Full Time Practice

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dear Law Society Members,

Online registration for the JRCLS 2017 Annual Conference in Philadelphia closes at 1:00 p.m. EST this Monday, February 13. You only have a few days left to join with friends and colleagues on February 16-18 for an historic occasion in the Birthplace of America. Use the following link to register:


Once again, here are highlights from the conference agenda:
·         45 speakers, including Professors Jeffrey Rosen and Rana Lehr-Lehnardt, Judges Kent Jordan and Cheryl Ann Krause, Dean Gordon Smith, President Matthew Holland, and Elder Lance Wickman
·         2 keynote addresses, 5 plenary sessions, and 9 breakout sessions
·         Topics ranging from the Founding to state and federal conflicts to human rights to religious freedom to judicial nominations to church history to financial regulation to LDS Church global legal affairs
·         Up to 8 CLE credits, including 1 ethics credit
·         Tours of Independence Hall
·         Early morning runs up the “Rocky steps" at Philadelphia City Hall
·         An evening at the National Constitution Center


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Webinar - BYU Women in Business & JRCLS Women in Law Webinar series

February 16th at 1:00 p.m.
Presenter will be Jeanette Bennett, editor of Utah Valley Magazine, and founder of Bennett Communications.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Meet the Richmond Sisters

We are sisters, best friends, and professional cohorts. 

Although primarily raised in Virginia and California, many of our defining memories come from the summers we spent in Massachusetts helping our grandparents run a campground on Cape Cod.  It was where we learned to work hard.  Work started around age four, counting twelve night crawlers into a dirt-filled Styrofoam cup to sell to local fisherman.  Later, we worked almost every job in the business, including flipping burgers, renting boats, cleaning rental cottages, stocking shelves, and picking up trash.  We cherish our memories of working a full shift and then roaming uninhibited among the trees and ponds on the property with a diverse gaggle of companions.

As we grew older and moved on to law school in Virginia (Melissa at George Washington and Catharine at the University of Virginia), we developed new bonds through the law.  Our favorite legal memories spawn from our days spent as summer interns in the Major Crimes Division at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.  Melissa, who is older, went first and dazzled Catharine with her tales.  Melissa worked on cases of victims like a prostitute who was killed by sniper, a gorgeous young model who was brutally murdered in hand-to-hand combat by a hired female assassin, and a mother whose employee stabbed her in a parking lot.  Michael Jackson’s case also came to the office that summer, and the media frenzy and hype surrounding it was a quintessentially Los Angeles experience. 

Catharine, of course, had to follow suit.  During her summer, she worked on a serial murder case where the defendant mutilated his victims postmortem.  One of her first assignments was sifting through the hundreds of crime scene and autopsy photos, leading the other interns to tell her she had to sit alone because it was too disturbing to see the images.  Catharine also befriended two grizzled LA homicide detectives (who were seemingly ripped from the pages of a paperback airport novel), during a double murder trial they won.  The detectives took her to an autopsy, complete with blood and bone splatter.  After the autopsy, a ride-a-long through some of LA’s worst gang territories, and a tour of Men’s Central Jail, Catharine dreamed of becoming a prosecutor.

Our shared interests led us to later publish several times together.  Our first venture, which was picked up by the Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender, argued for experimentation with and the expansion of specialized sex offense courts.  Shortly thereafter, we wrote to encourage female law students to run for office.  Most recently, we explained in a Patheos article why female Mormon voters were unrepresented in the 2016 election, and wondered whether a female Mormon candidate might emerge in the future to fill the void.  Currently we are working on a piece about how some Mormon fathers are unexpectedly finding themselves becoming feminists after raising daughters with careers. 

Despite our many shared interests and projects, we have pursued different professional paths.  Melissa is the Vice President of Running Start, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages young women to run for political office.  Catharine can brag about her by saying that in addition to her training hundreds of young women each year both domestically and internationally, Melissa also hobnobs with Congresswomen and recently served as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention.  Melissa sits on several boards, including serving as the WIL committee chair for the D.C. chapter.

Catharine chose a more traditional legal path.  Catharine spent her first year in private practice as a litigation associate at Jones Day.  After that year, a senior partner, who had recently been reappointed as a Justice on the California Court of Appeal, surprised Catharine by taking her with him to be his first clerk.  At the end of her clerkship, she accepted a tentative offer from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California in its criminal division, pending a successful background check; she remains with her judge while waiting for her background check to clear.  Catharine is the WIL committee chair for the Los Angeles chapter, and is thrilled to have joined the international WIL board with Melissa.

Outside of our professional bond, we also share a deep personal bond.  We take an annual sibling trip and have been cliff jumping, cave exploring, sky diving, mud obstacle course running, and “snuba” diving (a baby version for uncertified scuba).  We often arrive on trips with unplanned matching sets of toiletries.  We talk daily.  We have shared triumphs, failures, and surprises.  We have both dated our fair share of idiots and laugh/cried about the unending parade of resulting humiliating experiences.  Our faith bonds us and we are immensely grateful to have a loving, supportive family who champions our every endeavor. 

We are proud to be involved in the WIL community and look forward to many more years of service!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Register Now for Annual Women in Law Event

Annual Women in Law Event--Speaker and Speed Networking
Jane Mitchell, CEO and Co-founder of The Reset Foundation

The Women in Law Committee will hold their annual event on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.  This year's keynote speaker will be Jane Mitchell, Co-founder and CEO of The Reset Foundation.  Ms. Mitchell has been awarded the Westly Prize for young innovators in California, and with her Reset partner, Jen Anderson, has been named on Forbes' list of 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs and as an Open Society Black Male Achievement Fellow.  The Reset Foundation has received numerous awards and grants, including a $500,000 grant from the Google Impact Challenge in 2015.  Ms. Mitchell's remarks, entitled "Unlocking Potential: How a Law Degree Amplifies Your Ability to Bless the World," will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Room 303 of the BYU Law School. We invite all attorneys, current law students, and prelaw students, male and female, to attend the keynote speaker session.  Subsequent to Ms. Mitchell's remarks, prelaw and current law students and female attorneys are invited to participate in a speed networking session.  An RSVP is requested for all who wish to participate in the speed networking.  Attorneys may register here, and students may register here.  Anyone interested in taking a tour of the BYU Law School can meet in front of Room 303 at 5:45 p.m., before the speaker session.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Save the Date! Women in Law Prelaw Event with Speed Networking

The Eighth Annual JRCLS Women in Law Prelaw Event will take place at the BYU Law School on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  Jane Mitchell, Co-Founder and CEO of the award winning Reset Foundation, will be the keynote speaker.  This year's event will also include a video presentation and networking event for prelaw students.  The Women in Law Committee is looking for volunteers to help with the event.  If you are a female attorney interested in either submitting clips for the video presentation or attending the speed networking event please contact either Ann Metler (ametler@willamette.edu) or Megan Needham (megan.m.needham@gmail.com).

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fourth Annual WIL Regional Conference Held at Utah Valley University

The JRCLS International WIL committee hosted it's Fourth Annual Regional Conference at Utah Valley University located in Orem, Utah on April 30, 2016.  Thank you to all who participated in and attended the conference.  We hope you were inspired, uplifted, and edified through your attendance and association with other Women In Law!  

SAVE THE DATE... for the WIL Pre-Law Event coming up on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at BYU.  We look forward to an inspiring evening as we discuss the many opportunities that are available for women in the legal field.  More details to follow soon!

Friday, April 29, 2016

WIL Regional Conference: Introducing the Speakers Part 3

Lisa Watts Baskin 

Lisa Watts Baskin has practiced law in Utah for nearly 30 years, a J.D. graduate of J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. For the past 15 years, she has been in solo practice, presently serves as an Administrative Law Judge, Utah Office of Inspector General and under contract with various municipalities to provide ordinance drafting and legal guidance. She possesses advanced skills in administrative and public law, including public policy formulation and analysis, legislative and initiative drafting, election law and related litigation, and Medicaid claims adjudication. 
Lisa Watts Baskin
Lisa has been a law clerk at the Utah Supreme Court, Associate General Counsel for the Utah State Legislature, and Executive Director to the Utah Constitutional Revision Commission. She is a civil litigator in private practice and board member and chair to numerous boards, including Real Women Run (Chair), Utah Foster Care Foundation (Chair, Exec. Board), and North Salt Lake Planning Commission. She served as North Salt Lake City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem and Second Vice-President of Utah League of Cities and Towns. She is licensed to practice law in Utah, District of Columbia, California and the United States Supreme Court.

Sara Dansie Jones

Sara Jones is currently President of IFINIDI, where she consults with C-level teams on building revenue growth and talent strategies. Prior, Sara was the CEO of ApplicantPro, one of Utah’s fastest-growing tech companies, and responsible for growing a management team during a period of intense expansion. She was also head of business development at School Improvement Network, another of Utah’s fastest-growing tech companies, where she gained deep experience on research-based educational research. She is passionate about building highly functioning organizations, having coached management teams as well as dozens of professionals and attorneys and helping them advance through various career opportunities.  
Sara started her career as a patent attorney at Workman Nydegger, Utah’s largest IP law firm, where she became a shareholder. She taught advanced patent law at BYU Law School. She has a J.D., cum laude, from Brigham Young University, and a degree in chemical engineering, with honors, from the University of Utah.
Sara Dansie Jones
Sara is a recognized technology business community leader. She co-founded the non-profit Women Tech Council in 2007, where she has developed deep connections within the Utah tech community and with executives, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. She is often asked to speak to high-level executives about how women positively impact the economic value of organizations. She helps executives to understand gender bias, overcome potential gender-related pitfalls within their organizations, and create opportunities for their organizations by engaging women as meaningful business partners.

Barbara Melendez

Barbara Melendez
Barbara Melendez is a Shareholder with Richards Brandy Miller Nelson in Salt Lake City.  Her practice focuses primarily on immigration and employer/immigration compliance matters. She represents multi-national corporations, educational institutions, religious organizations, and employers on inter-company transfers, all temporary and permanent work visas, investment visas, including working with counsel around the world to help U.S. companies on cross-border employment issues.
Barbara also represents individuals and their families before the Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration Customs and Enforcement as well as the Department of Labor, Board of Immigration Appeals, and in Federal Court.  She has lectured and advised companies throughout Asia and Latin America on investor visas and employment-based visas.

Gayla Sorenson

Gayla Moss Sorenson is currently the Dean of Admissions at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark School of Law. Prior to assuming that role in the fall of 2014, her career spanned a variety of law firm and in-house experiences. After graduating from BYU Law in 1985, she spent four years with Lewis & Roca in Phoenix and then twenty years with Motorola--first as a litigator, followed by extensive experience as a commercial attorney supporting global transactions, and ending her time there as a Vice President and senior legal advisor. Most recently, she was the Director of Global Compliance Operations for Biomet, Inc., a global medical device company based in Warsaw, Indiana.
Gayla Sorenson
Gayla has been actively involved in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, including having served as Chair of the Finance Committee. Her additional volunteer work has included serving as a Senior Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Gayla is a member of the Arizona and Indiana bars. She is married to Ferril Sorenson and very much enjoys the roles of wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and aunt. Her hobbies include reading, travel, and golf.