Charna E. Sherman, Attorney at Law
Charna E. Sherman’s passion for the practice of law and diversity in the profession is reflected in her leadership roles with numerous professional organizations.
In 2015, under the auspices of the Ohio Attorney General, Charna served on an expert panel of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission charged with creating a new basic training curriculum for all new Peace Officers in Ohio on procedural justice and police legitimacy, with a particular focus on incorporating a primer in implicit bias.
In 2009, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown appointed Charna to serve on the Judicial Selection Committee for the Northern District of Ohio. She was also appointed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio to several Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panels convened in the Northern District.
Due to Charna’s extensive experience over the past 35 years with federal multidistrict litigation (MDLs), the President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association called on her to serve on one of his signature initiatives, a new committee to address the growth of MDLs and class actions in the Northern District of Ohio. The Federal Bar Association similarly has sought her expertise as a panelist, in 2008 and 2009, for its annual Continuing Legal Education (CLE) on MDLs.
Since 2007, Charna has served as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a distinction that recognizes outstanding dedication to the community and maintenance and advancement of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) objectives. Charna’s extensive involvement in the ABA has spanned Presidential appointments to select Commissions of the “big ABA,” to serving on the ABA Section of Litigation Leadership and on the Council for the ABA’s Fund for Justice and Education which manages all of the ABA’s charitable funds and projects. She has chaired task forces and divisions, and served on boards and committees, charged with addressing issues at the forefront of litigators’ concerns across the country, such as the attorney-client privilege, e-discovery, e-research and e-news, jury trial innovations, and mediation ethics. In 2004, Charna was honored with the Litigation Section’s Award of Excellence for facilitating the adoption of the first national Standards on Mediation Ethics by the ABA House of Delegates.
Charna has a distinguished record of professional involvement concerning issues of diversity, and particularly the advancement of women in the legal profession. Her activities in this area include:
- Appointed by the President of the ABA to its select 12-member Commission on Women in the Profession
- Appointed by the President of the ABA to its select Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline.
- Appointed by the President of the ABA to its Council on the Pipeline to Law Leadership and Justice.
- Invited to serve on the inaugural Steering Committee of one of the ABA’s newest women’s initiatives, Direct Women, to diversify Fortune 1000 boards. Read more about DirectWomen.
- Appointed to co-chair the ABA Section of Litigation Task Force on Implicit Bias
- Spearheaded groundbreaking national Summits on Women in the Law in 2002 and 2003, as Co-chair of the ABA’s Section of Litigation Woman Advocate Committee
- Selected by the President of the National Association of Women Lawyers to serve on its new Committee on the Evaluation of Supreme Court Nominees
- Appointed by the President of the Ohio State Bar Association to a select committee to study and update its 1995 Joint Report, with the Ohio Supreme Court, of the Ohio Joint Task Force on Gender Fairness
- Invited to serve as a member of the select Advisory Board of the first-ever Women’s Power Summit on Law and Leadership of the University of Texas School of Law
Charna also frequently speaks and publishes on current issues, including:
- Charna was recently a panelist on the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s program “Legal Disruptors: Ideas Shaking Up the Legal Industry”
- In February 2020, Charna joined with Debra Katz, America’s top #MeToo lawyer, to speak on “Making #MeToo Count: Achieving Institutional Change at Harvard”
- Charna E. Sherman Law Offices Co., LPA and the Ruby Shoes Fund helped support the publication of a groundbreaking study by the University of California at Hastings Law School Center for WorkLife Law, titled “Disruptive Innovation, New Models of Legal Practice”
- Invited to introduce and interview Professor Mahzarin R. Banaji, a foremost leader on the science behind unconscious thinking and feeling as they unfold in social context, at the 2013 Power Summit of the University of Texas Center for Women in Law April 2013; Watch interview
- Appeared as a panelist in January, 2011 on Implicit Bias and the Justice System, featuring nationally renowned legal and psychology expert, Cornell Law Professor Jeffrey Rachlinski, at the ABA Litigation Section Leadership Meeting in Vail, Colorado. Charna co-chaired the Section’s groundbreaking Implicit Bias Task Force, which worked to foster awareness of “unconscious bias” and to address its profound impact on the justice system and the profession
- Moderated a panel on “Navigating to Partnership, Rainmaking and Succession Planning” at the April, 2010 Women in Law Leadership Conference sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in Philadelphia
- Chaired a groundbreaking program, “The Credit Crisis: How Compensation Practices Adversely Affect the Advancement of Women and Minorities in the Law and How We Must Change Them,” presented by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and the ABA Law Practice Management Section at the July, 2009 ABA Annual Meeting
- Chaired acclaimed program on “Mindbugs: The Psychology of Ordinary Prejudice,” featuring Mazharin Banaji, world-renowned expert on hidden bias and the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard University, at the ABA Mid-year Annual Meeting in February, 2009
- Appeared as a panelist in April, 2008 on “How In-house Counsel Can Make a Difference to Law Firm Women” at the first Regional Summit for Women In-House Counsel sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in Philadelphia
- Moderated the “real-time” program “Voting with the Stars: Oral Histories of Women Trailblazers in the Law,” to mark the 20th anniversary of the Commission on Women in the Profession at the ABA Annual Midyear Meeting in February, 2008
- Appeared as a workshop panelist on innovations in bar programming concerning diversity at the February, 2008 joint Annual Meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and the National Conference of Bar Foundations
- Moderated a panel on “Women’s Initiatives in the Workplace” at the November, 2007 Women in Law Leadership Conference in Chicago, sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession
- Invited to address the 51st annual meeting of Union International des Avocats (the International Union of Lawyers) in October 2007 in Paris on “Will there be a global market for diversity in the future of law?”
- Moderated a panel of top inside counsel for the ABA Section of Litigation Leadership on “Partnering for Diversity” in 2005
- Authored articles in Winter 2004 NAWL JOURNAL and in Summer 2003 The Women Advocate Newsletter on “Women’s Summit II: Practical Steps for Keeping Women on the Success Track”
- Contributed to article in October 2003 ABA JOURNAL on “Pounding on a Glass Ceiling: Speakers Seek to Shatter the Final Barriers to Gender Equality”
- Authored articles in Winter 2003 NAWL JOURNAL and Winter 2003 The Women Advocate Newsletter on “Summit on Keeping Her in Her Place: New Challenges to the Integration of Women in the Profession”
- Chaired the production of, and appeared in the 2002 ABA CLE video: “Best of Both Worlds: Strategies for Balancing the Home Court with the Trial Court”
Charna also volunteers annually for the Ohio Supreme Court’s Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program.