Chair’s column

Making time for laughter is important. According to online sources, laughter has many health benefits because it can:

Boost the immune system;

• Trigger the release of endorphins;

• Increase blood flow, which can help protect your heart; and

• Help relieve tension and stress.1

Laughter in the U.S. Supreme Court has also been the subject of “studies” by Professor Jay D. Wexler2 and a law review article.3 After our Standing Committee spent a significant amount of time analyzing depressing statistics on gender equity in the law profession,4 I decided that our Spring 2016 outreach event would focus on laughter in the law.

Please join the Standing Committee on Women and the Law for our Spring outreach event, “Celebrating the Power of Laughter in the Law,” a luncheon, on March 8, 2016, in Chicago. It will be an excellent opportunity to network with each other and to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8). The event is supported by present, past, and future bar leaders and many of them will be in attendance.

Our featured speaker will be Dr. Gail Stern, Co-Owner and Chief Academic Officer of Catharsis Productions. A few of our committee members heard Dr. Stern speak at the Symposium on College Sexual Assaults. Dr. Stern examined how to foster a culture of change on college campuses and somehow managed to incorporate humor into her presentation. We are thrilled that she accepted our invitation to speak.

Dr. Gail Stern is an educator and curriculum developer with over 20 years of experience in violence prevention education and advocacy. She is the co-author of the non-stranger rape prevention program, SEX SIGNALS, which is presented over a thousand times at universities and military installations each year. She is also the author of the programs, The Canary in the Mine Shaft; Beat the Blame Game; Why They Fight the Facts; and, Moral Development: Sexual Assault Prevention in a Military Context. Dr. Stern earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, examining the role of humor in reducing the emotional and cognitive resistance to the subject of rape.

For more information and to register for the March 8th luncheon, please go to <>.


Emily N. Masalski is Counsel at Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP (R3) and a member of the firm’s environmental and natural resources, health and safety, and litigation practice groups. She can be reached at


1. Laughter is the Best Medicine, <>

2. Jay Wexler, SCOTUS Humor, <>

3. Ryan A. Malphurs, Ph.D., “People Did Sometimes Stick Things in my Underwear” The Function of Laughter at the U.S. Supreme Court, 10 Communication Law Review 48, available at <>

4. See, <>

Login to post comments

February 2016Volume 21Number 3PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)