November 2010Volume 16Number 3PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

Chair’s column

When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care far more profoundly about other people. The more alert and responsive we are to our own needs, the more loving and generous we can be to other.

—Eda LeShan, psychologist.

Women and the Law is now well underway in our 2010-2011 Bar year and many new and exciting projects are in development. Among these are the planning of festivities in celebration of 2011 International Women’s Day in March. Last year the Committee celebrated International Women’s Day ( by combining a business meeting with a trip to the Allyu Spa ( followed by a Peace Circle and a group dinner at Kiki’s Bistro in Chicago. This year’s activities are being planned to include a business development roundtable (discussing issues of branding, self promotion, balance, etc) of course followed by another trip to the spa and a communal dinner. These events will be open to all Catalyst readers and ISBA members. Anyone interested in participating in part or all of the 2011 ISBA International Women’s Day festivities should feel free to contact the Chair directly. Taking care of ourselves includes making time for a full range of activities such as learning, relaxation, meeting new people and breaking bread together. We hope to combine all these in one great day of celebration.

Our plans this year include looking at all dimension of what it means to “truly take care of oneself.” Many of our members are juggling child rearing, work, Bar activities, and volunteer commitments, as well as providing care for one or more elderly parent or family member. Acknowledging the latter, Women and the Law’s Spring continuing educational program is entitled: “Your Clients, Their Elderly Parents and You” and will cover a wide variety of topics faced by practitioners as well as individual who find themselves taking on the care of parents or elderly relatives. We hope that this program will have wide ranging appeal even if you don’t practice specifically in the Elder Law area. This program promises to have lots to offer to anyone touched by the issue of caring for the elderly. Look for information about the program on ISBA’s daily E-Clips or contact our CLE Subcommittee Chair, Mary Petruchius, directly.

This year’s Women and the Law outreach will take us to LaSalle-Peru for a networking event with our female colleagues in that region of the Illinois. By doing outreach and providing an opportunity to dialogue with specific “downstate” communities we make better connections and gain a greater perspective on how well the concerns and challenges faced by women lawyers are being handled and addressed across the ISBA community. In years past we have concentrated our outreach efforts on connecting with women law students. This year we are returning the focus of our outreach to women lawyers who are already established but may still be struggling to make a deeper connection and find a supportive professional network within the ISBA. Service on the Women and the Law Committee or participation in anyone of our events is one small step to establishing a better connection. A great opportunity to get better connected to the Women in the Law community is by submitting articles for publication in this newsletter. The Catalyst is published four times per year and our next deadline will be in January. Back issues of The Catalyst can be viewed on the ISBA’s site, <>, Committee Section under the Women and the Law Committee. Anyone interested in writing or submitting an article for women lawyers or about women’s interests or issues should feel free to contact either of our newsletter co-editors, Emily Masalski or Shital Patel directly.

Another way Women and the Law connects with the women lawyers within the ISBA and around the state is in looking for opportunities to nominate deserving women candidates for awards within and outside the ISBA. This year we are happy to have been successful in our nomination of our former Chair, Sharon Eiseman (2007-2008) for the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois’ 2010 Women with Vision Award. Sharon will receive her award at the WBAI’s 69th Joint Professional Dinner on November 4, 2010, at the Hotel Allegro. She will be honored along with three other professional women from the arenas of Medicine, Academia and Advocacy. Sharon’s vision of gathering lawyers in service to women and children has now grown into the highly successful Women Everywhere Project (

Women Everywhere (WE) is a volunteer collective in the Chicagoland area aimed at soliciting and coordinating volunteer activities on behalf of women and children in need. Through the various activities of WE, hundreds of volunteers make a difference by participating in the Community Service Day and the Educational Program. The Community Service Day allows male and female volunteers to give back to their community by volunteering their time to nearly 30 local service agencies dedicated to helping women and children in need. The Educational Program invites high schools girls from around the area to tour trial or appellate courts, while encouraging them to aspire to interesting and challenging careers. ISBA’s Women and the Law Committee has been an active part of the Community Service Day for many years now. We welcome our Catalyst readers to join us this year in that effort, which usually takes place around the beginning of June. Stay tuned to this column for more information about that opportunity and other upcoming opportunities for “loving and generous service” to others. ■


Women and the Law 2010-11 Chair Sandra Crawford is a solo practitioner in Chicago. She can be reached directly at She practices in the areas of family, real estate and Mechanic Lien Foreclosure law. She is an ISBA Assembly Member and the immediate past president of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois She frequently writes and teaches on the topics of mediation and Collaborative Practice. For information about the Collaborative Law model of dispute resolution call Sandra directly at (312) 726-8766 or visit or

Login to post comments