Full Time Practice

Monday, March 31, 2014

William & Mary JRCLS WIL Section Debut

(Written by Courtney Hagge, the WIL student rep at William & Mary.)

Courtney Hagge
On February 25th 2014, the newly organized WIL Section hosted its first event: an      excellent panel discussion entitled, “Balancing Career & Family.” Close to 50 students enjoyed a delicious lunch – courtesy of the W&M JRCLS Chapter and the Christian Legal Society (CLS) – while engaging in a wonderful Q&A with four successful female attorneys. Two of these panelists are currently partners in prestigious law firms; the other two are professors at William & Mary. All four women have families of their own, which they have raised while excelling at their respective careers.

Students learned about what kinds of obstacles these women have faced in the workforce, and how the challenges of balancing career obligations with family commitments can be overcome. There were several important ideas the women emphasized throughout the discussion.

One such theme was avoiding judgment. It is important to remember that each family situation is different; professionals mustn’t judge one another for different choices concerning career and family. A woman who decides to work and put her children in childcare should be just as respected as another woman who temporarily leaves her career to raise a family. This support system is important to facilitate continued acceptance of females in the professional world.

Another important theme was better incorporating men into this career/family balance. The sooner the world realizes that raising a family is not just the woman’s job, the better. While times are getting progressively better for women to break into traditionally male dominated occupations, employers are still wary of hiring women for fear of those women leaving to have children. Modern day society needs to realize that men can also take maternity leave, for raising kids requires both parents' effort. Therefore, it is important for both men and women to surround themselves with professionals that share these convictions.

Overall, students were very pleased with this event and the JRCLS/CLS co sponsorship plans to host similar panels each year. It was wonderful to participate in a discussion centered on a topic that we as budding professionals are so concerned with. We look forward to more W&M WIL Section events in the near future!

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