It is my distinct pleasure to serve as Chair of the Women and the Law Committee this year. While I have actively participated in the ISBA for many years, leading this committee always was the position of greatest interest to me. The focus of this committee’s work—addressing critical issues and concerns affecting women—is important to women attorneys, personally and professionally. This committee has a rich history of undertaking this important work and I look forward to continuing this tradition during the coming year. I also would like to recognize this committee’s past chairs identified herein that each worked diligently during their terms to advance the interests of women attorneys.
It is a common saying, often repeated, that you cannot know where you are going unless you know where you have been. This sentiment is ever true as it relates to women’s issues and more globally, the never-ending pursuit of equal rights for all. On August 26th, Women’s Equality Day once again will be celebrated—an annual day of recognition designated by Congress in 1971 to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day not only recognizes the past achievements of women but also the challenges confronted by women today in seeking equal rights at home, work and in society overall. There is much we can learn from the spirit and personal commitment of past women leaders that successfully fought for and won our right to vote. I challenge you to take the National Women’s History Project quiz appearing later in this newsletter and test your knowledge of the 19th Amendment history and the women that secured its passage.
We are blessed once again this year to have a wonderful group of women attorneys on this special committee. Our work together will be managed by the following subcommittees: programs; newsletter; outreach and partnering; leadership opportunities and recognition of women; strategic planning; and, legislation. Our first program, co-chaired by Amie Sobkoviak and Nikki Carrion, addresses the important issue of managing cases involving impaired clients and will be held in conjunction with the ISBA Mid Year Meeting. We also are planning our first International Women’s Day program to be held in March, 2009. The committee is continuing to evaluate its plans for the coming year, hopefully including some special outreach to women law students.
We welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions on what you would like to see the committee address this year. Please consider joining us for one of our committee meetings, attending a program we sponsor or writing an article for our newsletter,The Catalyst.
I look forward to serving as Chair of this special committee and continuing to advance the interests of women attorneys within the ISBA and the Illinois legal profession overall.
ISBA Standing Committee on Women and the Law—Chairs
1995-1996—Irene Bahr, Wheaton
1996-1997—Peggy Raddatz, La Grange
1997-1998—Frances Skinner, Chicago
1998-1999—Christine G. Zeman, Springfield
1999-2000—Paula Hudson Holderman, Chicago
2000-2001—Susan M. Brazas, Rockford
2001-2002—Kathryn A. Kelly, Chicago
2002-2003—Gilda Hudson-Winfield, Chicago
2003-2004—Celia G. Gamrath, Chicago
2004-2005—Ellen Schanzle-Haskins, Springfield
2005-2006—Meredith E. Ritchie, Chicago
2006-2007—Claire A. Manning, Springfield
2007-2008—Sharon L. Eiseman, Chicago
2008-2009—E. Lynn Grayson, Chicago