Full Time Practice

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Women in Law Dilley Pro Bono Project - November 2018

Report from Jennifer Wilson, member of the JRCLS WIL Committee:

Should we build the Wall?

This question is, as we all know, a subject of heated debate at the moment. Most people have an opinion and are generally convinced that their viewpoint is the correct one. Although I do have an opinion on the subject, my strongest feelings regarding the status of immigrants stem from my week at a detention center for women and children in Dilley, Texas, which provided inspiration as to my own role in the ongoing immigration struggle.

The Women in Law Committee of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society sponsored a trip down to the South Texas Family Residential Center in November of 2018. Fifteen lawyers and translators made the journey to assist those inmates of the detention center who were awaiting credible fear interviews and/or relocation in their quest for asylum in the U.S.

Lawyers and translators who provided service at Dilley in November 2018
(author of this post on top row, 2nd from left)

The detainees are women and their children who have made their way from other countries, and who are claiming that they should be granted asylum in the U.S. because they or their children will suffer great harm if they return to their own country.

Most of what the legal volunteers do is to prepare the women to present their stories at their credible fear interview to demonstrate to the interviewer that they have a legitimate reason to request asylum. These women all have a story of fear, but most don’t know how to present their story in any cohesive way, and certainly not in a way to demonstrate that their situation falls within the very specific guidelines which would allow them to seek asylum.

We met with women from countries with the highest murder rates in the world, where domestic and gang violence is pervasive, and where their governments are unwilling or unable to protect their citizens. I met with women who had been beaten and nearly killed by their male partners, who had been controlled and forced into slavery by threats of harm or death to themselves or their children, and who had been regularly raped and prostituted. Many women have been targeted and terrorized by the gangs which effectually run the country.

These situations are fairly typical for the detainees in Dilley, and listening to them day after day convinced me that whatever measures are needed to overhaul our current immigration system, we must keep in mind that many asylum seekers are doing so because of lives which have been unimaginable in their horrors, and that asylum can usher in a new life of hope and purpose, breaking the cycle of violence, poverty and fear. We must have a robust system for controlling immigration, and part of the equation must include generosity and compassion as we open our doors to those who are escaping a hellish existence.

We who attended the outing to Dilley learned that each larger political issue boils down (as always) to individuals--people who have suffered much, who have limited means to protect themselves and their children, and who long for a better life. These people, I believe, deserve to have their stories heard. We were in Dilley to uphold an asylum seeker’s legal rights, as I told one man in Texas who asked if we were in Dilley just to let all the illegals into the country. And ‘legal’ can and should mean a fair and compassionate system for assessing asylum claims, and appointing legal counsel for those who will most likely not be able to navigate the system, as well as ensuring that asylum proceedings are administered in a timely manner.

I was glad to have been part, even if just for a few days, of a project which allowed me to use my training to begin the road to a new life for asylum seekers who have arrived here to escape great suffering in their countries of origin, and who are hoping for a new country of refuge and healing.

Monday, November 26, 2018

New Oral History Collection at Stanford Law School (100 pioneering women lawyers)

We were excited to recently learn of a new oral history collection profiling nearly 100 pioneering women lawyers available at https://abawtp.law.stanford.edu/ or you may browse for alumni by alma mater here  We hope you will all take some time to browse through these amazing histories.  And please spread the word!  Here is the press release issued from Stanford Law School:

Stanford Law School Launches the American Bar Association’s Women Trailblazers in the Law Website

Stanford Law School’s Robert Crown Law Library has launched a new site for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) oral history project entitled “Women Trailblazers in the Law” (WTP). The website offers open access to the oral histories of close to 100 senior women who have made important contributions to the law and have opened opportunities for other women in the profession.

In the last half-century or more, women in law have made huge strides, many of them making history by attending law school, sometimes as the only female in their class, and succeeding in the profession against the odds. Brooksley Born, JD ’64 (BA ’61), and Linda Ferren, WTP Director and Executive Director of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, set out to capture the stories of these remarkable women when they initiated the Women Trailblazers in the Law Project, a collaborative research project of the ABA and the American Bar Foundation, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research institute for the study of law."

“By opening opportunities for women in the legal profession and in many cases using their skills to further women’s legal rights, these women made significant contributions to the equality of all women that must not be forgotten,” said Born, chair of the ABA Senior Lawyers Division WTP Committee, whose own story is included in the collection. Born was the first woman president of the Stanford Law Review and went on to have a successful legal career including serving as chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 1996 to 1999.

According to Linda Ferren, “Our goal from the start was to turn a spotlight on women who, because of their gender, had to struggle to secure a foothold in the legal community just a few decades ago.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the ABA to capture the oral histories of women pioneers in the legal profession,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean. “It is truly an honor for Stanford Law to preserve this priceless collection and provide access to these rich and inspiring stories of women, in their own voices, who overcame barriers in a male-dominated profession and advanced the interests of all women.”

WTP captures the full-life oral histories of women pioneers in the legal profession nationwide, memorializing their stories in their own voices and preserving their experiences and observations for future generationsIn addition to Born, other Stanford Law alumni in WTP include Judge LaDoris Cordell, JD ’74, Mary Cranston, JD ’75 (BA ’70), Judge Shirley Hufstedler, JD ’49, Judge Fern Smith, JD ’75 (BA ’72), and Judge Miriam Wolff, JD ’40 (BA ’37). A book based on the collection, Lives in the Law: Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers, by Jill Norgren, was published last May by New York University Press.

The WTP collection is now housed at the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford; two other WTP repositories are the Library of Congress and the Schlesinger Library at Harvard. The new WTP website allows easy online access to the collection and resources and will focus on long-term preservation of print and digitized WTP content. In addition, the oral histories have been added to the Stanford Digital Repository.

“The goal of the Stanford Law Library with this project has been to enhance public access to and discoverability of these important oral histories, not just for the benefit of law students and legal scholars, but also for anyone interested in the rich history of these trailblazing women,” said Beth Williams, senior director of the Robert Crown Law Library.

Click here for access to the WTP website: https://abawtp.law.stanford.edu. Learn more about BornHufstedlerand Wolff from their profiles in Stanford Lawyer.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education.  Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business and high technology.  Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

About the Robert Crown Law Library

The Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford Law School is a friendly, comfortable, and well-equipped legal research library that supports the curriculum, programs and clinics of the law school.

The law library has a print collection of over 500,000 books along with millions of pages of online documents.  The Robert Crown Law Library welcomes Stanford students, faculty, and staff to delve into its rich collection and turn to the Library’s service-oriented staff for help with their research needs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

JRCLS Leadership Conference 2018

The 2018 JRCLS Leadership Conference was held on October 4 and 5 on BYU Campus and at Aspen Grove. During the dinner on Thursday evening, Angel Zimmerman received a plaque and an enthusiastic ovation in recognition of her work as Chair of the International WIL Committee for the past 2 years, and Susannah Thomas officially became the new Chair of the WIL Committee. 

Susannah Thomas and Angel Zimmerman

On Friday we held our traditional WIL Breakfast where we met with old friends and made new ones. During the breakfast, each attendee introduced themselves and shared an experience when they were anxiously engaged in a good cause. We were especially grateful to our international friends for joining us and for those at our breakfast who were able to translate for them. We have some of the world’s most outstanding women participating in JRCLS. 

During the Leadership Conference we applauded the leaders of outstanding chapters, including Angel Zimmerman on behalf of Kansas City and Jenny Wilson on behalf Orange County. Both Angel and Jenny are members of the WIL Committee. 

We were also privileged and grateful to meet members of the NAACP leadership. 

Angel Zimmerman (center)

We hope everyone will be able to join us for the  2019 JRCLS Annual Conference in Seattle on February 14-16, 2019.  See HERE for more details.

Monday, October 8, 2018

JRCLS WIL Pre-law Conference 2018

On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, the JRCLS Women in Law sponsored its annual Women in Law Pre-law Conference and Networking Event.  We had nearly 140 attendees, which may be a new record!  

We began the evening with a well-attended law school tour.

Following the tour we had a keynote panel with Stephenie Larsen (BYU Law grad; CEO and Founder of Encircle Together); Angel Zimmerman (Washburn Law grad; outgoing WIL Committee Chair; owner of her own law practice); and Lindsay Combs (2L at BYU Law). The panel was moderated by Susannah Thomas (BYU Law Grad; Federal attorney; new Chair of WIL Committee). The panel discussed a variety of issues such as why law school; work-life balance; the intersection of lawyering and parenting; gender bias; and law and religion.

Stephenie Larsen 
Angel Zimmerman
Lindsay Combs

After the panel discussion, we had a Practice Area Networking activity and reception, where students met with female attorneys from different areas of law practice to learn about their experiences.

We are grateful to all of our panelists and other attorneys who took time from their schedules to join us. We also give many thanks to the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Gayla Sorensen, Rachel Stock, and many others who helped to make this possible.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Please join us for our first JRCLS Women in Law and BYU Management Society Women in Business conference.

MARCH 30, 2018 at BYU Tanner Building 4th floor from 1 - 4pm with a reception to follow.

We are delighted to have Katrina Lantos Swett as our keynote speaker.  Dr. Lantos Swett is the former Chair and Vice-Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).  She has worked tirelessly around the world for religious liberty and women's issues.

Other speaker topics include: Women in Leadership in politics, law, business, education and religious liberty.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Webinar: Women are Natural Entrepreneurs

Please join us for a wonderful webinar.  Register at: