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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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Vote

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Friday, March 27, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2020

It is the time of year when we ask our members to vote for our new cohort of Lawyers Club board members.  Our board members are the backbone of the organization who ensure that engaging and valuable programming fulfills our mission and values.  I have found serving on the board as an especially rewarding experience. Our board members are talented women who devote countless hours of their time and inspire others to continue to carry the torch of the fight for equality.

I have no doubt that our current candidates for the board are equally accomplished and will be just as engaged. The candidates offer a wide array of experiences that will add to the strengths of our current board.  We are grateful that such an impressive group has agreed to continue to run during these difficult times.  Given the time and energy expended by these wonderful women, I encourage everyone to take time to learn about each of the candidates who will electronically circulate their credentials for your consideration.  Our elections open on April 1 and will close at 5:00 pm on May 1, 2020, and can be completed by mail or electronically.  Please make sure to VOTE!

 

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

 

Tags:  board  election  leadership  mission  women 

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Fostering Leadership

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, March 19, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020

With the turmoil caused by the coronavirus, I wanted to reassure our members that Lawyers Club is looking for ways to pursue our mission during these difficult times.  This is especially important for our future members still in law school.  As you can imagine with the significant disruptions to business and the market, the immediate future for law students may be especially difficult.  Given the importance of increasing the pipeline of women attorneys in our community, providing mentorship and networking opportunities to local law students is imperative.  While Lawyers Club normally provides a Speed Mentoring event each year for local law students, this year’s event will not be cancelled but modified.

On March 25, 2020, our Law Student Outreach Committee is hosting a two-part event titled “Mastering Mentorship.”  The first part, titled “Virtual Mentoring” will consist of an interactive webinar that students can attend virtually to learn about tips and strategies on the value of mentoring. Students will also be paired with one or more mentors, so that meetings can occur via telephone or video conference.  Later in the year, Lawyers Club will host an in-person mixer for mentors and mentees.  I would like to thank our Law Student Outreach Committee co-chairs, Audrey Surridge, Jaclyn Reinhart, and Christine Fitzgerald, for their innovation in creating this program on short notice.

I invite all of our members to participate to provide valuable advice to our local law students.  If you are interested in volunteering, CLICK HERE.  I also encourage everyone to stay safe during these difficult times and remember that now is the time to get innovative.

 

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

 

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Women's Rights are Human Rights

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Friday, March 13, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2020
While Lawyers Club’s International Women’s Day luncheon was postponed, we can still acknowledge the importance of International Women’s Day by recognizing the struggles of women outside our country.  Women in Mexico marked International Women’s Day by joining in a nationwide protest and strike against the extraordinary level of violence perpetrated against women. 

In Mexico, an average of ten women are killed every day.  This national feminist movement was meant to bring attention to long ignored issues of gender-based violence that has become commonplace in Mexico.  The women seek to not only reduce violence against women but also broader gender equality, including reproductive rights and equal pay.  

The struggle in Mexico mirrors the struggle women face here the United States.  Notably, the march and strike are said to partly be inspired by the #MeToo movement.  Photos of the protest also echo the images of millions of marchers who participated in recent women’s marches in the United States.

While women’s rights are human rights, those rights continue to be abused and ignored in our own community. One in four women in the U.S. have been the victims of domestic violence.  In 2018, 17,513 domestic violence incidents were reported in San Diego County with 15 incidents resulting homicide.  Besides domestic violence, women also face discrimination, harassment, unequal pay, and a loss of reproductive rights.  As we lend support to women everywhere, you can take further action by joining our Women’s Advocacy Committee that advocates for laws supporting women’s rights. 
 

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

 

Tags:  feminism  gender  gender equality  international womens day  mexico  protest  womens advocacy committee  womens rights 

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Women’s Suffrage For My 10-Year Old

Posted By Guest Blogger Mikhak Ghorban, Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Later this year, the United States will mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. To celebrate this historical moment, I thought to share the importance of the event with my daughter. But explaining how long and how hard women fought for the right to vote to a 10-year-old girl is a little challenging. How am I to introduce her to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton without her rolling her eyes and losing interest? 

 

So, I thought I would first consider what women’s voting rights means to me before I share it with my daughter. I was born in Iran and spent my early years living in the capital of Tehran. I spent my school years in the US. I attended law school in the US; I practice law in the US; I became a mother in the US. However, my first introduction to voting and women’s rights came from hearing my mom and aunt talking about voting in Iran in 1979.


Iranian women were granted the right to vote in 1963, but their rights have been restricted since the Islamic Revolution. In late March of 1979, there was a referendum on creating an Islamic Republic. This single issue was determined by either casting a vote with a red card for no or a green card for yes. There was no registration; no voting booth for privacy; no way to maintain voting security; and certainly no anonymity for the voter's vote when she is using colored ballot card in front of the ballot box. Because of the lack of privacy, security, and anonymity, citizens were frightened to be seen voting against theocracy. They were risking verbal and possible physical attacks from the election monitors who were pro-Islamic. Even with the potential of retribution, my mother and aunt, two Iranian women in their 40s, exercised their right to vote for the first time in their lives, and voted against a regime change in their country.


With that memory, I set to explain to my daughter what other women around the world face -- how they are not permitted to voice their concerns. I explained how lucky she is to have the freedom to vote as millions of people, women especially, who do not have such rights to freely vote for what they want.


I’m thankful to my mother for having the courage to exercise her right to vote in the presence of potential harm, and to my dad who supported her choice. I am thankful that my daughter, Klara, never knew how she and her brother could have been subject to such restricted rights of Iran.


I tell her that if she truly cares about her world, then she has to go out there and vote. Every election, I take my children to my local polling station so they can watch me vote and to get “I voted” stickers! I want my children by my side as I exercise my right to vote. Growing up in a country where women don’t have equal rights motivates me to make sure my daughter never takes her civil liberties for granted.

 


Editor’s Note:
The 19th Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” To learn more about the Amendment and centennial commemorations, please visit http://www.2020centennial.org/learn. 107 years ago, on March 3, 1913, the “Woman Suffrage Procession” took place in Washington, D.C., giving the suffrage movement a new wave of inspiration and purpose.


Mikhak Ghorban practices family and immigration law at Ashtari & Ghorban, LLP and is the 2019–2020 cochair of the Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Membership Committee.

 

 

 

 

Tags:  19th Amendment Centennial  civil liberties  civil rights  constitutional amendment  Iran  Islamic Republic  Islamic Revolution  polling  polling booth  polling place  suffrage  suffragettes  theocragy  voting  women’s suffrage 

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Take Action

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Monday, March 2, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 2, 2020

We recognize Equal Pay Day, the date that women must work after the end of the previous year to achieve the same pay as men, on March 31. In other words, women must work an additional 90 days before they achieve the same pay for the same work as men. While the U.S. women’s soccer team has recently brought equal pay to the forefront of public discourse, disparate compensation affects all women, including women in the legal profession.

The gender pay gap is persistent and harmful to women’s economic security. The pay gap translates into women receiving only $0.82 for every $1.00 received in compensation by men. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, that pay gap between women and men is projected to last until 2059 at the current rate of reduction. As a further illustration of the current trend, when my daughter turns 65 (she is six months old), it is projected that 11 states will still have a pay gap. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color: Black women receive 62% less than men; and Latinas receive 54% less than men.

While studies have shown that the pay gap is partly caused by structural differences in careers for men and women (i.e. 40% of women work in “pink collar” jobs), much of the pay gap is attributable to unconscious and explicit discrimination in pay, hiring, or promotions. For example, while women have made significant strides in careers once dominated by men over the last twenty years, there has been no material change in the wage gap. Not only does lower pay mean that women are less able to support their families than men, but studies have shown that equal pay would cut poverty among working women by more than 50% and add about $513 billion to the economy.

Similar pay gaps exist in the legal profession. Studies have shown that female attorneys are paid less no matter how many hours they work. Men and women with children are also treated differently. Men with children are more likely than women to receive raises and promotions. Studies also show that women with children face a “motherhood penalty” and are seen as unreliable, while men with children are perceived as reliable and stable.

How do we eliminate the pay gap and avoid waiting another sixty years? Women need to attain the positions within their own firms or organizations to make decisions regarding pay and advocate for women friendly policies. Now is the time to take action and eliminate the pay gap.

 

 

-Article first published in LC News, March 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:  compensation  equal pay  equal pay day  legal profession  pay equity 

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Where Does It All Go?

Posted By Bridget Venus Grimes for The Money Confidante, Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

This month marks the first installment of The Money Confidante, a new series on money for women attorneys. Over the coming months, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about money but didn’t want to ask (at least not in public).


Money is a topic that brings up anxiety, fear, shame, and a host of other emotions and my goal will be to reduce those feelings, and to give you the information and the tools you need to make smart financial choices so you can live the life you want.


I’m going to put this out there: Everyone you know is NOT better off financially than you, and does NOT have their financial house in order, regardless of how they may seem. I have dug into the numbers for many women professionals and can tell you that having a fancy car or a big house doesn’t mean someone is financially on track. I am going to focus on what YOU need to do, so that you are on track to where you want to be financially.

 

To kick this off, I’m going to start with one of the biggest financial issues that derails women attorneys from financial security –spending.


Where does it all go???


Do you know where your money is going? Do you know how much you spend monthly and on what? Is there money left over to save for important goals you have?


If you answered NO to these questions, you are not alone.


Not knowing where your money is going is the number one derailer for women professionals, and an especially big issue for women attorneys. There are two reasons for this: First, many attorneys get paid irregularly, but have very regular expenses that must be paid, like mortgages and estimated taxes. And second, many women attorneys tend to spend a good portion of what they earn. This may bring a short term sense of happiness, but it doesn’t get you any closer to reaching financial goals you might have.


By not knowing where your money is going, you may feel caught in “golden handcuffs,” where the increasing cost of your lifestyle keeps you in a position you may no longer enjoy, or just plain results in not being able to find the money to put toward more meaningful goals.


If this is one of your challenges, here are a few different solutions to try:


1. Track your spending. If you know where your money is going, you can choose to have it go elsewhere. Find a tool you like to track your expenses for a few months so you can see the trends in your spending. A couple apps to consider are Tiller Money, and You Need a Budget.

2. Use different accounts for your fixed and discretionary expenses. Fixed expenses are bills you need to pay monthly for basic living like your mortgage, and they are fairly consistent. Discretionary expenses are those you want but don’t need. Segregate these expenses into separate bank accounts so you can stay on top of your spending. Check in on the accounts once or twice a week to know where you are.


3. Pay yourself a consistent monthly income. This is especially helpful for solo attorneys and partners who are not paid on a regular basis. When you receive payment quarterly, or sporadically, keep it in a high interest bearing savings account. If you know your monthly costs of living, (because you’ve tracked it and know what you need for fixed expenses), you can “pay” yourself from your savings account just enough to cover that monthly amount in the bank accounts you use for spending. I suggest “paying” yourself twice a month to help with budgeting. Keep the pay consistent, and it will help you to keep spending consistent.

4. Set up auto transfers for any savings you want. Look at your discretionary budget, decide what you are willing to carve out each pay period for your goals, and then set up an auto transfer to a savings account for that goal for each time you are paid. You will be amazed at how quickly you can save for your goals when you are intentional about saving.


By knowing where your money goes, you can choose to spend it where it matters most to you. Just a little time spent here can make your life richer.


Let me know if these tips were helpful for you, and what topics you want to hear about!

Bridget Venus Grimes is President of the financial life planning firm WealthChoice, and is passionate about helping women attorneys make smart financial choices and live the life they want.

 

 

 

Tags:  finances  financial planning  income  money  savings  the money confidante  wealth management 

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Celebrate Black History Month

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, February 20, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2020

February marks the beginning of Black History Month, which provides an opportunity to create awareness of some of the inequalities that black women face in the workforce.  For example, black women earn only 65% of the wages earned by men and they will not achieve pay equity until August 13, 2020. In addition, black associates in the legal profession have been declining every year since 2009, and women of color are more likely to leave the practice of law than other women.  This data serves as a reminder of the importance for Lawyers Club to advocate for improving the outcomes for women of color in the legal field. 

Black History Month is also a time to recognize the achievements of local trailblazers.  As president of Lawyers Club, I am proud to recognize some of our members who have been trailblazers and helped pave the way for other women of color to follow.  Hon. Elizabeth Riggs was the first black female judge in San Diego; Regina Petty, partner at Fisher Phillips, was the first black woman to be elected president of the San Diego County Bar Association elected in 1994; and Beatrice Kemp was the first black woman to be elected president of Lawyers Club in 1979.  
 
I am also honored that this years’ annual dinner speaker will be former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who has served as an inspiration to us all.  Abrams is the first black female major party gubernatorial nominee and a strident advocate for voting rights.  As we celebrate Black History Month, we must continue to advocate for the advancement of all women.  

 

 

-Article first published in LC Weekly, February 20, 2020

 

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

 

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An Opportunity to Meet our Judiciary

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, February 13, 2020

San Diego is fortunate to have a judiciary that is active in the legal community and bar associations. Lawyers Club is especially fortunate to count so many members of the judiciary as strong supporters of Lawyers Club and our mission. We are proud to host the annual Bench-Bar Luncheon on February 20, 2020. This event provides an excellent opportunity for our members to interact with our judges. I especially encourage our younger members who may have little experience in the courtroom to introduce yourselves to our approachable and respected members of the bench.

We are also very excited that our annual Bench-Bar Luncheon will include the following speakers: our Superior Court Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne, only the third women to serve in that role and the Hon. Judith McConnell, the Administrative Presiding Justice of the Fourth Appellate District and the first women to serve as presiding judge. Justice McConnell is also a Lawyers Club founding mother. Join us for an engaging conversation with our local judges and experience why the best city to practice in is San Diego.

 

-Article first published in LC Weekly, February 13, 2020

 

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

 

 

 

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Critical Educational Needs for Central Elementary Students

Posted By Stacy Roby for Lawyers Club's Community Outreach Committee, Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Education has become reliant on technology and this can be expensive, especially for economically disadvantaged schools such as Central Elementary in City Heights. The twice-yearly Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Read-In is a powerful way for Lawyers Club members to share their career journey and act as role models. Read-In volunteers strive to inspire students and to instill the belief that with focus and determination, they can succeed in achieving a professional career of their choice.

Public funding in education is lacking and the current critical need for Central Elementary classrooms is headphones for every student. Computers, iPads, and Chromebooks are used daily for learning programs, research, and assessment testing which provides data on students’ academic progress. With this knowledge, teachers can provide instruction to improve areas of weakness and enhance students’ strengths.

In 2020, Central Elementary needs 600 sets of headphones (specifically, Califone 3068AV Switchable Stereo/Mono headphones). For less than the cost of two Starbucks drinks, you can donate one headphone set. If you have a group of people wanting to help the needs of the students, the cost is less. Even if you are unable to attend the Read-In on February 28, 2020, please consider donating to help this underserved student population (donate here).

As an affiliate member of Lawyers Club of San Diego with eleven years as an educator, I have a first-hand understanding of the impacts caused by lack of educational funding, and of the desperate need for the educational tools that assist teachers in providing stimulating instruction. My philosophy is and has always been, “Education is the Key to Freedom.” Your donation will help level the educational playing field for these children.

Stacy Roby co-owns The Roby Company Real Estate Brokerage specializing in property valuation, disposition, and estate sales throughout San Diego County, and wrote this for the Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Community Outreach Committee.

 

 

 

 

Tags:  Central Elementary  Community Outreach Committee  donations  education  equipment  freedom  headphones  read-in 

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Breaking Bread with Judge Vallera Johnson

Posted By Valerie Garcia Hong for Lawyers Club's Diverse Women's Committee, Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

 

It was a crisp Sunday afternoon in Coronado. Everyone was dressed in their “Sunday best” like we’d just sang “Hallelujah” hours earlier. Only, it wasn’t church. It was one of the first Women of Color in Law lunches.

As a new lawyer who had recently moved from Chicago to San Diego, I did not have a community of colleagues, friends, or mentors early on in my career. I was “winging it.” I attended one of these lunches hoping to meet someone who could guide me. That afternoon, I sat down next to a woman with a warm smile and contagious energy. Over bread (because all good discussions start with bread), I later learned that the woman seated next to me was Judge Vallera Johnson, one of the founders of Women of Color in Law. Judge Johnson, along with Judge Lillian Lim, began to organize informal lunches where law students and lawyers could get together to share their stories navigating a legal career in San Diego.

Five years after that Sunday afternoon, Judge Johnson invited me to join the Board of Directors for Women of Color in Law. I was a mother of two young girls under the age of 4 and a young partner at a law firm balancing business development and lawyering. Judge Johnson asked me to join a panel with Judge Tamila Ipema, Stacie East, Sabina Clorfeine, and Katy Goshtasbi to talk about Sheryl Sandburg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. I told Judge Johnson that I could barely manage a shower that morning and did not know if I was the right person to talk about “leaning in.” Judge Johnson told me that this was exactly why I was the right person to join the panel. Reflecting on her own life as a working mother, Judge Johnson gave me the permission (or authority that I assume only a judge can offer) to pause, tap out, and lean in when I was ready. This is the kind of experience and reflection that I value in my friendship and mentorship with Judge Johnson.

It is no surprise that the Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Diverse Women Committee will be honoring Judge Johnson with a reception on February 13, 2020register here. Judge Johnson has been an Administrative Law Judge with the State of California’s Office for Administrative Hearings since 1990. She’s been recognized for her commitment to diversity from several organizations including the California Lawyers Association and Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association. Throughout her career, Judge Johnson has been instrumental in diversifying the bench and developing a pipeline of qualified candidates.

Women of Color in Law has been “breaking bread” in larger luncheons and smaller intimate meetups with law students and lawyers for over a decade. California Judicial Appointments Secretary, Justice Martin J. Jenkins, will discuss the process of judicial appointments with Governor Newsom at Women of Color in Law’s “Find Your Seat on the Bench” lunch on February 16, 2020register here.

Valerie Garcia Hong is the Founder of Garcia Hong Law, is always willing to break bread and share stories, and wrote this for Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Diverse Women’s Committee.

 

 

 

 

Tags:  advancement  attrition  bias  diverse  diversity  Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association  Governor Newsom  implicit bias  inclusion  judicial appointment  lean in  Martin J. Jenkins  mentors  mentorship  minority  retention  Sheryl Sandberg  Women of Color in Law 

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more Calendar

6/17/2020
Register Now!-- Cybersecurity during COVID-19 CLE with Ankura Consulting Group

6/30/2020
General Counsel Luncheon: now Virtual!

7/29/2020
Lawyers Club Annual Dinner: Driving Change

11/19/2020
Equal Pay Day Luncheon--Rescheduled to November 19, 2020

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