Member Groups

The Catalyst
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law

December 2001, vol. 7, no. 2

Two awards bestowed upon the Women Everywhere Service Project

Two bar associations have presented awards to the Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project. Although only two years old, the Women Everywhere project was honored by both the Illinois State Bar Association and the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations.

The Women Everywhere project was created through a partnership of several women's organizations--including the ISBA's Women and the Law Committee ­ for the purpose of assisting community agencies that serve women in need. The project brings together hundreds of volunteer attorneys of both genders (as well as others in the legal profession) on a single day in May to work on specific projects for the agencies and the women they serve.

The Illinois State Bar Association presented the project with a Volunteer of the Year Award at the association's awards luncheon during the annual meeting in June. The project was praised for its scope, the number of volunteers enlisted to give their time, the impact on the women clients and the agencies that protect and enable them to escape domestic violence and achieve economic independence and the raising of awareness as to the importance of partnering with community groups to improve the lives of disadvantaged women.

Representatives of the partner organizations serving on the Project Planning Committee, including Kim Anderson and Sharon Eiseman of the Women and the Law Committee, accepted the award on behalf of everyone who worked so hard to achieve this success. Other partners in the project include the ISBA's Minority and Women Participation Committee, the Women's Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI), the Black Women Lawyers Association, the Chicago Bar Association's Alliance for Women and Young Lawyers Section and the Hadassah Attorney's Council.

On August 3, the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations (NCWBA) bestowed one of its highly coveted Public Service Awards on the project. The award was officially presented to the WBAI as a member of the NCWBA, but represents the achievements of the many partners of the Project and the Planning Committee without whose cooperative attitudes, devotion to the project goals, sleepless nights and precipitous drop in billable hours the service day could not have been achieved. Members of the NCWBA, which includes women's state bar associations and committees throughout the country, were impressed not only with the quality of the project, but also with the "across-the-board commitment it elicited from the legal community and the degree to which it was able to help others." We were pleased to receive this honor and to be in the company of another group recognized for its public service initiative, the Lawyers Club of San Diego, which organized a Women's Resource Fair.

Clearly, the desire and capacity to help others is deep inside us--sometimes close to the surface, sometimes waiting to be tapped by an inspiration. The inspiration can come from another person or an event or idea. Our committee hopes that the success of the project in each of its first two years will indeed inspire others to join the effort in 2002 and will also encourage those who have been with the project so far to stay involved.

In 2002, the Women Everywhere service day will be May 17. Mark your calendars now. All of you are needed!