I am honored to have chaired The Standing Committee on Women and the Law (WATL) of the Illinois State Bar Association and am proud of our accomplishments. WATL is an umbrella committee of the Illinois State Bar Association. We are not practice area or topic specific but advocate for women’s issues in general and women lawyer interests in the specific.
This year, we directed our attention not only 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 had unique opportunities to do so.
As a social and internal networking event, following our August 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 or morning before each of our meetings, we got to know each other better by holding informal dinners or breakfasts to network and explore how we can assist each other’s practices. Both current and former WATL members were invited to attend.
In the fall, WATL presented a popular CLE program on Branding and held a networking reception following the program, sponsored by Stephen Komie and Associates.
This month, we held a CLE on Girls in Crisis: Foster Care and Unaccompanied Immigrants, underwritten by Tomasik Kotin Kasserman LLC. That program was co-sponsored by the ISBA Child Law Committee, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Black Women Lawyer’s Association, and North Shore Law. National and statewide speakers educated us on the plights of these girls. Lynn Price, the founder of Camp to Belong, a nationwide network of summer camps reuniting siblings in foster care, informed us how her experience in Illinois foster care inspired her to help others for the past 25 years. Debra Dyer-Webster, chief deputy director of DCFS, and Chiquita Oglesby, Danville foster mother and social worker, along with Lynn, suggested programs and projects, some of which will be instituted next year under the leadership of incoming chair Kelly Bennett. Ashley Huebner, associate director of legal services, National Immigrations Justice Center, and Sara Elizabeth Dill, partner, Antheum Global, Washington, D.C., explained the problems of unaccompanied immigrant girls and suggested projects which are also being considered by WATL committee.
Additionally, this year, member Kristin Prinz presented a YouTube video on the differences between pay equality and pay equity on behalf of our committee. We also sponsored our extremely successful third annual International Women’s Day Tea.
I am so proud of this committee’s accomplishments and am grateful for the friendship of the committee members. I cannot wait to participate and see the accomplishments of WATL under Kelly’s leadership.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is www.lorilevinlaw.com. She can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chicagodefense and twitter @LoriLevin.