December 2001Volume 7Number 2

Appellate court receptions provide networking opportunities

One of the goals of the ISBA's Standing Committee on Women and the Law is to "encourage women in their involvement in the legal community at all levels." As part of that mission, the committee has been hosting receptions at appellate court buildings throughout the state, inviting all women attorneys and judges within each particular appellate district to attend.

In the past two years, receptions have been hosted in the Fifth District appellate court (Mount Vernon), the Fourth District appellate court (Springfield) and the Second District appellate court (Elgin). The committee is in the planning stages for a reception at the Third District appellate courthouse in Ottawa on Friday, April 5, and one in the First District (Chicago) within the next year.

These receptions provide an excellent opportunity for area lawyers and judges to network and visit socially. It is a chance to meet other women from the legal community, swap business cards, catch up with classmates and friends or just enjoy a friendly conversation. The receptions also have included a tour of the appellate court and facilities, giving participants a unique opportunity to view the inner workings of the court.

The most recent reception was held at the Second District appellate courthouse in Elgin on September 14, 2001. Because Second District Appellate Judge Susan Hutchinson is a member of the Standing Committee on Women and the Law (as well as co-chair of the subcommittee coordinating the receptions), this reception provided participants with a unique and special opportunity to "visit" at--and with--the court.

Similar opportunities presented themselves at the previous receptions. Guests at the Mount Vernon reception were treated to a private tour of the historic Fifth District courthouse, including the living quarters for the traveling appellate justices. In Springfield, the reception included a tour of the Illinois Supreme Court, which shares the building with the Fourth District appellate court. Attending that reception were Rita Garman (then a Fourth District Judge and now on special appointment to the Illinois Supreme Court); Sue Myerscough (Fourth District Appellate Judge); and Ben Miller (then, Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court from the Fourth District).

The committee hopes to host another reception in the Fourth District in Springfield sometime in the future. That reception will provide area lawyers with an opportunity to view the new Fourth District appellate courthouse that is scheduled to open soon in the renovated historic Waterworks building in Springfield.

For further information or suggestions for future receptions, contact co-chairs Judge Susan Hutchinson (815-338-5875) or Pollution Control Board Chairman Claire Manning (217/524-5000 or (

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