October 2018Volume 24Number 1PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

Chair’s column

The Women and the Law Committee (WATL) is an umbrella Illinois State Bar Association Committee. We are not practice area or topic specific, but advocate for women’s issues in general and women lawyer interests in the specific.

I am thrilled to be the new chair of this committee and even prouder of our recent accomplishments and what we plan to accomplish this year.

Over the past few years, WATL has been a moving force for equality of women and, in particular, Illinois’ ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. We were the impetus for the Association’s Assembly’s unanimous support of ratification. Our members and the association did not merely pass a resolution but then actively worked for ratification. In May, the state of Illinois finally ratified the ERA. WATL helped achieve that milestone. There is only one more state needed for women to finally achieve a place in the United States Constitution.

In July, WATL members Emily Hansen, Jessica Marshall, Cindy Buys, and Sarah Toney were awarded for their service to the Association. Former WATL Chair Sandra Crawford also received the Matthew Maloney Award.
During this bar year, WATL’s focus will not only be on enhancing the lives and practices of our members but also advocating for the girls who will follow us. As a committee of 40 members who live and practice throughout Illinois, we have unique opportunities to do so.

As a social and internal networking event, following our August 10, 2018, meeting, we adjourned to Spa Space to enjoy ourselves and get to know our new members. In doing so, we furthered ISBA President Hon. James McCluskey’s theme of enhancing the success and well being of our members.

The night before each of our future meetings, we plan on holding informal dinners to network and explore topics how we can assist each other’s practices. Both current and former WATL members will be invited to attend.

On November 1, 2018, we will present a CLE program on branding and will have a networking reception following the program. In the spring, we will sponsor a program on assisting girls in crisis. This year, we also plan on exploring the issue of pay equality and pay equity. We also look forward to sponsoring our Third Annual International Women’s Day Tea.

This is only a portion of WATL’s agenda for 2018-19. For more information on these efforts and others, please feel free to reach out to Melissa Burkholder, ISBA director of section services, mburkholder@isba.org, 312-920-4682 or to me.

Lori G. Levin is an experienced criminal and juvenile defense attorney who practices in the Chicagoland area. She can be reached at 312-972-3756 or levin@lorilevinlaw.com. Her website is www.lorilevinlaw.com. She can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chicagodefense and twitter @LoriLevin.

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