Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Ellen McGinnis spoke at the YaleWomen Awards for Excellence ceremony this month at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., honoring Anita Hill, Catherine Lhamon and Ann Olivarius.
YaleWomen, in partnership with the Yale Alumni Association, presented the event, titled “Working Toward Gender Equity.”
YaleWomen is an organization for women graduates of Yale College and the Yale graduate and professional schools, designed to advance women's voices and perspectives. The group’s mission is to create a vibrant, engaged community of alums committed to advancing women's voices and perspectives.
At the event, Joanne Lipman (the author of “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together”) moderated a panel of the award winners, focused on the progress made over the last four decades on issues of sexual harassment and sexual violence, but also revealing how far society has to go.
McGinnis, the founding Chair of YaleWomen, later spoke to the audience of more than 200, telling stories about the impact of YaleWomen, emphasizing the work of the evening’s honorees, and encouraging the audience to seize opportunities to catalyze change in their own workplaces and lives.
McGinnis was recently featured in a Texas Lawyer cover story in which she discussed Haynes and Boone’s efforts to promote gender diversity. McGinnis joined Haynes and Boone in 1989 and is considered one of the firm’s women trailblazers.
Haynes and Boone sponsored the Yale event, which focused on the overarching message that gender equity is a critical component of a just society. During the ceremony, Hill, Lhamon and Olivarius received Lifetime Achievement Awards for their work to advance gender equity. Hill is a professor at Brandeis University, teaching courses on social policy, law, and gender and sexuality studies; Lhamon is an attorney, chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and an advisor to Governor Gavin Newsome of California on diversity issues; and Olivarius is an American-British lawyer who specializes in civil litigation involving sexual harassment and sexual discrimination.
In preparation for the event, McGinnis said, “When you give awards, you define what you value. The social climate on gender issues is ripe for this discussion.”
McGinnis is co-chair of Haynes and Boone’s Fund Finance Practice Group, as well as chair of the firm’s Admission to Partnership Committee and a member of the board of directors.
She has been heavily involved in volunteer service at Yale for over two decades. She has served a Chair of the Board of Governors of the Yale Alumni Association, is on the Council for Women’s Research at Yale, and was a founder of YaleWomen in 2012, the Association of Yale Alumni presented Ellen with the Yale Medal, the highest award presented by the association to recognize and honor outstanding individual service to Yale University.
McGinnis has been active in women’s initiatives at the firm, is an active sponsor of underrepresented individuals and advocate for diversity at Haynes and Boone.