The Women In Law Section offers an effective platform for women lawyers to advocate on behalf of women in the legal profession. In seeking to improve the standard of excellence in the practice of law, we:
Secure the full participation of women in the justice system and the legal profession
Empower women to excel by providing effective mentoring, training and support
Provide networking opportunities for women lawyers
Assist law firms and organizations in their efforts to attract and retain women lawyers
Provide women lawyers an avenue to return to the active profession of law
We do this by providing the necessary support, resources, training and networking to women lawyers as well as our male colleagues, and by partnering with other advocacy organizations.
The theme for this year is “Women in Law Take Cleveland!”
As women, we know all about giving, supporting others, and doing a great job. But when it comes to our careers, we need to think proactively: take. Take control. Decide where we want to be, and how we are going to get there. Take credit for our accomplishments. Take the initiative to network, and to develop business. Take the initiative to find diverse mentors. Take advantage of opportunities as they arise, especially those outside of our comfort zone. And yes, "Women in Law Take Cleveland" is a double entendre; we are having FUN working together to support the advancement of women in law!
The Committees are aligned with the objectives of the Section, which are (1) mentoring; (2) networking; (3) professional and community leadership; and (4) advocacy on behalf of women lawyers.
Membership Development and Advocacy Committee
Chair: Laura James
Vice Chairs: Julie DiBaggio and Mary Stiles
Diversity Circle Liaison: to be named
CMBA Publications Liaison: Ashley Kilbane
The Membership Development and Advocacy Committee seeks to increase the involvement, commitment, and engagement of section members in order to provide a section that advocates for the advancement of women in the legal profession and provides continued value to members. In addition to fostering current relationships with section members, the Committee seeks to increase involvement from law firms, corporations, and government attorneys that are not currently involved in the section in order to create a better awareness of what the section does as well as form strategic relationships.
For the 2012-2013 CMBA year, the Committee will be creating a list of benefits of section membership in order to create printed materials to be used in attracting and retaining new members. Not only does the Section offer free monthly lunches to Section members, but it has reduced cost CLE offerings, numerous networking opportunities, and Food for Thought small group meetings.
The Committee will also be reaching out to women’s initiative and diversity leaders at law firms that are underrepresented in the section. Committee members will engage in discussions with these leaders to determine how the section can best meet the needs of women lawyers and to inform these leaders of the numerous benefits of the section. Time will also be spent reaching out to those current members who are non-lawyers that take advantage of the CMBA’s Affiliate Membership program. Engaging these members will provide the Committee with insight as to the value the section provides to non-lawyers as well as how to attract and retain non-lawyer members.
The Committee will also coordinate with Diversity Circle regarding the Spring Diversity and Inclusion Conference.
Input from existing members is essential to the continued success of the section. Therefore, the Committee will be welcoming and thanking all returning members and seeking input from them regarding how the section can better meet their individual needs.
The Committee is always looking for volunteers who are committed to providing consistent support and help throughout the 2012-2013 CMBA year.
Networking & Mentoring Committee
Co-Chairs: Rebecca Bennett and Gabe Kelly
The Networking & Mentoring Committee will develop fun opportunities for networking and mentoring with other professionals. The first two programs are as follows:
Faces & Places
-- Co-Chairs Judy Bodenhamer and Michelle Sheehan (event scheduled for September 20, 2012)
This evening networking event provided a terrific opportunity for Women in Law members to connect with others within the Cleveland legal and business community through a scavenger hunt and other activities.
Food for Thought
-- Chair: Jennifer Jackson
This networking and mentoring program runs from September through May. Groups are formed based on preferences such as breakfast, lunch, or cocktail hour, and geographic location. Group members are diverse, ranging from law students to experienced professionals. Members should contact Jennifer Jackson to join a group.
Professional Development and CLE Committee
Chair and Liaison to the CMBA Staff: Kami Brauer
Vice-Chair: Musette Vincent
The Professional Development & CLE Committee will focus on programming designed to advocate on behalf of women lawyers and to develop and enhance leadership skills within the law firm environment and other legal work environments, and in the community at large. Proceeds from the CLE Program, excluding the December program, remain with the Section.
The Committee is in the process of arranging various other programs to be announced later.
Four or five members needed to help secure speakers, plan programs, and attend/coordinate some of the programs. While the programs are held throughout the year, members should be ready to dive in immediately, as the committee’s activities primarily occur during the first few months of the bar year.
Community Leadership Committee
Co-Chairs: LeeDaun Williams and Margaret Montano
Vice-Chair: June Seech
The Community Leadership Committee provides women with an opportunity to provide community service, and to develop and demonstrate their community leadership skills. The Committee also reaches out to local law school students, to welcome them to join the Section as student members (for free!) and to take advantage of the opportunity to network with attorneys and to obtain mentoring advice from experienced attorneys.
As of September 5, 2012, the Committee needs one vice-chair, plus two other members to help plan and implement two fall law school events, and a spring community-based program for women. The Committee will ask for additional members to assist with these programs specifically on the days leading up to and including the day of the event.
The Committee liaisons help keep members informed of opportunities to engage in various programs:
The Justice for All Liaison & Legal Aid Liaison will be invited to speak at one meeting, and to keep the Section informed of opportunities to participate in CMBA pro bono activities and CMBA/CMBF-sponsored events.
3Rs Liaison: Sarah Lovequist
Law School Faculty Liaisons:
Candice Story (Case Western Reserve University)
Francie Fields (Cleveland-Marshall)
Law School Student Liaisons:
Michelle Reese (Case Western Reserve University)
To be named (Cleveland-Marshall)
NEW! The WIL Roster is now available through Section's Community Page. To access the Community Page, log in to the CMBA website and click on "profile" in the upper right corner. Select "My Communities" from the menu bar, and then select Women in Law. The directory is located under the Documents tab. For more information on Communities, please click here to view the Community Guide
The Women in Law Section holds meetings at the CMBA at Noon on the first Wednesday of every month, excluding July and December. Lunch is free for members. These meetings are intended as an opportunity for networking, mentoring, and becoming more involved with the Section. Meetings typically end at 1:00, or may be scheduled to run a little longer if accompanied with CLE. Minutes are posted to keep those who are unable to attend informed. Section Members, and anyone considering membership, are welcome to attend!
If you are not receiving emails about monthly meetings and other events, your email system may be blocking these messages. Please check whether you can add contacts to prevent this from occurring, or consider asking CMBA to use your personal email address. You can also join our LinkedIn group, check Communities, and check this website for updates.
Check out the Women in Law Community to view the latest version of the Section roster, which includes contact info and practice areas for our members.
To access the Community, follow these instructions:
- Sign in to the CMBA website and select "profile" in the upper right corner.
- On the menu bar, select "My Communities" to view a list of your available communities
- Select Women in Law Section
- Once inside the Community, the roster is found in the "Documents" tab
Please click here to email Samantha Pringle with any questions, or call the CMBA at 216-696-3525.