An appreciation for diversity is the essence of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis (“WLA”) and has been for forty years.
Forty years ago the answer to “Why a women’s bar association?” was simple: women were not represented among the judges in our Missouri courts. That is why in 1976, Anna Forder took on the task of Charter President of a brave group of women who came together with a combined voice to bring attention to this lack of diversity in our judiciary.
Among others appointed in the interim, only three years after WLA held its first meeting in 1976, Anna Forder herself was appointed to the St. Louis City Circuit Court. Many more stellar female jurists have since been appointed to all levels of the Missouri judiciary, and those appointments were perhaps made possible, at least in part, by the efforts of the WLA to bring attention to the need for diversity on the bench.
So, forty years later the question of “Why a women’s bar association” might be asked again. The answer is still simple: diversity in our legal system makes it stronger.
Now, the issues might be defined as a lack of gender diversity in our legislature, in the management ranks of our law firms, as lead trial counsel, as general counsel to the corporate world, and as deans of our law schools. The National Association of Women Lawyers has challenged the profession to attain 30% gender diversity in these areas by 2020. See http://www.nawl.org/p/cm/ld/fid=593. And as it has for forty years, WLA today provides a place where women law students and young lawyers can see what a successful woman legislator, partner, in-house attorney, and professor looks like, acts like, and is. That example of success just might inspire young women to be the next legislator, partner, in-house attorney, or professor, at maybe even a higher level and help meet that challenge.
WLA’s Board of Directors for its fortieth bar year (2015-2016) exemplified the diversity that underpins its mission, consisting of a plaintiff’s attorney at a mid-size firm, a criminal solo practitioner, an in-house health care attorney, a government attorney, and civil defense partners and associates at both big and small firms. These women spanned the generations represented multiple ethnicities and backgrounds.
Going into the next decade, WLA carries a heavy plate of goals to increase its influence in the community by further supporting women in their legal aspirations and providing a safe and encouraging network in which women can find their confidence to succeed. Those goals will be carried out in the 2016-2017 bar year by the most diverse board yet!
The Annual Meeting serves to ratify the work of the Board over the course of the year. Due to recent County health guidelines, the number of allowable in-person attendees has been limited. We invite those already registered to come out and join us. For those not yet registered, we are offering a Zoom window to the event. Click here to register for the Zoom meeting and login information will be sent to you. Registration for the event is free. We look forward to "seeing" you there.
Please join the WLA for its September Zoom Happy Hour on Thursday, September 10, from 5:30 - 6:30 PM. Join host and WLA Board member Ida Shafaie to share mocktail and cocktail recipes that have provided comfort over the last five months of quarantine. Guests will be sent featured recipes in advance and are encouraged to share a recipe or two with the group. The event is free and space is limited. Registration is on a first-come basis and attendees will be provided with meeting sign-in information prior to the event. Register here.
Please join the WLA for its May Mentorship Luncheon focused on “The Virtual Practice of Law”. The WLA will give priority in registration for this luncheon to its target audience, WLA members who are 36 and under or have been practicing five years or less. The WLA, in partnership with its Membership/Mentorship Sponsor, Dowd Bennett LLP, will host the meeting on Dowd Bennett’s Zoom account and ensure that attendees receive a $15 gift certificate for food delivery in advance. The guest speakers will be the Honorable Ellen Dunne of the 21st Judicial Circuit Court and Erica Blume Slater of The Simon Law Firm. Register here.
Please join WLA for its upcoming Legislative Update CLE. Gain insights and tips on "running for public office" and hear legislative updates/priorities from elected officials from the Missouri State Senate, St. Louis County Council, and the City of St. Louis' Board of Alderman.
State Senator Karla May
State Senator Jill Schupp
St. Louis County Councilwoman Lisa Clancy
St. Louis City Alderwoman Annie Rice
We look forward to an informative and insightful discussion over our Zoom platform. 1.5 CLE hours are pending approval for this session. Registration is FREE for members and $10 for non-members. Register here.
Save the Date:
WLA Annual Installation & Awards Ceremony
Thursday, September 24th | 5:00 - 7:00 PM
Enterprise Holdings Pavilion at Clayton's Shaw Park
Join your fellow members as they welcome the 2020-2021 Board of Directors and honor our recently appointed women judges, scholarship awardees and President's Award recipient.
WLA is committed to the health and safety of its members and guests. Every effort will be made to provide a safe meeting environment. Future health and safety concerns and directives may result in this event being moved to a virtual platform.
Monthly Board Meeting:
3rd Thursday of Each Month
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Contact email@example.com for location
View our Announcements page for information on other area events.