Over the past year, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois has focused on our members. With our theme, We are the WBAI, the officers, directors and committee co-chairs have worked hard to develop programs, CLE opportunities and networking and business development events for women lawyers in every practice area and for every stage of a lawyer’s career.
Our innovative programs this year include a Legally Moms group where women lawyers can meet to discuss issues of importance to working mothers. The lawyers in this group include new mothers and mothers of young children. The topics are wide-ranging and the stories and experiences shared by the Legally Moms participants are entertaining.
We also are adding a Legally Moms – The Second Chapter group designed to offer women lawyers support with high school- and college-age children as well as those taking care of elderly parents. Whether you are a new mother, a mom of teens, someone considering becoming a mother or you are caring for an aging parent, these support groups offer something for every member.
Our inaugural New Lawyers Boot Camp kicked off in January. Topics included resume writing and interviewing skills, networking and wellness. The program was designed to assist third-year law students and recent law school graduates with the tools to land their first job. This program was designed to support our newest WBAI members.
At our fall Civil Litigation Dinner, Judge Lynn Egan and Sammi Renken, partner at Johnson & Bell, discussed trial practice and issues of importance to women trial lawyers. This spring, Judge Hollis Webster (Ret.) and Judge Michael Panter (Ret.) shared tips for a successful mediation. These programs offered our members an opportunity to develop civil litigation skills and learn from well-respected judges in a more informal setting.
At our recent record-breaking Judicial Reception, a packed room at the Cultural Center was present to honor Judge Egan with the Women with Vision Award for her tremendous efforts developing countless hours of CLE credit for practitioners and Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman with the Mary Heftel Hooton Award for her tireless work promoting women and diversity in the legal profession.
Swanson Martin & Bell LLP joined forces with the WBAI in last month for a program called “How to Get the Business: Continued Conversations with Givers and Getters.” CLE credit was offered and the program focused on concrete ways for women lawyers to develop and grow their business. Corporate representatives were also on hand to discuss what they look for in a lawyer.
The WBAI is also focused on community outreach. This year, we partnered with After School Matters. We held a holiday shopping event at the After School Matters gift shop. The students and alumnae who were present were truly inspiring. This spring, Jones Day hosted an event for program students. The students had an opportunity to talk to women lawyers about a career in the law.
We will cap off the bar year with our annual dinner on June 8 at the Palmer House Hilton, where our new officers and directors will be installed. We hope you will join us for our largest event of the year.
It has been a busy year and the officers and directors of the WBAI have worked hard to offer meaningful programs for women lawyers at every stage of their careers. We have offered numerous opportunities for CLE credits, networking and business development programs as well as community outreach events. It is an exciting time for our organization. We hope that you will consider joining the WBAI, that you will get involved and make lasting friendships. If you are interested, please check out our website at wbaillinois.org.