I had my first encounter with the JRCLS in the late 1990s. I was invited by a male colleague to attend a luncheon lecture sponsored by the JRCLS Salt Lake Chapter. Walking back to the office afterwards, I asked my colleague whether he had noticed anything unusual about the luncheon. He said he had not. I directed his attention to the fact that I had been the only woman in attendance. I asked him what kind of Society this was that did not include any women.
Thus began my involvement with the JRCLS. Only a few months after this encounter I was asked to join the Board of the Salt Lake Chapter of the JRCLS. After several years on that Board, I was then asked to chair the Salt Lake Chapter. While serving as the chapter chair, with the encouragement of Scott Cameron and Jane Wise, I wrote and published the article "Thoughts on the Family: A Proclamation to the World" in the Fall 2006 Clark Memorandum. As a result of this article, in 2007 Joe Bentley, then the International Board chair of the JRCLS, asked me to be the founding chair of the newly created Women in the Law Committee. While chairing the WIL Committee, I was assisted by a wonderful committee of women with many different backgrounds--women who practiced law full time, women who practiced part time, women who were law professors or who had a legal career other than in private practice, and women who were not practicing but were using their legal training to serve their families and communities in other ways. Together, we worked to reach out to invite and include more women in the Society and in Society leadership.
This past year I passed the chairmanship of the WIL Committee to Elizabeth Smith. Elizabeth had started a women lawyers group in the JRCLS Orange County California chapter long before the existence of the WIL Committee and has been a wonderful leader for women. I was planning on simply assisting Elizabeth in the leadership transition, but received a call late last summer from current JRCLS International Board Chapter Chair, Nancy Van Slooten. She asked if I would agree to serve on the Clark Society Advisors, and be the first woman to do so. Since I had complained that the JRCLS did not include enough women so many years ago, what else could I do but say yes!
I am pleased with the creation of this blog and its reach to women all over the world. Please join us in sharing your insights, comments, and support for women in the JRCLS.
While off-topic, I cannot end this blog posting without expressing my admiration for the family of Elizabeth Smart. As you may be aware from worldwide publicity, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped eight years ago and the trial of her kidnapper just concluded in Salt Lake City. The Smart family lives in my LDS ward and, for years now, I have watched them face their trials with courage, tenacity, faith, and love. Elizabeth is nothing short of amazing! She is a shining example for us all in the courage and faith she has shown in the face of tremendous adversity. We, as lawyers, can stand tall this week as we watched the end of the trial convicting the perpetrator of the horrible crimes committed against Elizabeth. Judge Dale Kimball did an incredible job of conducting the trial and keeping control of his courtroom. If you do not immediately think so, just remember, by contrast, how some of the other high-profile criminal cases have been conducted across the country. Thanks to Judge Kimball, at the end of this trial, all could agree that the trial was fair and impartial, the jurors understood and did their jobs carefully and thoughtfully, and Elizabeth got the justice she deserved. By her example she showed other victims that the legal system can work for them, too. Today, we can celebrate our courts as a great institution which has allowed a brave young woman to find closure, to move forward, and to reclaim her life. You go, Elizabeth! --Annette Jarvis, co-head of the Finance and Restructuring Department at Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, Salt Lake City office, is the mother of 5 and, although now working full-time, has worked part-time for half of her 30 years as a lawyer (BYU Law '77).