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Ropes & Gray’s Women’s Forum Inaugurates Annual Tracy Brown Speaker Series

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(l to r) Laura Hoey, Jane Goldstein, Tracy Brown, Colleen Conry, Amanda Morrison and Roz Nasdor at the inaugural “She Speaks, the Annual Tracy Brown Speaker Series.”

On June 24, Ropes & Gray launched a new annual speaker series named in honor of Tracy Brown, the firm’s director of HR special projects. “She Speaks, the annual Tracy Brown Speaker Series,” recognizes Brown’s invaluable counsel to and leadership at the firm for more than 16 years, particularly her contributions to the Women’s Forum. The speaker series, sponsored by the Women’s Forum, aims to provide a platform for discussing issues of significance for women lawyers at the firm and in the legal profession at large. Brown delivered the inaugural speech before an audience of nearly 300. 

Brown joined Ropes & Gray in 2004 as an associate and later became the firm’s first attorney development manager. She subsequently held the position of director of attorney development & diversity.  In her speech, Brown reflected on the challenge of achieving “that perfect balance between work and life.” With candor, humor, eloquence and courage, she touched upon the myriad obstacles to work-life balance, and offered advice for how to live an integrated life in the face of them. She stressed the importance of taking “control and responsibility for the lives we want to lead.” Brown closed by sharing some of the lessons she has learned living with terminal cancer since she was diagnosed in May 2017, including a heightened awareness and appreciation of the things and people that matter most to her.

Chicago office managing partner and former Women’s Forum co-chair Laura Hoey opened the event by reiterating the Women’s Forum’s mission to recruit, retain and advance the careers of the firm’s women lawyers, and noting Brown’s vital role in putting that mission into action. 

“Tracy brought the Women’s Forum to the next level,” said Hoey. “She moved us from mentors to sponsors, and she equipped women with the tools they need to chart their own destinies.” 

Ropes & Gray’s director & pro bono counsel Roz Nasdor introduced Brown, highlighting her many contributions to the firm, including her critical efforts in creating an attorney development support system for associates and practice groups, as well as her work with the Women’s Forum and the firm’s diversity committee. “Tracy has owned and lived the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion,” she said. 

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Later in the program, Brown was joined by a panel of women partners, including former Women’s Forum co-chairs Colleen Conry and Jane Goldstein, and current co-chair Amanda Morrison, to discuss issues relating to the unique challenges women may face as they navigate their careers in the legal profession.  

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