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Lawyers of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome.

 

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Trump v. Hawaii

Posted By Jylan Megahed , Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trump v. Hawaii 

 

On January 28, 2017, according to Trump's key adviser, “When Donald Trump first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim Ban.’  He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’” This was noted in Justice Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion of the June 26, 2018, Muslim Ban case, Trump v. Hawaii. Yet Chief Justice Roberts reasoned, “The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices. The text says nothing about religion.”

Did the text need to say anything about religion, when President Trump himself called the Executive Order a “Muslim Ban?” Our highest court failed us, largely because the Supreme Court did not review the Executive Order under strict scrutiny. This, despite Sotomayor’s dissent, citing Supreme Court precedent: “[I]n other Establishment Clause cases, including those involving claims of religious animus or discrimination, this Court has applied a more stringent standard of review.” Ultimately, the Supreme Court applied rational-basis scrutiny in Trump v. Hawaii.

As a Muslim-American attorney, I am affected by the Muslim Ban because our faith teaches us that everyone is our brother and sister in Islam. I grew up between San Diego and Phoenix within the Muslim community. I have lifelong Muslim-American friends with roots from Syria, Yemen, and Iran. In preparation to write this, I’ve asked some of them if they could tell me how the Muslim Ban directly impacted them. To my surprise, they declined to be interviewed for this blog in fear that they would be targeted in some way. This reminded me of how scared I was when I felt that I’d somehow be deported due to President Trump's first Executive Order on January 27, 2017. Many did not understand my fear since I’ve been a U.S. citizen for over 15 years now. My distress stemmed from the unknown and the rapid changes in the laws. I was paranoid that the laws would change while I traveled to a foreign country, and thereby, prevent me from returning home to San Diego. I did not genuinely believe I, a feisty attorney, would be denied entry with my U.S. Passport, but I did not want to go through the obstacle of having to argue my way back into my country. Sadly, I later learned from some of my friends that they did have an exceptionally difficult time entering the U.S. after they vacationed in Mexico. My fear was their reality.

The only positivity that comes from this Supreme Court's decision is that it forces all marginalized groups to be politically and socially aware. It is inhumane that now my brothers and sister in Islam will continue to live in fear because their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. cannot enter the U.S. to escape the wars in Syria, Yemen, Iran, Chad, and Somalia. The U.S. is effectively imprisoning them. Muslim-Americans contribute significantly to our San Diego community, as lawyers, doctors, professors, engineers, pharmacists, therapists, nurses, social workers, police officers, and the list goes on. Although Trump v. Hawaii was a defeat, the support from communities all over the country proves that nothing will puncture our hope. We will continue to stand together, as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Jylan Megahed co-chairs Lawyers Club’s Community Outreach Committee, works as a Family Law solo practitioner, and serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children in San Diego County.


Tags:  dissent  hope  immigration  Muslim Ban  rational-basis  Sotomayor  strict scrutiny  Supreme Court  travel  Trump  Trump v. Hawaii 

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The Journey of Gender Identity

Posted By Jodi Cleesattle, Friday, July 6, 2018

The Journey of Gender Identity


Since 1999, I have been the mother of daughters. Well, in 1999, I was the mother of a daughter. The second one came along in 2002.

 

When I divorced in 2007, it was just us girls in the house. Even our dogs and cats were all girls, except for Sparky, who retreated to his man cave behind the couch when he needed to get away from all the estrogen.

 

Then in 2016, my older child began identifying as genderqueer, or nonbinary. They adopted “they/them/their” pronouns and shortened their first name to a more androgynous nickname to reflect their identity as neither male nor female. Although they flirted with gender fluidity – some days presenting more female, some days more male – they settled on nonbinary status, for a time. In the last year, though, they began leaning more toward a male identity. Now, they are considering transitioning to male.

 

I am used to being the mother of girls, and I admit that I had a “but, boys are icky” moment.

 

But I realized that my child will always be a feminist, whether male, female, or nonbinary. They will always be a champion of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. They will always be an activist for those who are disadvantaged. They will always be the same spirited, creative, curious, wonderful human being they have always been.

 

Fully realizing their gender identity, and the separate-but-related issue of their sexual orientation, has been a journey.

 

It is a journey that has felt slow to them, but often feels fast to me. Sometimes I get dizzy and confused by the twists and turns of the journey. Sometimes they don’t tell me the path until after they have thoroughly explored it, and I have to race to catch up to where they are. I don’t mean to be slow, but I’m not as nimble and young as they are.

 

I have learned so much while journeying with my child. As a cisgendered (for the unfamiliar, that means identifying with the gender assigned at birth) woman, I never thought much about gender identity. As a bisexual woman, I never thought much about sexual orientation beyond LGBTQ. Through my child, I have learned that gender and orientation are so much more nuanced.

 

Most importantly, I have realized that everybody’s journey is different. Some trans kids feel at a young age that they’re trapped in the wrong gender. Some take longer to pinpoint what doesn’t feel quite right to them.

 

It has not always been easy, but it has been a privilege being on this journey with my child.

 

I love them for who they are, whoever they are. No matter their name, no matter what they look like, no matter their identity, they will always be my child.

 

Editor’s Note: Happy Pride Month, San Diego! Join Lawyers Club for two events: She Fest on July 7, and the San Diego Pride Parade on July 14: She Fest: The Time is Now: Saturday, July 7, 2018, 11-6, North Park Community Park, 4044 Idaho St., 92104

Join the Lawyers Club’s marching contingent at the San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday July 14, 2018 – for details, contact Allison Troini (Allison@lawyersclubsandiego.com).

Jodi Cleesattle is a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice, a past Lawyers Club board member, the current Lawyers Club press liaison, and she wrote this as a member of Lawyers Club’s LGBTQ Committee.

Tags:  cisgender  LGBTQ  nonbinary  parenting  Pride  transgender 

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Loretta Lynch’s Golden Blazer—An Example of How (S)heroes Wear Suits

Posted By Jessica Gross, Wednesday, June 6, 2018
 

Loretta Lynch’s Golden Blazer—An Example of How (S)heroes Wear Suits

 

This year’s Annual Dinner keynote speaker, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is an iconic woman who has been the “first” in many roles, breaking ground for others to follow her towards a more equitable future. Lawyers Club members are likely aware that Lynch was the first black woman to become Attorney General of the United States. Perhaps a lesser-known achievement is that Lynch was the first woman to be awarded the Golden Blazer. The Golden Blazer is an honor given to the American who has done the most to grow the sport of soccer, and Lynch was given this award because of her work as a prosecutor.

 

To start with the basics, FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is comprised of about 209 member associations and is responsible for regulating soccer worldwide. FIFA’s mission “is to promote the game of football [soccer], protect its integrity and bring the game to all.” FIFA is subdivided into six continental confederations that govern on a regional level, including CONCACAF—the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football.

 

One of the primary means through which FIFA and its affiliates raise revenue is licensing commercial, media, and marketing rights for events and tournaments. For example, FIFA and CONCACAF—who own the commercial rights to the World Cup and Gold Cup—sell their rights to sports marketing companies through multi-year contracts covering multiple tournaments. The sports marketing companies in turn sell the rights to TV and radio broadcast networks, corporate sponsors, and others who want to broadcast the matches or promote their brands. Generally, the revenue generated from these contracts is substantial, and “according to FIFA, 70% of its $5.7 billion in total revenues between 2011 and 2014 was attributable to the sale of TV and marketing rights to the 2014 World Cup.” Only, as Lynch and her team discovered, not all of these dealings were above-board.

 

As early as 1991, certain FIFA officials would leverage their power to broker commercial rights over various soccer events to sports media and marketing company executives, businesspersons, and bankers in exchange for bribes and kickbacks. As U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of New York, Lynch supervised the investigation of FIFA that culminated in charges alleging that FIFA officials and business executives received well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks.

 

On May 27, 2015, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Lynch announced charges against 14 defendants for racketeering, wire fraud, and money-laundering conspiracies, carried out over the course of “a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.” Among the high-ranking officials charged were two FIFA vice presidents and seven other FIFA executives, as well as four individual and corporate defendants. Lynch described the scandal as a “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” scheme that “span[ed] at least two generations of soccer officials who . . . abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.” As a result of her work, Lynch was dubbed the “FIFA Slayer” for eradicating the notorious profiteering plot carried out by FIFA officials.

 

The qualities that led Lynch to be awarded the Golden Blazer exemplify why Lawyers Club is honored to recognize her with the 2018 Icon Award, which is given to honor those who have made meritorious contributions to society throughout their lives, and who share Lawyers Club’s values of justice, inclusion and progress. Lynch’s dedication to combating injustice while paving the way for the women who follow in her footsteps exemplifies Lawyers Club’s mission to advance the status of women in the law and society. Lawyers Club is thrilled to have Lynch as this year’s Annual Dinner Speaker on June 7, 2018, and we look forward the opportunity to hear more from Lynch about her impressive career. 

 

Jessica Gross, Esq. wrote this for Lawyers Club’s Annual Dinner Committee and has been actively involved in Lawyers Club for several years.

Tags:  Attorney General  corporate crime  corruption  FIFA  FIFA Slayer  football  Golden Blazer  kickbacks  Loretta Lynch  scandal  soccer  Tags: Annual Dinner  white collar crime 

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Guest Blog - Fore!

Posted By Anne Rudolph, Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Fore!

 

I suspect that many of you have been told that golf is a great way to network, and it definitely is. An average game is about four hours, in which you will have a lot of face time with your fellow players and opportunity to get to know people. In addition, it’s a great way to enjoy some fresh air and time out of the office. 

 

I know that many women who have never golfed before are intimidated by the game. Don’t be! All it takes is a bit of knowledge about the basics and some practice. In my experience, even new golfers are welcomed on the course and other players go out of their way to be courteous.      

 

Though we are an organization primarily made up of women, the vast majority of players in the annual Lawyers Club Golf Tournament have been men. In 2013, in an effort to encourage more women to play, the golf tournament committee came up with the great idea to schedule golf lessons for Lawyers Club members. The lessons were at Riverwalk Golf Club, and there were weekly group lessons during the four weeks leading up to the tournament. The lessons were a big hit, and many of the participants ended up playing in that year’s tournament. For some, it was the start of their path toward being regular golfers. 

 

I was part of the first group that participated in the lessons in 2013 and I had a great time and connected with so many people. The lessons were geared for beginners. The first lesson actually began with how to hold a golf club; it was that basic. The instructors really strived to make us feel comfortable.    

 

Each lesson was the same format: after giving a brief lesson about some golf fundamentals, the instructors would demonstrate the techniques and then put us into groups of three or four. We took turns hitting the balls with the instructors circulating around giving pointers. There was a lot of opportunity to hit balls and get helpful hints from the instructors. When it wasn’t your turn at the mat, there was time to visit and get to know the other participants. After each lesson, there was a fun happy hour hosted by one of our sponsors.

 

Though I signed up for the lessons with two other women from my own firm, we met so many new people. We hooked up with one woman who was new to town and the four of us ended up playing in the tournament together that year. We had a blast! The connections I made with some of the people at those lessons in 2013 have continued to this day.    

 

If you have been wanting to learn more about the great game of golf and to give it a try, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the group golf lessons that will begin on May 23rd at Riverwalk Golf Club. And, if you find you like it, sign up for the 26th annual Lawyers Club Golf Tournament, to be held on June 29th at Riverwalk.   

 

Anne Rudolph is a shareholder at Hughes and Pizzuto, specializing in trust and probate administration and related litigation.

Tags:  golf  golf lessons  golf tournament  networking 

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Students Corner: Can law students really prosper under The PROSPER Act?

Posted By Rio Schwarting, Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Students Corner

 

Can law students really prosper under The PROSPER Act? 

 

While a career as an attorney is an extraordinary calling, we all pursue the path for different reasons. Some are fueled by their passion for the pursuit of justice. Others champion legal causes for the greater good of society. Regardless of what motivates you, we are all tied together by a common thread – student loan debt. All it takes is one, swift hit from the fist of reality via a glance at your credit report to remember that. Fortunately, most us took advantage of federal student loans, which offer a more flexible repayment option and more opportunities for payment relief than loans funded by private or institutional sources. However, future attorneys in San Diego and across the country may be faced with a different scenario.

On December 1, 2017, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx introduced a bill called the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act” (the “PROSPER Act”) in the House Education and Workforce Committee. While the stated objective of the bill is to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the modifications it makes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness, interest rates on student loans, and graduate borrowing limits will exacerbate the increasing burden of student debt.


The greatest impact will come for those interested in earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for their work in the public sector. While the bill does not outright eliminate the program, it does make eligibility essentially impossible for new borrowers by eliminating the Federal Direct Loans and repayment plans eligible for PSLF, and instead creating new “Federal ONE Loans” with limited repayment options that are not eligible. Thus, the PROSPER Act would effectively make PSLF unattainable for any new borrowers.

Not only does the PROSPER Act limit PSLF, but it would implement new, limited repayment options for Federal ONE Loans, with a new income-driven repayment plan. This new repayment plan would not be eligible for PSLF and departs from most of the current income-driven repayment plans available. For married borrowers, the new repayment plan will base monthly payments on the combined income of the borrower and their spouse, no matter how they file their taxes. This translates to a drastic increase in monthly payments for public servants who have a spouse working in the private sector, making substantially more than them.


In addition, graduate students will see their federal loan limits set at $28,500 under the PROSPER Act, as opposed to the current limit, which is the total cost of attendance. This cap would force many borrowers to seek additional aid through private loans, which lack the borrower protections of federal loans. With higher interest rates and less favorable terms, increased private loans are likely to make the repayment process even more burdensome for student loan borrowers.

We all know becoming a lawyer is an enormous undertaking in terms of time commitment and financial investment. The PROSPER Act would make higher education less affordable, saddle students with greater debt, and push more students into loan default. I know for me personally, my likelihood of attending law school would have been decreased had my financing been restrained by the PROSPER Act. While the PROSPER Act does not directly impact current attorneys or students near graduation, it is important we all recognize the repercussions for our future legal community.

 

Rio Schwarting is a 3L at California Western School of Law, an especially gifted napper, and superb at parallel parking.   

Tags:  debt relief  federal student loan repayment  federal student loans  law school debt  law school loans  private student loans  prosper act  student loan debt  student loan options  student loans 

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Guest Blog - Taking Ownership of Weakness: Leading Despite Uncertainty

Posted By Frantz Farreau, Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Guest Blog - Taking Ownership of Weakness: Leading Despite Uncertainty

 

I remember when I first started leading a counseling group at RJ Donovan State Prison. I was incredibly unsure of myself. Who am I, I thought, to lead this group, filled with people who are all so much older than I am? I felt thoroughly unqualified, and I believed that the group members would inevitably question my right to lead them. At the time, I did not realize that feeling unsure was a normal part of leading. I thought that leading a group meant that I came in with all the answers. I thought that I had to know exactly what was going to happen, exactly what I was going to say, exactly how people were going to respond. It was an unrealistic expectation, because everybody has uncertainty. All people, including people leading, are unsure of themselves at some point.

 

Ultimately, I opted to address the question head on. I told the group members that I was feeling unsure, and I wanted them to know that I would try my best, but to let me know what I could improve to help them as much as possible. By talking to the group members about my uncertainty, I was taking ownership of the fact that I was not perfect, but I was still in the lead. By addressing my uncertainty, I allowed both myself and the members of the group to see that I was able to lead even though I did not have all the answers.

 

When I decided to present my uncertainty to the group, I was quite surprised by the response: I found that the group members not only had no qualms about my being a leader, but were also thankful that I had demonstrated that it was okay to be unsure. When they saw me talk about my concerns, they saw me model what they needed to do to address their concerns about their own lives. In showing my vulnerability and uncertainty, I was still leading them because I was showing them what they needed to do to achieve their goals: ask for help. And they respected that. It is easy to sit from a facilitator chair and talk to the participants about the importance of being vulnerable. That is not true leadership. True leadership is being able to demonstrate so others can learn.

 

Going through that experience helped me understand that a leader continues to be inspiring, even in moments of vulnerability and weakness. Leaders are not inspirational because they have no uncertainty, they are inspirational because they show us that having foibles is okay. They are willing to be open about facing challenges and in so doing demonstrate strength. When leaders take ownership of their weaknesses, it makes us realize that we are strong enough to lead and inspire ourselves.

 

Frantz C. Farreau wrote this for Lawyers Club’s Leadership Development Committee, and is an attorney, real estate agent, and the volunteer coordinator for the Restorative Justice Reentry Prep Program at RJMP in San Diego. 

Tags:  confidence  Donovan  guest blogger  insecurity  LCB  leadership  leadership development  prison  reentry 

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Guest Blog: LGBTQ Rights Up For Interpretation?

Posted By Kimberly Ahrens, Wednesday, March 14, 2018
 

LGBTQ Rights Up For Interpretation?

 

This past June, I fell in love with Tennessee after visiting a friend who moved there a couple years back. We spent an entire day floating down the Harpeth River—enjoying the slow pace and dense lush forest that hugs the riverbank. After our canoeing adventure, we gathered around a fire pit in her backyard, watched a blanket of fireflies illuminate the earth around us, and discussed how different life is in Tennessee compared to Southern California.

 

The conversation turned to the question of whether my wife and I would ever consider moving to Tennessee. As a lesbian couple, it is impossible for us to not consider the level of LGBTQ acceptance when we consider moving to, or even visiting, another state or country. And, Tennessee is a prime example of a state that does not have any explicit law prohibiting discrimination against me based on my sexual orientation.  

 

Without explicit federal protection from workplace discrimination, LGBTQ families like mine are left at the mercy of state non-discrimination laws and shifting interpretations of federal law. A simple decision to move to a state void of any statewide anti-discrimination laws, coupled with recent federal government position reversals, could easily result in an inability to find a job merely because of the gender of my spouse.

 

Over the years, LGBTQ people have been forced to rely on a hodgepodge of regulations, state laws, federal guidance opinions, and local ordinances to create a patchwork of protection against discrimination. Unfortunately, this path can be unpredictable and unreliable because many states do not have any anti-discrimination laws and federal agencies have complete discretion to rescind, revise, or rollback their guidance opinions.

 

I look forward to learning more about recent changes to the interpretation of LGBTQ protections under federal civil rights laws and pending legislation at an upcoming MCLE panel discussion coordinated by Lawyers Club's LGBTQ Committee and Tom Homann LGBT Law Association (Friday, March 16, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. – register here to join us).  

 

The panel will include esteemed speakers, Amanda Goad, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and Alexander Chen, Equal Justice Works Fellow, National Center for Lesbian Rights. They will provide an in-depth review of recent federal government position reversals on sexual discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, religion as a license to discriminate, transgender military service, and more.

 

After the panel discussion, guests are welcome to attend a reception where we can mingle and continue talking about these important topics.

 

Kimberly Ahrens is the founder of The Ahrens Law Office and is the current chair of Lawyers Club’s LGBTQ Committee.

 

Tags:  discrimination  equality  guest blogger  LCB  LGBTQ 

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My So-Called First World Problems: Racist on a Plane

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Tuesday, March 6, 2018
My So-Called First World Problems: Racist on a Plane

 

I start a jury trial in less than 48 hours. I have work to do. I have an opening statement to perfect and witness statements to review. Instead, I am sitting here in 22A (window seat, so completely trapped) next to a white supremacist who doesn’t even have the decency to be ashamed of himself.

 

I remember I have a kippah in my purse. I find it, put it on. When I arrive at my hotel later, I will be annoyed, because I will realize I actually had three kippot in my purse, and could have shared them with other passengers. (I had just attended a Jewish wedding.)

 

I asked the flight attendant whether the airline has a policy about racist clothing. I later discovered that they do, and it isn’t allowed. But the flight attendants were in the dark about this policy, because at least two of them said, “Oh, yes, we saw that when he boarded the plane.”

 

The flight attendant did offer me an available middle seat elsewhere. Are you kidding me? Move the white supremacist. Or at least make him take off his vest.

 

I feel sick.

 

I feel like punching him in the face.

 

There is an anger and a fear that I am not accustomed to experiencing.

 

The vest is hanging over the armrest and it is touching me.

 

My discomfort is palpable.

 

The kippah on my head is my son’s and it says Benjamin on it in Hebrew letters.

 

I wish I had a bobby pin.

 

I would use it to keep my kippah in place. I swear.

 

Is coughing on him too passive-aggressive? Is the kippah passive-aggressive?

 

I grew up charmed, in New Jersey! The closest we got to anti-Semitism was an uncomfortable dispute over lyrics in the school Christmas concert.

 

I know people harbor hate. But to wear it on your sleeve? In an airport in a major city?

 

What is this? And who are we?

 

Rebecca Zipp is a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney in the Economic Crimes Division, and focuses her practice on securities fraud and elder financial abuse cases.

Tags:  LCB  My So-Called First-World Problems  race  racism 

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Guest Blog: Why Support Lawyers Club?

Posted By Eric Ganci, Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Why Support Lawyers Club?

 

I was asked to write an article about why I support Lawyers Club. And more importantly, why I, as a male, support an organization with a mission statement focused on females.

 

Any time I’m asked about my support for LC or any similar organization, I have the same gut reaction—because this talk can go one of two ways. The first way is the expected answer: LC has an incredible mission statement, it’s well-run, with quality events, it gives platforms to important issues, and voices to the underrepresented, etc. But, that’s not where my initial reaction goes when I’m asked this.

 

And, I get asked – at least a few times a year, “Why are you a member of LC, isn’t that an organization for women?” That right there? That’s the reason I support LC. It’s because I’m even asked that question, and it’s the fact that I’ve even been asked to write an article like this. The reason that anyone sees an organization with a gender-focus as something that they can’t, or needn’t, or shouldn’t be a part of, is exactly why I support LC. So, I’m not going to write an article about why I support LC; instead, I’ll discuss how you can support LC.

 

This is what I’ve been doing over the past few years, and I hope it lights a fire in you to do the same.

 

Call the organization by its proper focus:

 

Let’s start with the LC mission statement: “To advance the status of women in the law and society.”

 

So, pop quiz—I’ll give you a statement, and you say if it’s right or wrong. (Yes, you are being graded on this, and yes, I am judging you based on how you answer this). Ok, the statement: “This is a female bar organization,” or “This is an organization for women.”

 

If you said it was wrong, then [hugs]. If not, then [facepalm]. There’s no faster way to create the wall of “Me v. You” then to identify this organization in a limited way, or “just as” something. If you’re explaining this organization to a male, you might as well say, “This is a female org, for females, run by females . . . and you’re not included, invited, or wanted.” Because even if you don’t say this, this is what the listener hears.

 

My advice, say what the organization is by its mission statement. Nowhere in the mission statement does it say it’s only for females. Or to be technical, it doesn’t say it’s for females per se. It says this org is here to advance women in the legal field and society. Ah, that’s some inclusive stuff right there!

 

Ok, now that we have a proper framing to who we are as an organization, what are some actual things you can do right this second (well, after you finish reading this article).

 

Get male attorneys involved:

 

Guess what? Many men appreciate fact that an organization would want to foster this kind of mission. But you know what, men can be a part of this support too! With leadership shoes in the legal profession still overwhelmingly being filled by a more seasoned generation of white men, one of the best approaches is inviting the exact people in power to make change.

 

So, my ask to you: Think of your male colleagues, reach out to them, and offer to bring them to an event. Go to the Lawyers Club website, find an event, and offer the invite.

 

This is what I’ve been doing in San Diego, and it’s been wonderful. Many men either feel like they are not wanted or they would just not be accepted at an organization focused on promoting women. But if you specifically invite them, bring them, and introduce them to other members, then you’re showing them they are wanted in this organization. It’s also incredibly inclusive to walk into the event with the person you invited. That can be easy as meeting them outside the event and walking in with them, but obviously you could rock-star it and walk or ride to the event with them.

 

Get young attorneys involved:

 

You know who will be still around when we’re retired? Younger people! Yes, let them carry the torch and take care of us when we’re older! Also, this needn’t be new attorneys—it can be law students too. I’d start with the law student organization presidents, because they’re the most likely to keep community service going after law school.

 

Get judges or other high-ranking legal professionals involved:

 

Simply put, this will help the fire spread. People notice when someone high up the food chain walks into the room. Especially if they’ve never been there before. Once you’ve brought this person in, ask them for suggestions of who else you could invite to join you next time. Keep that momentum going!

 

Bring one person, or a few?

 

Here’s food for thought: Now that you’re going to take action right after you finish this article, do you want to bring just one person, or do you want to bring several? My thought is to bring one. It’s way more intimate and special to know that you specifically reached out to only them. Plus, it’s easier to introduce one person to other attendees instead of a group. But, if you want to bring a group of people and can pull it off, then go for it!

 

Wrapping up:

 

 “Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” said Gandhi, and so say I! Now that you’ve read my feelings on this, you can do one of two things: you can just take it in and maybe think it was a nice sentiment, or you can act on it. My hope is that you take action and reach out to some people, contacts both old and new, and invite them to join you. Offer to bring them to an event, and ask them to share this message with their spheres of influence. Actually, while writing this article I took a break and did the same thing myself by reaching out to a male colleague to invite him to a LC signature event: Red, White, and Brew (coming up on March 1, 2018). (And, if I’m patting myself on the back, last week I invited a female colleague who is also a newer lawyer to a LC luncheon). I’d love to hear if you do the same!

 

Guest blogger Eric Ganci is a DUI trial lawyer by day, and a face-melting live-band karaoke drummer by night.

Tags:  be the change  female organization  inclusion  male attorney  mission statement  outreach 

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Guest Blog: 45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Part 5

Posted By Courtney L. Wine, Monday, February 12, 2018

45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Part 5

 

Women Need More Choices

 

While in law school, I interned at the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr). I was hired by Sabrina Martucci Johnson, who was the organization’s CFO/CAO at the time. Ms. Johnson is an advocate for women, and any time we have spoken about reproductive rights, it has been obvious to me that she cares deeply about women’s access to reproductive health care.

 

Ms. Johnson is the founder and CEO of Daré Bioscience, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of innovative products in women’s reproductive health. Daré’s first clinical candidate is a nonhormonal contraceptive ring called Ovaprene®. By helping to develop a nonhormonal birth control ring, and thus expanding the options women have in that realm of health care, Ms. Johnson is advocating for women’s reproductive rights in a time when women’s health care is being challenged.

 

As part of a Lawyers Club blog series in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, here’s a summary of my interview with Ms. Johnson:

 

What is your role in the reproductive rights and services field?

 

SMJ: We founded Daré Bioscience to ensure that innovative products for reproductive health make it to market so that women have numerous choices when it comes to maintaining their reproductive health (whether it is contraception, vaginal health, menopause, fertility or sexual health). Expanding product choices helps enhance access and reduces stigma. I am also on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.  

 

What does the term "reproductive justice" mean to you?

 

SMJ: It means having access to the right products and services to address your specific reproductive needs and circumstances, no matter where you live, what your socioeconomic status is, your race, or your health.

 

How do you think reproductive rights and services have changed since Roe v. Wade or since you began your work?

 

SMJ: It has changed to expand beyond abortion to broader access to reproductive care, and beyond limited legal arguments to include the social and health factors that impact women's reproductive choices and decision-making ability.

 

What would you say is the number one need or reproductive service for those who have limited or no access to services in San Diego?

 

SMJ: More needs to be done on behalf of women and their families to deliver new and improved forms of contraception, fertility treatments and products for vaginal health. Bottom line: Women need more choices – including non-hormonal contraception – so that wherever they are in their reproductive lifecycle they have viable options.

 

We also need to continue to work hard to ensure that people have access to the information, services, and products they need. There are organizations that can provide appropriate, unbiased, and inclusive care, and we should make sure there is general awareness of these services.

 

For an interesting look at women’s health and the biotech industry, please read this STAT News article, co-authored by Ms. Johnson and Jessica Grossman, CEO of Medicines360. In the article, Ms. Johnson and Ms. Grossman articulate the barriers that women face regarding access to health options.

 

Courtney L. Wine wrote this for the Lawyers Club Reproductive Justice Committee and is contracts counsel at the California Institute for Biomedical Research.

Tags:  reproductive justice  reproductive justice committee  reproductive rights 

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