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For her career-long commitment to fostering positive change and advancement for women in the legal profession, Scharf Banks Marmor Founding Partner Stephanie Scharf received the 2020 Inspiration Award from the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law.
The Inspiration Award was presented on November 5, 2020 at the Coalition’s National Leadership Forum. Partner Sarah Marmor introduced Stephanie stating, “I have known Stephanie Scharf for my entire legal career. From the start, 27 years ago, she stood out as a champion of women in the profession. She advocated for women in big law firms, demanding that attention be paid to inequities long before it was fashionable to do so. Over the years, she took on leadership roles in bar groups, published ground breaking research and co-founded our women-owned law firm, where we prove every day that women can thrive at the highest levels of this profession. She has been a friend and supporter to so many women, boosting their careers and aspirations, in private and in public, and no one deserves this honor more.”
Stephanie has had a distinguished legal career in complex litigation, representing numerous clients in state and federal trial courts, state appellate and supreme courts, and in federal court appeals. She edits the nation's leading treatise on product liability law and has edited two other treatises on science and the law. A former partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Jenner & Block, Stephanie co-founded Scharf Banks Marmor LLC in 2012, which has become a nationally recognized women-owned law firm representing a broad range of corporations, public agencies and NGOs.
Stephanie is one of the nation’s leading lawyers for advancing women in the law. She was 2017-2020 Chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and is a former President of the National Association of Women Lawyers. Stephanie has innovated many data-based reports about the progress of women in the legal profession. She founded and conducted the NAWL Annual Survey of Women in Law from 2006-2014.
Stephanie then conducted the first-ever empirical study of women at trial, First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table, a study that resulted in dozens of seminar and programs across the country, including two hosted by the Chief Judges of the Northern District of Illinois.
Recently, Stephanie co-authored Walking Out the Door: The Facts, Figures and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice, a national survey about everyday experiences in law, with a data-based set of best practices for firms to use to strengthen their DE&I programs.