WLA FIVE-Year Plan
The WLA was formed in 1976 by a passionate group of women who were determined to form an organization that would support and promote women lawyers in all of their endeavors. Decades later, the WLA continues its mission to advance women in the legal profession, promote diversity, equality and justice within the legal system, and improve the status of women in the community.
Amongst many of its contributions, the WLA gives scholarships to exemplary law students, provides valuable networking opportunities to members, and endorses candidates for judicial positions.
In order to meet the evolving needs of the WLA’s members, the WLA seeks to develop a strategic plan to formulate new goals for the organization, and set forth methods for achieving those goals. To develop these goals, the WLA addresses the following questions:
The WLA is committed to improving its organization and strengthening its positive affect on the legal and general community. Through strategic planning, the WLA hopes to specifically address the needs of the organization.
Strategic Plan Methodology
In order to develop the WLA’s Five-Year Plan, efforts have been made from the Fall 2014-Fall 2015 to engage the membership and request contributions for ideas to develop the Five-Year Plan. Below is a list of ways the WLA developed the Five-Year Plan:
Current State of the WLA
WLA Organizational Structure
The WLA is a Missouri non-profit organization. The WLA is led by a Board of twelve (12) women, including six (6) Officers (President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Past-President) and six (6) Members-At-Large. The WLA Board holds monthly meetings to discuss the business of the WLA.
Each Board member is a chairperson or co-chairperson of at least one (1) of the following committees:
As a chairperson or co-chairperson of a committee, the Board member is responsible for planning events and for promoting the goal(s) of the committee.
Currently, there are approximately three hundred (300) members of the WLA. All members must be lawyers or law students. The cost of membership to the WLA varies. Membership to law students and first-year lawyers is free. Attorneys working in the public sector are offered a reduced fee for membership. Also, members have the opportunity to pay an amount greater than the membership fee, with the additional amount donated to the WLA Foundation.
The Women Lawyers’ Association Foundation
The Women Lawyers’ Association Foundation (the “Foundation”) was formed in 1999 and was originally named the Women Lawyers’ Association Scholarship Fund. Its original purpose was “[t]o provide scholarship for worthy and deserving female law students attending law schools in the State of Missouri.” On April 25, 2002, the IRS recognized the organization as exempt from federal taxes based on 501(c)(3) status. In the years that followed, an amendment to its purpose and a name change occurred. Now, the Foundation serves broader charitable and educational purposes, which still includes providing scholarships to female law students. Most specifically, the Foundation provides funds for the Linda J. Murphy Scholarship.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
In order to develop the Five-Year Plan, the Five-Year Committee specifically determined the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats of the WLA (“SWOT Analysis”). Below is the developed SWOT Analysis:
A legal profession in which women hold equal status with men as measured by representation and compensation at all levels, positions of leadership and influence, and recognition of collective and personal achievement.
The Mission of the WLA is to:
Long Term Strategic Goals
Goal 1: Fiscal Responsibility
Goal 1.1: Promote prudent fiscal operations to produce large, healthy operating budgets and increase growth for the WLA Foundation to $200,000.00.
Objective 1.1: Promote efficient and effective ways to reduce operating costs.
Objective 1.2: Seek alternative sponsorships for various events.
Objective 1.3: Rely on electronic media and technology for increased awareness and reduction in operating costs.
Objective 1.4: Provide each committee with a budget for events to use throughout the year.
Goal 1 Key Performance Measures:
Goal 2: Growth of Membership
Goal 2.1: Increase membership of the WLA to 500 members.
Objective 2.1: Target law schools in Missouri and Illinois for increased communication and involvement.
Objective 2.2: Identify and reach out to in-house counsel and public practice attorneys that would benefit from membership.
Objective 2.3: Identify male attorneys who would promote and demonstrate the WLA’s mission.
Objective 2.4: Hold annual recruiting events and/or increase awareness at lawyers’ association activities.
Goal 2 Performance Measures:
Goal 3: Involvement of Women in Leadership and Judicial Positions
Goal 3.1: Educate and empower women to achieve leadership positions and judicial positions.
Objective 3.1: Identify women who would be successful in leadership positions and judicial positions that they are seeking.
Objective 3.2: Help women gain resources and education to achieve leadership positions or judicial positions that they are seeking.
Objective 3.3: Provide social media support and administrative support to assist the women in running campaigns for positions related to the judiciary.
Objective 3.4: Recommend women to obtain leadership awards.
Goal 3 Key Performance Measures:
Goal 4: Increase Influence within Community
Goal 4.1: Obtain influence in the legal and general community.
Objective 4.1: Identify media sources that could assist in promoting the WLA.
Objective 4.2: Continuously contact the media for coverage of larger WLA events.
Objective 4.3: Inform the media when a WLA member receives an achievement.
Goal 4 Key Performance Measures: