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We Are the Ladies Who Lunch. Got a Problem with That?

Vivia Chen

May 10, 2017


The ladies at my table were uppity this year. Sipping an endless flow of rosé, we made a pact under the flower-bedecked tent: We will no longer be shamed.

It was the annual Central Park Women's Committee hat luncheon—that society event where ladies of means don elaborate, sometimes outrageous, hats to raise money for the park's conservancy. Though women with serious careers have infiltrated the luncheon for years, it's still regarded as a frivolous, girly event—which is why some have felt a bit sheepish about attending (and enjoying) it.

"Women are conscious of perceptions," says former lawyer Valerie Bruce, who's now a senior vice president BCC International. "Attending a non-work related luncheon conjures feelings of guilt—even if for a good cause."

Alas, women are getting rid of the guilt. The women at my table (lawyers and business executives) want you to know that they too are ladies who lunch—and deserve respect. IMG_0459

"Men have their golf outings, we have this," says Linda Filardi (at right with Mike Bloomberg), a former Big Law associate (Debevoise and Skadden Arps), who was most recently a senior lawyer at G.E. "We can choose to take the day off just like the men do all freakin' summer long. We were networking—just like Donald Trump does on the golf course."

Adds Brande Stellings, vice president of Catalyst and a former Cravath, Swaine & Moore litigator: "Men would never apologize about leaving the office to go play golf and don't feel uncomfortable blurring lines between pleasure and business."

So there you have it: No more guilt about guilty pleasures.

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Love the pictures, Vivia. Looks like better networking than playing golf!



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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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