Full Time Practice

Friday, February 24, 2017

Stanford student chapter event - Women at the Supreme Court

            On February 4th, the Stanford Law School student chapter hosted an event titled “Women at the Supreme Court,” featuring three L.D.S. women who had clerked for Supreme Court justices.  Judge Denise Lindberg, Professor RonNell Andersen Jones, and Professor Lisa Grow Sun spoke to an audience of law students and members of the local L.D.S. community. They covered topics such as the daily work of a Supreme Court clerk, the diversity of faiths among the clerks, and advice for young women considering professional careers. Judge Lindberg, also a member of the Young Women General Board, emphasized that young women should be open-minded about their options and not pressured to fit a “cookie cutter” mold.

            Both professors shared stories about their decisions not to work on Sundays. “Justice O’Connor didn’t care as long as I got the work done,” Professor Jones said. In Professor Sun’s interview with Justice Kennedy, the justice set the standard from the outset. Knowing she was L.D.S., he told her he assumed she wouldn’t be working on Sundays. “I didn’t have much choice after that,” Professor Sun said, wryly.

 People in photo (left to right): Paige Muhlestein (President of the Stanford student chapter), Judge Denise Lindberg, Professor RonNell Andersen Jones, Professor Lisa Grow Sun, Jordan Smith (Vice President).

Sister Renlund Addresses Law Society Members on Lessons for Law and for Life at the JRCLS Annual Fireside

NOTE: This is a re-print from an article by Megan J. Nelson that was originally posted on January 27, 2017 in the J. Reuben Clark Newsletter:

Numerous attorneys, students, and friends of the Law Society gathered at the LDS Conference Center on January 20, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Fireside. Among those in attendance were retired Senator Harry Reid, who received the Law Society’s Distinguished Service Award, and his wife, Mrs. Landra Reid. Sister Ruth Lybbert Renlund and her husband, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Ginny Isaacson awarded plaque
of recognition to Mary Hoagland

 -day Saints,  also were in attendance. Sister Renlund received the Law Society’s Exemplary Leadership Award and presented the keynote address. Mary Hoagland, Former Executive Director to the Law Society, also received a plaque in honor of her fifteen years of service to the Law Society.

Sister Renlund practiced law in Salt Lake City for over twenty years and is the former president of the law firm Dewsnup, King, and Olsen. She has served on the board of directors for Deseret News and Workers Compensation Fund of Utah, as chair of the Judicial Conduct Commission for the State of Utah, and was the first female president of the Utah Trial Lawyers Association. Sister Renlund was raised in the Salt Lake area and became interested in law at a young age by observing the work of her father—a trial attorney. In her talk, she shared insightful lessons about “law” and “life” that she learned from her father.

The first lesson is to learn to disagree without being disagreeable. She has learned to not take an opposing opinion personally. Even adversaries can be friends. (She noted that one of the reasons her father enjoyed his work is because he felt that he got to work with his friends!) A case will progress faster and results will be better if attorneys can learn to get along. Learning to disagree without being disagreeable makes life more enjoyable.

The second lesson is “the first rule of holes”—when you’re in a hole, stop digging. It may seem difficult to get out of a hole, but digging only makes it worse. Sister Renlund shared real-life examples of the dangers when attorneys attempt to “dig” their way out of “holes” or mistakes instead of owning and fixing them. In her experience, admitting a mistake only reinforces others’ trust in you, rather than destroying it. On this note, she bore testimony of the power of repentance—expressing her belief that God believes in the first rule of holes.  

The third lesson that Sister Renlund taught is the importance 
of reputation: You only have one reputation—work hard, be prepared, and follow the rules. Sister Renlund shared how important each of these elements has been in creating an enriching career in law. She also taught the importance of maintaining a consistent character of integrity—whether at work, church, or elsewhere. According to Sister Renlund, when we settle our hearts and minds on being a disciple of Jesus Christ, a good reputation will follow.

Expressing her belief that these lessons apply to law and to life, she closed with a note of humor and wisdom—hoping that, “with any luck, we will all stop practicing law before we stop practicing life!” As to “life”—and speaking to her own experiences serving with her husband in the Church—she believes that “there is nothing more important in life than preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

If you did not get a chance to view the fireside live, the video of the fireside will soon be available on jrcls.org—with details to follow.

By Megan J. Nelson, Media Committee
Posted: January 27, 2017

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).