Women in Law: Obstacles Faced in the Workplace (Pt. 1 of Series)

By John Murph

March 26, 2019

To honor Women’s History Month, the D.C. Bar Studios hosted a discussion panel of four exceptional women lawyers to share their experiences in the legal field. Jill Dash, vice president of strategic engagement at the American Constitution Society, hosted the panel that included Yolanda Hawkins-Bautista, Ava Benach, Nancy Ortmeyer Kuhn, and Dariely Rodriguez.

Below are their bios and video excerpts of them talking about the obstacles they’ve each faced in the workplace. 


Yolanda Hawkins-Bautista, panelist
Hawkins-Bautista is the current president of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and associate general counsel at Freddie Mac. There, she conducts internal investigations to ensure compliance with Freddie Mac’s policies and procedures. She also manages outside counsel to ensure high quality, cost-effective legal representation. Her areas of expertise include breach of contract disputes, securities violation claims, issues related to property assessed clean energy programs, software and licensing disputes, cybersecurity, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discrimination. Prior to joining Freddie Mac in 2010, she worked at Howrey LLP.


Ava Benach, panelist
A founding partner of Benach Collopy, Benach is an immigration lawyer with nearly 20 years of experience. She represents clients in removal proceedings and in litigation matters before the federal courts. In immigration courts across the country, Benach has addressed issues such as asylum, the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, jurisdiction and due process, and eligibility for relief.


Nancy Ortmeyer Kuhn, panelist
Kuhn is a director in Jackson & Campbell, P.C.’s Business Law Practice Group, which specializes in federal and state tax law matters and litigation. She’s also the chair of the firm’s Tax Law Practice Group. She has a strong and diverse background in tax planning, representation of taxpayers before the IRS, and general litigation.


Dariely Rodriguez, panelist
Rodriguez is director of the Economic Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. There she leads the committee’s efforts to combat employment discrimination and to address ongoing economic and racial inequality through litigation, public education, and policy advocacy.

Jill Dash, moderator
Jill Dash is the Vice President of Strategic Engagement at the American Constitution Society. There she oversees its work on issues surrounding the judiciary and rule of law, and the development of the ACS professional pipeline from law students to senior attorneys. She’s also the president-elect at the Women Bar Association, where she will assume duties as president in June 2019.