Lauren Stiller Rikleen

Executive Director/President, Lawyers Defending American Democracy | Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership

About Lauren Stiller Rikleen

Lauren is a board member and executive director of Lawyers Defending American Democracy, an organization devoted to the protection of democracy and the rule of law.

She is also the President of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership, where she consults, speaks, and trains on developing a respectful, diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture, bringing a customized, evidence-based approach to her presentations that offers practical, strategic recommendations.

Lauren is the editor of: Her Honor – Stories of Challenge and Triumph from Women Judges, (American Bar Association 2023), a collection of nuanced and deeply-moving essays from some of the country’s most prominent women jurists. 

She has also authored 4 books and hundreds of articles in various publications around the country. Her books include: The Shield of Silence: How Power Perpetuates a Culture of Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace, and You Raised Us - Now Work With Us: Millennials, Career Success, and Building Strong Workplace Teams. 

As a former law firm equity partner, Lauren founded the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Group. For 20 years, she was recognized in Best Lawyers in America. She was also recognized in Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers and in Massachusetts Super Lawyers.

Lauren has held, and continues to hold, a variety of leadership roles in the American Bar Association. She co-chairs the ABA Women’s Caucus and is a member of the Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight. Among her past ABA leadership roles, Lauren is a former member of the Board of Governors, the Commission on Women in the Profession, a former chair of the Section of Civil Rights & Social Justice, and a member of the ABA Journal Board of Editors. She has also served on the ABA Presidential Task Force on Gender Equity, where she authored two key documents focusing on the gender gap in partner compensation. She served on the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, where she helped implement a focus on bullying in schools and spearheaded development of materials regarding how to be stronger allies of LGBT colleagues. In addition, she has served as a member of the Board of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and as a Special Advisor to the American Bar Foundation.

Her roots in professional and community organizations are also extensive. For example, she has served as a former president of the Boston Bar Association, a former trustee of Clark University, a former trustee of Middlesex Savings Bank, and was the first woman to chair the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce. Lauren also helped found two community-based charities, in addition to serving on several non-profit boards.

​The recipient of numerous awards, Lauren received the prestigious American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award in 2017, and was named by Public Media’s Next Avenue as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Aging.    

Among her other honors, Lauren was selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly to its Circle of Excellence - Top Women of Law, received the “Friend of the Division” Award from the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association for her guidance, support, and mentorship, and was honored by the Boston College Law School Women’s Law Center as its Woman of the Year. She was also a Leading Women Award recipient from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, a recipient of the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Women of Justice Award, the Barbara Gray Humanitarian Award from Voices Against Violence, the Lelia J. Robinson Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, the Boston College Alumni Award for Excellence in Law, and the Boston College Law School 75th Anniversary Alumni Medal. The MetroWest Chamber of Commerce named her Business Leader of the Year, and she was a winner of its Athena Award.

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Tackling the great mismatch: Retaining talent at all ages