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Freeborn & Peters LLP’s Women's Leadership Council (WLC) was established in 2007 to provide professional development, marketing support, networking opportunities and mentoring to our female associates and partners. 

The Women’s Leadership Council (“WLC”) promotes the development and advancement of our women attorneys, advocates the marketing efforts of our women attorneys, and focuses on the recruitment and retention of women attorneys.

The WLC aims to support women at Freeborn through: 

  • Connections to other women attorneys, internally and externally, through events, panels, and seminars
  • Sponsorship and mentorship that advance women in their careers
  • Recruiting and retention of female attorneys  
  • Support of marketing and networking efforts 
  • Resources aimed at developing our women attorneys into leaders within the firm and the legal community

 To achieve these goals, the WLC has formed committees focused on issues relating to public relations and marketing, attorney integration and mentoring, social activities, and professional development:

  • Public Relations and Marketing – The Marketing Committee of the WLC presents women attorneys with opportunities to expand and strengthen their personal and professional networks beyond the firm. Our semi-annual events welcome women clients and friends of the firm to join us for gatherings including presentations by women entrepreneurs, wellness events, and more, which promote the development of relationships with other professional women. Due to COVID-19, these events have shifted to a virtual format, including a virtual escape room and meditation classes. Additional virtual events will take place throughout 2021.
  • Attorney Integration and Mentoring – As Freeborn continues to grow across all of its offices, it is even more important that the women work to ensure that its members are fully integrated within the WLC, the firm, and its practice groups.  The Integration and Mentoring committee works to do exactly that to provide visibility, collaboration and support to and among each office and WLC member.
  • Social – Freeborn’s women attorneys work within all Practice Groups of the firm. The Social Committee of the WLC recognizes that working together is not necessarily the same as spending quality time together, and therefore provides women attorneys with planned social events in order to facilitate relationships outside of work.   
  • Professional Development – Freeborn appreciates that women attorneys face a variety of unique challenges. The Professional Development Committee of the WLC works in tandem with the Management Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Practice Group Leaders to embrace these diverse perspectives while encouraging, mentoring and advancing women associates and partners within the firm. The firm currently has four women Practice Group Leaders and strives for continued inclusion of women in leadership roles.

These WLC initiatives have dynamically advanced the professional development of women practicing at Freeborn – successfully enhancing their careers and sculpting their skills to become leaders both in the legal industry as well as role models within the community. The Council is run by elected Co-Chairs serving two-year terms. Partners Kimberly A. Beis and Erin McAdams Franzblau were elected in January 2021.

Kimberly A. Beis
Partner
(312) 360-6767
[email protected]

Meet the WLC

Jennifer Huelskamp, Partner

Litigation | Labor & Employment | General Commercial Litigation 

Describe what you work on in your typical work week: Currently, a typical work week for me involves advising employers on COVID return to work policies, drafting workplace policies and procedures, conducting sexual harassment training for employees, and devoting as much time as I can to my current pro bono projects. I also routinely advise clients on human resource issues, such as performance problems, termination of employees, and drafting the corresponding documents that go along with these employment actions. In addition, I have recently become more involved in Firm leadership, and it has been fun to assist in Firm-sponsored events and with important initiatives such as Culture Groups and the newly-formed Parenting Group.

What is your favorite type of matter to work on? My favorite type of matter to work on is a workplace investigation. I really enjoy digging into the facts of a specific employment issue and am not afraid to ask the tough and oftentimes uncomfortable questions that come with allegations of workplace harassment and/or discrimination. I also enjoy that often we can really be change-makers, in terms of helping a company or organization to thoroughly investigate workplace issues and come out on the other side with new policies and procedures that make their company a better place to work.

What advice would you give a woman interested in the legal profession or starting out in her career as an attorney? Be yourself – unapologetically and every single day. I have learned that the more I go with my gut and am truly myself, the more successful I am.

What is your favorite part of being a part of Freeborn’s WLC? The WLC has truly been a great support system my entire time at Freeborn (and I’ve been here over 7 years now!). Every single time I’ve come to a member of the WLC with a question or concern or just to have another person to bounce an idea off of, the WLC comes through for me. It’s so important for women, especially in this profession, to support each other and the WLC consistently shows up for me.

Freeborn’s Women’s Leadership Council Remembers Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg showed women that we can be anything that we want and that she was willing to fight to open the pathways to get us there. As she famously said “women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” The Women’s Leadership Council of Freeborn could not agree more. We deserve to be in all places where decisions are being made. We deserve to be at all levels of the legal industry. We deserve to be in every courtroom. We deserve to be in every C-suite. We deserve to be at every board table. We need more of us that look like us to be examples for every young woman out there. So that they too see and know that they can choose to be anything they want to be. Thanks for all that you taught us, Justice Ginsburg.