolerance and Women of Color Research Initiative; supports programming for the Women’s Caucus and supports research and activities for the Initiative for Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law.

Marketing Specialist
Jennifer Sawicz - Jennifer.Sawicz@americanbar.org

Jennifer manages Commission communications efforts with regard to message, theme, look, and web site content; develops virtual and print marketing campaigns to promote Commission activities and events. She assists with some project management and research design.

Program Associate
Laura Tannous - Laura.Tannous@americanbar.org

Laura manages the Annual Margaret Brent Awards Ceremony including the fundraising aspect of the Brent Awards. She supports programming for the ongoing projects and initiatives held by the Commission, and is currently the staff lead for the Launching Leaders Retreat.