Women's Initiative

White and Williams’ Women’s Initiative celebrates an integral part of our firm’s history while serving as a foundation for nurturing the careers of our women lawyers.  Our story begins with Virginia “Ginny” Barton Wallace.  She earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and then took an internship position at the Saturday Evening Post in Philadelphia.  During World War II, Ginny rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, while serving with the Women’s Army Air Corps. She attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and earned her law degree in 1950.  After graduation, Ginny joined White and Williams, and in 1961, went on to become the first female partner at the firm and one of the first in the City of Philadelphia. 

As a tribute to Ginny’s legacy, our Women’s Initiative serves as a critical component of our firm’s retention, recruitment and business development efforts.  The programs found within our Women’s Initiative aim to create and maintain a dynamic work environment that fosters the advancement and success of the women within the firm.  One of those programs is our Virginia Barton Wallace Award breakfast, an event that honors a woman in business who, like Ginny, has used her leadership and passion to inspire other women to succeed. 

Additionally, through professional and personal cultivation and development, our women lawyers are wired into the business community.  Our women lawyers host, and speak at, educational and networking events that touch on a variety of topics including work/life balance, opportunities for career development and advancement and legal issues pertaining to business owners including tax and intellectual property.

Our women lawyers hold leadership positions and are active members of internal and external organizations including:

  • Athena PowerLink
  • Community Advisory Board of the CancerCare Community of Greater Lehigh Valley
  • Lehigh Valley Women’s 5K Classic
  • Members of key firm management
  • National Association of Female Executives
  • National Association of Women Business Leaders (NAWBO)
  • Practice group leaders
  • Professional Women’s Roundtable
  • Women’s Business Council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Women’s World Banking

Our firm and our lawyers have been recognized for the Women’s Initiative program.  Some of those honors include:

  • The firm was recognized by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession
  • Partner Patti Santelle received the Scarlet Oak Meritorious Service Award by Rutgers University for her contributions as an alumni leader and student mentor at the Rutgers-Camden School of Law
  • Partners Gale White and Lori Kachmar have been named among the Top 50 Female Lawyers in Pennsylvania by Law and Politics magazine
  • Partner Nancy Conrad was the recipient of the “Take the Lead” award from the Girl Scouts and the “Athena Award" from the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce