(Written by Nan Barker, WIL Committee chair.)
Well, I had a wonderful experience at Leadership Conference! The women (and men) I was around for the three days of the Conference enriched my life and uplifted my spirits.
It began with the Pre-Law Conference which is intended to help women undergraduate students decide whether law school and the practice of law is for them. The panelists (Lorena Riffo-Jenson, Kelley Marsden and Lucy Andre) were amazing! They have each had very different, yet similar in so many ways, experiences. The students and lawyers who attended were better for having been there. One student came up to me afterwards and said the event was just what she needed.
The next day was filled with other meetings. When I say filled, I mean filled. We had another wonderful experience meeting with female law students this time. They had questions about types of practices, externships and balancing life's challenges. I've already received an email from one of them thanking us for taking the time to help them.
We held a Women in Law Committee meeting. Generally our meetings are done with a conference call. It was great to see people in person. We also had the honor of having two other women join us. Their presence added such great value to our meeting. We hope to add them to our Committee.
We also had a Women in Law breakfast. That was probably the highlight for me. Instead of planning a formal presentation, we opted to just relax and let everyone introduce themselves and tell a little bit about themselves. What a rich experience that was! Women lawyers are amazing! We heard about and met women with quite different stories.
Some practiced, some didn't. Some went to law school in their twenties, some in their fifties. Some were married with families, some were not. Some had experienced difficult trials: one lost her husband in the past year and a few were raising children with disabilities. One of my favorite comments was by Patti Smith, who said "I am so glad to be part of this group. It is so nice to be around women who want to be women attorneys, not women attorneys who want to be men attorneys".
We had one additional Women in Law meeting. It gave men and women the opportunity to ask questions about Women in Law: how to get it going in their chapters, how to find women attorneys in their areas, events that can be held, etc.
Spending three days around women of faith who have been trained in the law enriched me. I know it would enrich you, even if it was just for an hour. I encourage you to go to lunch, go on a walk or plan an event in your area that involves women of faith who have been trained in the law. You will be grateful you did.