A Note From Our President
WWL President’s Message – Winter 2013
Over the holidays I received more notes and cards than I deserve. Call me sentimental, but I really enjoy the well wishes of my colleagues as we all pause to reevaluate our contributions from the previous year and set our sights on the coming year. One card from a local law firm had a phrase which caught my eye, and is posted to my office desk wall, just beyond the sight of my laptop screen.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
This note of inspiration was written a long time ago by a very innocent, strong, brave, and frightened young woman, Anne Frank. And given her awful set of circumstances, she saw the optimism and the future in her world. For all the challenges our profession and our professional lives give us, her words fuel our work.
There are circumstances that Washington Women Lawyers has set out to address the issues of equal rights and opportunities for women. The organization has determined that as stewards of the mission to prevent discrimination against women, the time for Mentoring and Networking programs is now.
The first in our series of “Plugging the Leaky Pipeline” – a program to promote Women’s leadership in our legal community was held at the end of February. It was a resounding success, with registration full within 24 hours and a prestigious and informed group of prominent women in our legal community sharing their experiences and tips. From our Chief Justice to a sole practitioner, each provided insights and tools on networking and mentoring. Stay tuned for more programs on Having Confidence and Taking Credit, Addressing the Pay Gap, and Having a Legal Career and a Family. And Chapters, support is yours for developing these events to benefit your members.
We are reaching out to our companion Minority Bar Associations – to share our perspectives, to support our common goals and to pool our resources. Recently, we held a first ever after work reception with the Korean Bar Association at a Seattle restaurant that was met with enthusiasm and support. Washington Women Lawyers is also an active member of the Governing Council Initiative for Diversity. This Initiative is finally getting some traction and is partnering not only with WWL, but also the Gender and Justice Commission, the Minority and Justice Commission, the law schools and the Washington State Bar Association with the goal of producing measurable progress toward a legal profession that promotes diversity among lawyers. With a Managing Partners Summit scheduled in May, legal employers will review best practices and share tools to assist them in their efforts to cultivate a more inclusive legal workplace. It’s good to know that the concept of a contributing lawyer is being stretched beyond the fiscal measurement of the billable hour requirement.
Recently I was a guest at the Washington State Association for Justice Minority Bar Leadership Dinner, which brought together outstanding and vocal diversity leaders for an evening of camaraderie and networking. As we went around the room each introducing ourselves, our mission, and our programs, I was struck by the commonality of our passion. From the newly formed 20 member Slavic Bar Association of Washington to the prominent stature of the Loren Miller Bar Association we all are working to advance the well being of our membership and to promote equality and professionalism in the legal profession.
On behalf of the State Board, and for every woman in leadership in our nine chapters and three law schools, we thank you for this opportunity to “improve the world”. And thank you, Anne Frank, for these words.
Jeanne Marie Clavere
2012 - 2013 WWL President