June 2004Volume 9Number 4PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

The Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project marks five years of service to women and children in need

On February 26, 2004, the Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project, a collaborative effort of nine area women's bar groups, celebrated five years of bringing attorneys, judges and friends of the legal community together to provide volunteer services to women and children in need. Through the Women Everywhere Project, several hundred volunteers donate time on an annual service day to direct service activities at community agencies throughout the state as well as to educational activities at area courts.

The project has seen steady growth in the five years since its inception. In 2003, more than 450 volunteers participated in the Women Everywhere Project. A record number of 13 law firms participated in the project by pairing with a community service agency for the day, some using the project as an opportunity to bring their attorneys and summer associates together for a community service day activity.

The Women Everywhere Project commemorated its fifth anniversary with a reception hosted by the Women's Forum of Jenner & Block LLP, a five-year participating firm. At the reception, the 2004 Women Everywhere Planning Committee presented its first-ever "Outstanding Partner" award to Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans for his dedicated commitment and support of the project. During his remarks, Judge Evans emphasized the importance of community service, and recognized the bridge that the Women Everywhere project provides between busy attorneys and judges and women and children in need of their volunteer services. Fox News Weekend Anchor and Women Everywhere volunteer, Nancy Pender, also spoke on behalf of the project, describing the inquisitive and excited students with whom she met in 2003, and declaring that she was committed to working with the project again in 2004.

On March 4, 2004, Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans took another step to encourage participation in the volunteer project by hosting a judicial reception at the Daley Center to which all judges were invited to attend. At the reception, members of the Women Everywhere Planning Committee spoke with judges about the many ways in which they could volunteer. Women Everywhere Planning Committee Co-Chairs Margot Klein and Jeanne Reynolds focused on the diverse nature of the project's activities, and emphasized the Committee's efforts to provide a greater array of volunteer opportunities than ever before. During his remarks, Judge Evans endorsed participation in the project, and even offered the judges in the audience the assistance of his office in making any arrangements necessary for them to volunteer. Nearly 60 judges attended the reception, many of whom signed up on the spot to participate.

Judge Diane Larsen, a long-time participant in the project, briefly recalled for the audience her experience in 2003 leading a mock-trial based on the Glenbrook hazing incident with a group of young girls who visited her courtroom through the Women Everywhere Project. "We used the mock trial as a spring board for a larger discussion on the importance of self-esteem and valuing others just as you value yourself," Judge Larsen explained. "Overall, the important thing about this project is that it introduces the girls to the many roles in the court system-not just judge, but also court clerk, reporter, law clerk, court security-and it shows them that these options are available to them."

The direct service activities at community agencies usually range from performing building maintenance, gardening and spring cleaning projects to leading discussions and providing basic legal information to community agency clients.

The Women Everywhere Project is coordinated by representatives of nine women's bar groups: Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, Inc.; Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women; Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Women in the Law Committee; DuPage Association of Women Lawyers; Hadassah Attorneys Council; Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois Latina Lawyers Committee; Illinois State Bar Association Minority and Women Participation Committee; Illinois State Bar Association Women and the Law Committee; and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois. To learn more about the project, or to volunteer to participate, please contact Planning Committee Co-Chairs, Margot Klein (312-346-8700), or Jeanne Reynolds, (312-332-4312). To sign up to participate in the Women Everywhere Project, please contact Ellen Girard at egirard@quarles.com, or print out a volunteer sign-up sheet by visiting <www.women-everywhere.org>.

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