Liz Blackwell, a products liability and tobacco partner, is featured in the September/October 2012 issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal, a publication that spotlights diverse leaders from a variety of industry sectors, non-profit organizations, the military and higher education.
The journal selected Blackwell as a Company and Executive Women Worth Watching 2013 Award Winner. Honorees were chosen for their professional accomplishments and contributions to the community.
Blackwell has represented national clients at the trial and appellate level in both state and federal court. She represented Lorillard Tobacco Company at trial and on appeal in USA v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., the $280 billion civil RICO case brought by the United States against the tobacco industry.
In her profile in the publication, Blackwell discusses the fact that while more women than men obtain advanced degrees, woman still lag on the executive front.
“Achieving equality … demands both an institutional commitment to equality and individual people who are willing to do the hard work required to make it a reality,” Blackwell said. “In today’s workplace, the institutional commitment is often there. Right or wrong, it is now up to us — women and members of other minority groups — to finish the task.”
Blackwell also discussed her work in 2010 representing the Pink Pistols in an amicus brief cited in the landmark Second Amendment case, McDonald v. Chicago. The Pink Pistols is a nationwide group of LGBT gun owners.
“On its face, the issue appeared to be one for groups like the NRA, avid sportsmen and constitutional wonks,” Blackwell said. “But the Pink Pistols wanted to be heard. We explained that laws preventing the use of firearms for self-defense in the home disproportionally impacted those individuals who are targets of domestic violence or hate crimes. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed.”
The case illustrates the unique insights that women and minorities can contribute, Blackwell said. But to make a difference, they have to speak up, she said.