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Lawyers Club 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. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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47th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, January 23, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

This week marks the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right for women to have a safe abortion. While some have criticized the decision on legal and ethical grounds, this landmark decision on women’s reproductive rights is supported by 73% of Americans. Lawyer Club supports a women’s right to choose and a women’s rights over her own reproductive health.

The most significant impact of Roe v. Wade has been the marked improvement on women’s health, especially for women of low socio-economic status. Before Roe v. Wade, illegal abortions comprised of one-sixth of all pregnancy related deaths. A study in New York City found that of the women with low incomes who had obtained an abortion, 80% had attempted dangerous, self-induced abortions. After Roe v. Wade, abortions conducted by medical professionals have a 99% safety record.

The reversal of Roe v. Wade would have a significant detrimental impact to the health of poor women, especially in states with significant populations. Twenty states are ready to outlaw abortions should Roe v. Wade be overturned, which include the poorest states in the country like Mississippi and Alabama. It is estimated that 25 million women are at risk of losing access to abortion, which constitutes about 1/3 of all women of reproductive age. We must continue to support Roe v. Wade to avoid taking a significant step back on women’s health and reproductive rights. 

 

If you are interested in learning more about supporting women’s reproductive rights, please join us at the 47th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Breakfast Event. You can also review the amicus brief filed in June Medical Services LLC, et. al v. Gee (a case before the Supreme Court regarding Louisiana’s restrictive abortion laws), which Lawyers Club has joined in support of women’s reproductive rights. Please see our article posted here

 

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

Tags:  abortion  equality  reproductive justice  reproductive rights  roe v. wade 

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Lawyers Club of San Diego Signs Supreme Court Amicus Brief Regarding a Challenge to Abortion Rights

Posted By Jinsook Ohta for Lawyers Club's Women's Advocacy and Reproductive Justice Committee, Tuesday, January 21, 2020

In late 2019, Lawyers Club of San Diego signed an amicus brief filed in the United States Supreme Court case, June Medical Services LLC., et. al. v. Gee. In doing so, Lawyers Club joined nearly 200 organizations and more than 700 individuals who signed U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs voicing opposition to Louisiana’s Act 620, a law that would make it nearly impossible for Louisiana residents to obtain abortion care.

Twenty seven “friend of the court” briefs were filed, opposing medically unnecessary abortion restrictions that undermine access. Other signers include major medical associations like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 197 members of Congress, attorneys general from 21 states and the District of Columbia, reproductive justice advocates, civil rights organizations, social science experts, the American Bar Association, prominent legal scholars and former judges, abortion providers, faith leaders, and close to 380 individuals sharing stories of their personal abortion experiences.

On October 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court, in June Medical Services LLC., et. al. v. Gee, agreed to hear a challenge to Louisiana’s Act 620, the “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act,” which passed in June 2014. In part, Act 620, requires, “[E]very physician who performs or induces an abortion shall ‘have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.’”

The justices’ announcement that they will weigh in on the constitutionality of the Louisiana law comes less than three and a half years after the United States Supreme Court struck down a similar law from Texas by a vote of 5-3. Texas had tried to defend the law by arguing that the admitting-privileges requirement was intended to protect the health of pregnant women. Justice Kennedy joined the court’s four more liberal justices in holding that the state had not provided any evidence to show that the admitting-privileges requirement actually served that interest. June Medical Services LLC., et. al. v. Gee will be the first case heard by the Supreme Court challenging to abortion rights since the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

EDITOR NOTE: Oral arguments for June Medical Services LLC. are scheduled for March 4, 2020.

Jinsook (Jin) Ohta is a Supervising Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Consumer Law Section and wrote this for Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Women’s Advocacy and Reproductive Justice Committee.

 

 

Tags:  abortion  access  June Medical Services LLC  Kavanaugh  reproductive justice  Supreme Court  USSCt 

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Join the Fight for Women's Rights

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, January 16, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2020

 

On January 18, 2020, the fourth annual Women’s March will be held in San Diego, an event for women and men to advocate for women’s rights and show politicians around the country that women’s rights cannot be ignored. The Women’s March in San Diego will coincide with other marches around the United States, including in our nation’s capital, as a response to actions by state and federal governments to retrench important civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights that protect women and families.

As our country prepares for its next election, we must show up and advocate for policies that ensure equal treatment for all women. The importance of women’s rights must be part of the discussion during this election cycle. This should also serve as a reminder to us all to support elected officials that embrace these values and push to elect even more women to elected office. This will serve not only to protect the gains women have achieved on important issues, like reproductive rights, but to continue to push our government for pass necessary polices, like the Equal Rights Amendment, equal pay, and paid family leave. In the words of our Justice Ginsburg, "Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you." Let us all join the fight.

 

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

Tags:  advocacy  civil rights  election  politics  reproductive rights  women’s advocacy  women's march 

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A New Chapter for our Judiciary

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, January 9, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, January 8, 2020

 

As many of you know, despite comprising half the population, women only make up thirty-six percent of judges in the Superior Court of California. Women are likewise underrepresented in leadership positions on the bench. Lawyers Club is excited to recognize that Judge Lorna Alksne was elected to serve as the new Presiding Judge for the San Diego Superior Court. Importantly, Judge Alksne is only the third woman to serve as Presiding Judge in San Diego County. The first woman to serve as presiding judge was Justice Judith McConnell, one of our founding mothers.

Judge Alksne selected a number of women to assume leadership roles in the judiciary, including Hon. Randa Trapp, Supervising Judge for Civil (the first African-American Supervising Judge for Civil); Hon. Margo Lewis Hoy, Supervising Judge for Family; Hon. Ana L. España, Supervising Judge for Juvenile; and Hon. Eugenia Eyherabide, Supervising Judge for Criminal. Judge Alksne also selected Hon. Dwayne Moring to serve as the first African-American Supervising Judge for the South County Courthouse. Lawyers Club congratulates and welcomes the new Presiding Judge and looks forward to her wisdom, leadership, and guidance in helping shape our judiciary.

 

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

Tags:  diversity  equality  judiciary  leadership  legal profession  superior court  women 

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Tips for Successful Court Advocacy: Effective Strategies for Building Credibility and Rapport

Posted By Phillip Stephan for Lawyers Club's Bench Bar Committee, Tuesday, January 7, 2020

At the Bench Bar Committee, San Diego Lawyers Club members are given the opportunity to attend events that provide an informal, relaxed atmosphere for members of the bench and members of Lawyers Club to meet, interact, and discuss the legal profession. The goal of this experience is to help us all understand that members of the bench are approachable people – they make mistakes, understand that you may be slightly anxious when you are arguing in front of them, and maybe even spill salad dressing on their clothes too.
Although an informal lunch may not provide the most applicable training for your career-defining oral argument, the San Diego Lawyers Club’s Bench Bar Committee has helped numerous people, including me, learn about how best to connect with the bench. Oral argument is an extension of your ability to hold a conversation – a conversation with more structure, specialized terminology, and often, the demand for persuasion. Social interaction with our esteemed judicial offers has provided me with a foundation to calmly handle oral argument, and I credit Lawyers Club, the San Diego County Bar Association, and other San Diego organizations for providing such great opportunities. Here are some guiding principles for oral argument that have come in handy:


1. Engage the judge. This is a conversation, rather than a debate. Your debate is with opposing counsel. Hopefully, you’ve persuasively presented the points in your moving papers. Speaking of your moving papers . . .

2. Do not read to the judge. To effectively engage your judge, it is ineffective to read the same statement you’ve made in your moving papers, unless the situation or the judge specifically calls for that – the judge has considered those arguments already. Try to condense your points into a one sheet outline or a series of brief sheets, depending on the complexity of your case. Brief sheets are a technique for splitting up a complex oral argument into easy references, with one brief sheet covering case law, one covering your arguments, and one covering any opposing arguments, etc.

3. Deliver your point concisely. Even when you cannot be brief in your brief, make sure that you do not include unnecessary detail that may cause the judicial officer to lose interest in your argument. Part of concisely addressing the points you want to make includes properly integrating any tentative rulings, as well as interactively listening to the questions and underlying concerns of the direction from the bench. Numerous talented practitioners stress that oral argument is dynamic.

4. Be respectful and reliable. Credibility is the essential attribute that anyone making an argument must exude to persuade others, or hold a conversation. Although your job is to advocate, you cannot afford to lose credibility.

As the new year arrives, I often find the time for reflection and come up with a resolution or two. This year, one resolution is to concentrate on staying mindful, including following my own advice and trusting the lessons I have learned through my experience. I provided the above tips because that advice reflects the ideal way of delivering an oral argument; real life may not always be so simple. If you (and I) take the time to prepare, and trust that preparation has been diligent and thorough, we will all be able to improve our conversation, both in and out of the courtroom.


Enjoy a prosperous 2020!

 

Phillip Stephan is an Associate Attorney at Neil, Dymott, Frank, McCabe & Hudson, APLC, and he wrote this for San Diego Lawyers Club’s Bench Bar Committee.

 

 

 

Tags:  advocacy  bench bar  briefs  judge  judicial engagement  oral argument  reliability  respect 

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A Resolution Focused on Progressional Growth

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Friday, January 3, 2020
Updated: Friday, January 3, 2020

As we begin the new year, we all contemplate resolutions to improve our personal health or well-being. Every year we promise to lose weight, improve our physical fitness, or simply keep better contact with friends. As we attempt to part the Red Sea of our responsibilities to achieve these goals, in about a month, the impending flood of our professional and familial responsibilities eventually wipes out our hopes for self-improvement.

This year, I challenge you to make a resolution focused on professional growth. As you know, women are substantially underrepresented in leadership positions in the legal profession and are paid less for the same work as men. In order to change these inequities, we need to “lean in” and take steps to improve outcomes for women. Therefore, I challenge you to commit to take your practice to the next level.

To achieve this goal your resolution should be concrete and tailored to your practice. You may wish to grow your book of business, obtain a promotion, open your own practice, or join the bench. The goal need not be achievable in one year; however, you should establish benchmarks that can be achieved throughout the year. For example, you may commit to obtain two potential client referrals each month or serve as second chair on a jury trial.

Next, you should create an action plan by listing the steps you will undertake to achieve those goals. If it is a promotion you seek, then plan how you will develop the skills necessary to apply and find an advocate to champion your achievements. In the private practice, create a plan on how to improve your recognition in your firm and in the community. Brainstorm how to best advocate for yourself. Obtain a leadership position in a local organization. Attend local events and concentrate on creating referral sources. Learn about opportunities to speak at seminars or write an article for a local periodical.

Do not just make a mental pledge to yourself, instead write it down or make a poster board (feel free to be creative). Writing down your professional goal and action plan provides you with a concrete reminder of your commitment to professional growth. It also serves as a tool to measure your progress throughout the year and an opportunity to recommit yourself to the task. By focusing on professional growth, we can begin to change the paradigm. Do you accept the challenge?

 

 

-Article first published in LC News,January 2020

 

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

Tags:  achievement  challenge  community  goals  growth  legal profession  Professional  referral challenge  resolutions 

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It Takes A Village

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, December 12, 2019
Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2019

Our Fund for Justice luncheon is our opportunity to directly support organizations that provide services to women and children in our community. I understand we are all very busy during the holiday season; however, many of you decided to take time to make an impact by joining us at our luncheon. I want to thank all of you. I am happy to announce that this years’ luncheon had the most attendees in the last five years. I also wanted to give special thanks to our Title Sponsor Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP, our Champion of Justice Sponsors Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch LLP and Singleton Law Firm, and our three amazing co-chairs Jennifer Chang, Rebecca Kanter, and Becky Zipp whose hard work made the event a success.

If you were unable to attend the event, you can see the video created to showcase the vital work our grant recipients provide to our community here. For those of you that were unable to donate at the event, please consider making a donation to our fund this holiday season. One hundred percent of your donations support our grant recipients and allow us to continue to make a substantial difference in the lives of women and children within our community. Thank you for you continued support of our Fund for Justice.

 

 

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

Tags:  charitable organizations  charity  community  donate  fund for justice  give  women 

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Make The Ask

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Friday, December 6, 2019
Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2019
As you begin to make plans for the holidays, you should also plan to make your pitch for a raise or promotion. December is the month that many San Diego law firms and organizations make determinations regarding promotions and raises. This is the time to make the ask.

So, how do you make the ask? Be prepared to highlight your accomplishments for the year and your value to the firm. Understand the compensation of similar attorneys in your position or the accomplishments sought for the promotion you seek. Be your best advocate by practicing your pitch.

While it is intimidating to make the ask, it is necessary to chip away at the gender pay gap and increase the number of women in leadership positions in the law. For example, while women are 45 percent of associates, they are only 22.7 percent of partners and 19 percent of equity partners. We can make our best effort to redress these inequalities by stepping up and making the ask.

 

 

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

Tags:  ask  equality  equity  gender equality  gender pay gap  pitch  promotion  raise  women in leadership 

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Grateful

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2019

As many of you know, Lawyers Club is a volunteer organization. Our board members and committee co-chairs devote countless hours to advance our mission. These leaders devote valuable time to our organization despite handling a full-time practice, being the sole source of income for their family, taking care of family members, and undertaking other leadership roles in the community. As I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and give thanks for my many blessings, I would be remiss not to thank our leadership for all that they do.

For their hard work and dedication, I wanted to thank the following board members, committee co-chairs, and liaisons:

Kim Ahrens, Yahairah Aristy, Brigid Campo, Kate Lee Carey, Shannon Finley, Amanda LoCurto, Jinsook Ohta, Tracy Schimelfenig, Maggie Schroedter, Amanda Singer, Megan Walker, Sara Waller, Julie Wolff, Arlene Yang, Mehry Mohseni, Kelly Gemelli, Rebecca Church, Tarina Mand, Jonah Toleno, Kate Kowalewski, Corrie Klekowski, Brenda Lopez, Danna Cotman, Jennifer Rubin, Casey French, Colette Mahon, Suzanne Pollack, Lauren Bushman, Alina Litoshyk, Carla Sanderson, Laura Evans, Jodi Cleesattle, Kristin Beattie, Lizette Herrera, Kate Langmore, Anna Romanskaya, Catherine Asuncion, Shelly Carder, Alex Rodriguez, Elaine Harwell, Kaitlin Preston, Kara Siegel, Kristen Price, Jennifer Chang, Rebecca Kanter, Becky Zipp, Euketa Oliver, Jessica Sizemore, Rose Bowlus, Olga Alvarez, George Brewster, Annie Smiddy, Winnie Weil, Sherry Thompson-Taylor, Jylan Megahed, Mikhak Ghorban, Audrey Surridge, Jacyln Reinhart, Christine Fitzgerald, Annie Margolis, Chris Todd, Debbie Cumba, Kimberly Miller, Bridget Burns, Jennifer Oliver, Renie Leakakos, Richard A. Huever, Kristin Rizzo, Chandra Moore, Justine Phillips, and Ruth Hauswirth.

You have powered our success, and I am thankful to have you on our team. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

 

  

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

 

Tags:  appreciation  gratitude  thank you  vacation 

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Lawyers Club’s Global Reach

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, November 21, 2019

Human trafficking, which includes sexual exploitation and forced labor, is a significant problem in San Diego. According to data from the FBI, San Diego is one of the 13 worst regions in the United States for sex trafficking, an underground industry worth $810 million in San Diego County.

Since 2016, Lawyers Club sponsored a committee, the Human Trafficking Collaborative (“HTC”), to address the pervasiveness of human trafficking in San Diego and collaborate with local organizations to combat human trafficking and rehabilitate survivors. More specifically, HTC engages in (1) issue education, (2) survivor services, (3) advocacy and outreach, and (4) support for non-governmental organizations. For its efforts, HTC was honored by the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations with the prestigious national Public Service Award. In 2018, HTC also received the San Diego Law Library Foundation's Bernard E. Witkin, Esq. Award in the category of Community Change Makers.

The success of HTC has also been internationally recognized. This month, the co-chairs of the HTC, Casey French and Colette Mahon, and I will meet with nine officials from the country of Bahrain. The officials wish to learn more about HTC and the support it provides to survivors and to combat human trafficking. While we are proud of the impact HTC has on our community, we are equally honored for the opportunity to assist in helping women internationally. If you are interested in learning more about the HTC or how to contribute, I encourage you to join our collaborative.

  

Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.

 

 

Tags:  advocacy  changemaker  education  HTC  human trafficking  international  outreach  sex trafficking  survivor 

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more Calendar

2/13/2020
Women of Color Reception-- sign in to register!

2/20/2020
Bench Bar Luncheon-- NEW VENUE! Westin Gaslamp

2/28/2020
COC's Spring Read-In

3/5/2020
2020 Red, White & Brew

3/19/2020
Save the Date! GOOD Guys MCLE and Networking Happy Hour

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