Officers and Board
Jeanne "Cezy" Collins
El Paso, TX
Vice President-Fundraising and Strategic Partnering
Annie Jen Wang
New York, NY
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Katherine L. Brown
Immediate Past President
Amanda Green Alexander
Boca Raton, FL
Laura Schulteis Kwaterski
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Laura Caldera Taylor
S. Diane Rynerson
It's Time to Renew!
Click here for a membership form.
Our membership year runs from January to December. Questions about NCWBA membership? Want to pay by credit card rather than a check? Contact Annie Wang, Vice President - Membership or Diane Rynerson, Executive Director.
We thank those groups who have sent in their 2012 dues:
Alabama State Bar Women's Section
California Women Lawyers
Lawyers Club of San Diego
Colorado Women's Bar Association
Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia
Florida Association for Women Lawyers
Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers
Georgia Association for Women Lawyers
Women's Bar Association of Illinois
Kansas Women Attorneys Association
Wichita Women Attorneys Association
Association for Women Attorneys (New Orleans)
Women's Law Section, Maine State Bar Association
Women's Bar Association of Maryland
Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts
Minnesota Women Lawyers
Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City
Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers
Mississippi Women Lawyers Association
New Hampshire Bar Association
Women's Bar Association of the State of New York
Westchester Women's Bar Association
Ohio Women's Bar Association
Oklahoma Bar Association Women in Law Committee
Oregon Women Lawyers
Lawyers Association for Women Marion Griffin Chapter
El Paso Women's Bar Association
Association for Women Lawyers (Wisconsin)
Women Lawyers Forum, Canadian Bar Association
The NCWBA Board in New Orleans, February 2012
Report from New Orleans
New Orleans proved to be a great place to gather for productive meetings of NCWBA committees and the board as well as being a wonderful place for thought-provoking programs and networking with women attorneys from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and beyond. Once again, we would like to thank those who made our networking reception possible:
Association for Women Attorneys, New Orleans
Louisiana State Bar Association
Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers Association, Mississippi
Women in the Profession Committee,
Mississippi Bar Association
Women's Section Alabama State Bar Association
February 5, 2012, ABA Mid-Year Meeting
by Pamela Berman, NCWBA President-Elect
Several NCWBA board members and other women's bar leaders attended the Women's Caucus at the ABA MidYear Meeting in New Orleans on Sunday, February 5, 2012. The Caucus held a Town Hall listening session on issues facing women in the law. ABA President William T. Robinson, III started the session by commending the Commission on Women in the Profession for its outstanding work and reports on women's issues. He mentioned the ABA leadership roles held by women. However, he noted that there was still progress to be made both within the ABA to increase the participation of women in the ABA, itself, as well as women in leadership roles and to increase the women in leadership positions in law firms and corporations.
Bobbi Liebenberg, the past Chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession, spoke about the Commission's Report: Visible Invisibility: Breaking Down Barriers to Women's Leadership and how significant numbers of women had not risen to positions of leadership within the legal profession despite entering the profession for now thirty years at the rate of 50:50 to their male counterparts. The numbers were even bleaker when looking at minority women in leadership positions. The Commission is currently working on programs such as the February 3, 2012 panel discussion and the WILL Academy in San Francisco in December 2012 to change that dichotomy.
Lauren Stiller Rikleen, Co-Chair of the Women's Caucus and Director of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Learning led an open discussion about the issues facing women in the legal profession to achieve equality. The discussion began with a suggestion that it is important to focus upon developing a uniform definition of equity partner to be used by firms when responding to all inquiries, i.e., the American Lawyer profits per partner, the National Association for Law Placement questionnaires relating to diversity, etc. Without a uniform standard of measurement, it is impossible to gauge where women and minorities have been promoted within law firms and how they are being compensated.
The lack of women in meaningful roles or in large numbers in the management of firms and corporations was mentioned as a problem which must be addressed. Women must change the economics currently in play by referring business to women. Only when women control the economics of the firms and companies will they have a larger voice in their direction. The role of unconscious bias and gender stereotyping in reviews and work assignments need to be raised. Work/life balance issues were discussed. The importance of practice groups for women in areas which have few women and women's bar organizations were highlighted as providing critical resources.
ABA President-Elect Laurel Bellows thanked the participants for their interest and the wide-ranging discussion. She pledged that the ABA would work with the Commission and Women's Caucus to address the issues raised and shed light upon the solutions. Estelle Rogers, the Co-Chair of the Women's Caucus wrapped up the session thanking the participants and promising to follow up upon the ideas suggested. Then, those candidates running for elected offices spoke to the Caucus to solicit support of the delegates in attendance.
At the MidYear Meeting, The ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution supporting reductions in licensing barriers for lawyer military spouses who must make frequent moves because of their spouses' work assignments. The resolution, sponsored by the Commission on Women in the Profession, was co-sponsored by many groups, including the NCWBA. Its passage was praised by Michelle Obama, as she released a report on suggestions for removing barriers for employment for military spouses, saying "We're going to urge more national professional associations to follow the lead of the American Bar Association." We were honored to have Military Spouse JD Network co-founders Mary Reding and the Hon. Erin Masson Wirth attend our networking reception. To see a brief video in which they discuss the resolution, click here. To get more information about how women's bar associations can provide assistance in this effort, contact Mary Reding.
Another resolution supported by the NCWBA which was adopted by the House of Delegates calls on those who administer law school admissions tests to provide appropriate accommodations for test-takers with disabilities and to increase the transparency of the process. For more information, click here.
Get to Know a Member:
Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts
by Lindsay Gil, WBA Member
Started in 1978 by a small group of women that now includes judges, elected officials, and bar leaders, the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) is a well established, statewide organization committed to its vision of building a strong community of women lawyers who strive to make a difference in the profession and society at large. The WBA of Massachusetts has grown to include over 1,600 members, 29 substantive, regional, and affinity committees, and a charitable arm, the Women's Bar Foundation (WBF), which was created in 1993 to oversee its charitable activities. The WBF currently manages five member-run pro bono programs that provide critical services to needy sectors of the community, including domestic violence victims, teenagers seeking abortions, elderly, and homeless women.
With an annual budget of nearly a half millions dollars, the WBA of Massachusetts is committed to providing dozens of diverse programs to members annually. One of the many successful WBA-sponsored events in 2011 was the first Massachusetts screening of MissRepresentation, a powerful documentary directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom that addressed how women are portrayed in the media affects women's leadership. This film, which features compelling interviews with well known politicians, journalists, entertainers and activists, including Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, and Gloria Steinem, examines how the media's often disparaging portrayal of women and girls has contributed to relatively low numbers of women in positions of power and influence in the United States. This sold-out screening of over 200 attendees was followed by a WBA-organized panel discussion of the film and potential action steps to change the way media portrays women. The panel featured representatives from the Boston Business Journal, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, and the YWCA of Boston.
The WBA of Massachusetts also held events this past year designed to encourage and support women in attaining success in various career paths through a series entitled "Demystifying the Path to Powerful and Influential Careers." Among the six events, which included discussions about running for elected office, being appointed to high-level government jobs, getting onto for-profit and non-profit boards, and attaining law firm partnership was one entitled "Demystifying the Path to the Bench," which featured a detailed presentation on the judicial application process and a panel discussion during which female members of the Massachusetts judiciary (including a former WBA board president) told their stories, answered audience questions, offered advice on both the application process and professional experience valued in a candidate, and discussed the ways in which the WBA can support members interested in applying to be a judge.
Another important program the WBA hosted this year, through its Women of Color Committee, was a well attended celebration honoring the recent appointment of a number of women of color to the judiciary. These judges have broken barriers and served as an inspiration for both attorneys and non-attorneys throughout the Commonwealth. Attended by the Governor, his chief of staff, and his general counsel, this event was one of many this year that marked the WBA's increased partnership with other organizations working toward similar goals.
Several exciting programs are already on members' calendars for 2012. For example, in February, the WBA is launching "Know Your Rights!," a pilot program designed to educate the leaders of non-profit organizations in the Greater Boston Area about legal issues facing the low-income women and families they serve. This program, which was developed in conjunction with the WBF of Massachusetts and One Family, Inc., will run until November 2012. Each month experts will teach participating non-profit leaders about a selected legal topic and related available resources. Sessions will be offered on a variety of topics including housing rights, family law, labor/employment rights, immigration, educational rights, and criminal offender record information issues. It is the WBA's goal that this initiative strengthens collaborative work between the Massachusetts non-profit and legal communities so they can better serve vulnerable members of our society.
Similarly, in the spring of 2012, the WBA is sponsoring a panel presentation regarding the available fee shifting statutes that allow attorneys to take on low income clients for various causes of action. This program, which will benefit both the private bar and those in need, is geared toward a variety of audiences, including public-interest-minded new attorneys concerned about the job market, private practitioners already doing fee-shifting work and looking to expand their areas of practice, and legal aid lawyers trying to maximize resources for low-income clients in the face of widespread lay-offs. Practice areas covered in this panel presentation will include landlord tenant law, foreclosure-related and consumer work, SSI/SSDI claims, wage and hour claims, and employment and housing discrimination.
In addition to offering programs that seek to benefit its members and the community at-large, the WBA of Massachusetts also strives to achieve the full and equal participation of women in every aspect of society through its work with area legislators and the Massachusetts judiciary. Specifically, each year the WBA of Massachusetts develops a list of priority legislation for the coming year, which it introduces at its annual legislative breakfast at the Massachusetts State House. This year's annual breakfast was marked by celebration as three of the WBA of Massachusetts' legislative priorities - alimony reform, anti-human trafficking legislation, and transgender civil rights - were signed into law during the past year. Priorities for the upcoming year include legislation on paid sick leave and comparable work. Additionally, the WBA Amicus Committee submitted various of friend-of-the-court briefs this year, adding to the dozens it has filed with Massachusetts state and federal appellate courts on issues of importance to women.
To read more about the WBA of Massachusetts, click here
. For more information, feel free to call our Executive Director or any of our officers or immediate past presidents.
Update on the Federal Judiciary: Women are Waiting
by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel
National Women's Law Center
We are starting 2012 much as we ended 2011 - with a minority of U.S. Senators blocking confirmation votes on federal judicial nominees. Specifically, the Senate left at the end of 2011 after the Senate Minority Leader refused to consent to votes on 21 pending nominees. These nominees had all had a majority vote of support in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 16 were actually unanimously approved. The Senate Minority Leader agreed to vote on only one nominee after the Senate returned in January.
Unfortunately, there are few signs that Senate obstruction of judicial nominees will lessen. Senator Mike Lee of Utah recently announced his intention to block votes on all judicial and executive branch nominees
in protest of President Obama's recess appointment of his nominees to the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board. In similar fashion, Senator Rand Paul just this past week delayed a vote on Adalberto Jordan, a Cuban-American nominee to a judicial emergency seat on the Eleventh Circuit, who was eventually confirmed by a vote of 94-5. And without a last-minute agreement, the Senate would have had a filibuster vote on Jesse Furman, nominated to the Southern District of New York. Instead, now-Judge Furman was confirmed 62-34.
There are now 20 nominees who are ready and still waiting for a vote (two have not been renominated to date). In order to move confirmation votes forward, Senate Majority Leader Reid plans to demand votes on a number of judicial branch nominees, after the President's Day recess.
At a time where there are 86 unfilled vacancies in the federal judiciary, blocking votes on these 20 judicial nominees, who have broad-based support and are ready to serve, defies all understanding. In addition, 9 of the 20 pending nominees are women, and their confirmation would provide much-needed gender diversity
in two circuit courts and numerous district courts around the country. Several other nominees would diversify the federal bench in other ways as well. While commendable that President Obama's nominees have been more diverse than any prior President's, those nominees must be confirmed in order for people needing justice to actually benefit from a more diverse bench.
You can help end the logjam on judicial nominations. Contact your Senators
and tell them that you expect them to make sure the Senate votes expeditiously on all judicial nominees.
Join the Women's Bar Leader Listserve
For direct contact with past and present women bar leaders, you may elect to join our "low-traffic" electronic mailing list. You'll find requests for lawyer referrals, job postings, announcements of upcoming events and requests for information about subjects of particular interest to women in the legal profession. This is an "opt-in" list only. To join, please send us an e-mail with your name and connection to a women's bar association.
Friday, August 3rd--Save the Date!
Planning is well underway for our annual Women's Bar Leader Summit on Friday, August 3rd. This year we will be hosted in the Chicago offices of Jenner & Block. We look forward to a day filled with meeting old and new friends while learning about the latest trends and concerns for women in the practice of law. At the end of the day, we will enjoy a networking reception at the offices of Foley & Lardner LLP. We'll have more details soon. We hope to see you there!