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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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We’ve Got You – Financial Steps Through COVID

Posted By Bridget Venus Grimes for The Money Confidante, Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Many of us have more on our plates than ever. In addition to the challenges posed by COVID-19 on our personal lives, there has been much upheaval in the legal world and we’ve been called upon to adjust almost every aspect of how we conduct business. We are going to look at steps you should take now, to make sure you stay on track financially.


For many, income has changed. You may have had your pay cut, your bonus deferred, your promotion put on hold. Here is what you should be doing now if your income has been impacted:

  • Now is the time to use your emergency fund. This should be three months of fixed expenses for dual-income households, and six months of fixed expenses for single-income households.
  • Look at refinancing your debt or consider forbearance. Contact your loan service providers to understand all options. Special consideration is given for student loan debt.
  • Reduce extra savings or debt payments. Try to continue to contribute to your 401k if possible, but cut if you must. If you are paying debt down quicker, now might be the time to pay only what you need to.

This is the time to conserve cash, since no one knows what the next quarter or two might look like financially. You can take these steps to prepare for financial uncertainty:

  • Review your budget. Know where you are spending money and where you can cut expenses. Consider stopping savings for retirement, education, any discretionary goals if you are concerned about money.
  • Consider alternate sources of income. The CARES Act provides for financial relief. This could mean taking distributions from your retirement funds, applying for the Payroll Protection Program, or any number of tax relief options the Act provides for. There is a lot provided for under the Act, so read up on this, or contact us and we’ll share a worksheet we have.
  • Take steps as a business owner to conserve cash. Talk to your bank and negotiate lines of credit, talk to vendors to negotiate payments, and speak to clients to encourage payment quicker. Do a full review of your business budget to look for places to cut expenses.

If your financial life has been disrupted, this is a good time to organize it. I know you don’t need any more to do, but knowing what you have will help you see what needs to be addressed to be financially secure. We suggest these steps to organize your financial life:

  • Know where everything is and what it is worth. If push comes to shove and you need to access cash, know which of your accounts are options here.
  • Make investment moves to stay on track. Now might be the time to rebalance your 401k and investment accounts. Given the volatility in the stock market, make sure your accounts are still on track and in line with your appetite for risk.
  • Protect yourself and your family. Nothing like a pandemic to make sure you have adequate life insurance and up to date estate planning documents.

We wanted to end on a positive note, so we focused last on opportunity. As the saying goes “every cloud has a silver lining.” There is opportunity in disruption. How can you pivot in business? What personal financial opportunities now exist from this pandemic? You may want to explore these opportunities to enhance your financial security:

  • Explore professional opportunities. For attorneys, the fallout from COVID-19 will lead to increased opportunities for employment law, bankruptcy law, family law, securities and corporate law. The CARES Act itself is creating complications on many levels, which will present opportunities created by a more virtual workforce, enforcement of social distancing at businesses, etc. Think of how your business can pivot to address these new needs.
  • How you think about your retirement journey may have just changed depending on your age. Revisit where you are on your retirement journey to make sure your plan is on track, your strategy is aligned with your goals, and your savings is on track.
  • Explore other financial opportunities that have presented themselves, such as Roth conversions especially if your income has dropped. The CARES Act also allows for changes in charitable giving, use of your Flex Spending account, and more. 

The planner in me knows that taking the time to position yourself now to weather this storm can set you up for financial security. Rather than dive in to all the steps, pick the one or two that are most important to you, and focus on those. If you have any questions, please reach out to us. And as always, if there is a particular topic you’d like us to cover, please let us know.

Editor’s Note:
On May 5, 2020, a group of women financial planners held a webinar for Lawyers Club of San Diego members on the most important financial moves to make now, given the financial issues presented by COVID-19. Their goal was to arm attendees with the tools needed to make smart financial moves now, looking at financial security on the other side of this pandemic. If you would like further information, you can contact The Money Confidante, or click here to watch the full one-hour webinar (this post details the webinar highlights, in the order the material was covered in the webinar).

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:  corona  COVID  crisis  finances  financial  financial security  health  income  income money  pandemic  planning  preparation  savings  the money confidante  wealth management 

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Your New President

Posted By Yahairah Aristy: A President’s Perspective, Friday, July 3, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2020

I am honored and humbled to serve as your 2020-2021 Lawyers Club President. Some people have expressed sympathy because my presidency is the year we witness the global COVID-19 pandemic, and worldwide protests for racial and criminal justice reform after the unjustifiable killing of Mr. George Floyd. During this pandemic, we have learned that the only statistic women are not leading on is the death rate. Otherwise, “across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the [negative] impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of sex”. (United Nation: Policy Brief: the Impact of COVID-19 on Women - April 9, 2020)  On May 25, Mr. George Floyd died after a police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while two other police officers knelt on Floyd’s body, and a third police officer stood and watched. None of the officers provided aid to Floyd as he said, “I can’t breathe.” The killing of Floyd has prompted diverse crowds to protest for racial and criminal justice reform. Unfortunately, where we are today with race relations is not a surprise, it is just more people are “woke” than ever before. 

While the pandemic and killing of Floyd have revealed the many inequities of our country, both have also served as a catalyst for inspirational growth. Technology has advanced at lightning speed, racial equity is at the forefront worldwide, and we have learned when it is all stripped away, what matters most is family, friendships, sustenance, and equity. Ah, let us not forget, and toilet paper! 

I have concluded it is no coincidence that my presidency fell in 2020-2021 because my life has  been “no crystal stair” and “I’se been a climbin’on.” (Langston Hughes “Mother to Son” poem) Consequently, I have no doubt that I will strive to do my best to uphold the amazing legacy of our founders and past presidents despite the challenges facing our country today. I look forward to working with our board, staff, co-chairs, and sponsors to ensure we do not miss a step to advance women in the law and society in the upcoming year. 

At the end of my presidency, I hope to look back and say we reflected, reimagined, and reinvented ourselves in the areas of Service, Inclusion, and Advocacy. I am a firm believer that when we focus on Service, Inclusion, and Advocacy we bring out the best in each of us, which can only make our communities better. In a world where chaos seems to be touching our lives closer than we all anticipated in January 2020, we must remember that we, in the legal community, are in a privileged position to survive with greater ease than those who live in poverty and despair. Thus, we are in a unique position to pause and reflect on current events; reimagine how we help others; and reinvent how we fight for equality and reproductive justice.

As for Service, Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Lawyers Club is that small group of thoughtful, committed citizens. As president, I will ensure Lawyers Club is of service to our staff, board, and co-chairs to ensure all are supported and working on committees and projects that feed their passion for Lawyers Club; of service to our members by continuing to provide programming that addresses legal and emotional skills for all types of lawyers and law students; and of service to our sponsors to ensure their commitment to our mission is reflected in all that we do. 

As for Inclusion: Maya Angelou said, “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” As president, I will ensure Lawyers Club continues to promote inclusion by welcoming new faces with warmth and interest in their Lawyers Club journey, meeting face to face with all diversity bars, and other legal organizations to share all Lawyers Club has to offer to help their members excel in their professional goals. 

Lastly, as for Advocacy – Evita Peron said: “I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with.” As president, I will seek to preserve our advocacy voice by continuing to participate in movements that ensure women’s rights move forward towards gender, social, racial, and economic equality. We will amplify our voice by continuing to work with our elected officials to vet and/or promulgate women-centered legislation. We will continue to collaborate with other pro-choice women’s organizations to advocate for reproductive justice.

I hope you join us because it is going to be a remarkable year!


-Article first published in LC News, July/August 2020


Yahairah Aristy is a Deputy Public Defender, and is the 2020-2021 president of Lawyers Club of San Diego.



Tags:  advocacy  Black Lives Matter  COVID  inclusion  legacy  organization  president  programming  racial equity  service 

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The Unsung Women Behind the Declaration of Independence

Posted By Yahairah Aristy: A President’s Perspective, Friday, July 3, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2020

The celebration of Independence Day this year will look different with the wearing of masks and social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. As we celebrate the significance of Independence Day, I invite you to reflect and remember women who stood out at the time for their courage and advocacy for women’s rights.

In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote letters to her husband when he left his family to draft the Declaration of Independence. Some of her letters became the earliest known writings advocating for women’s rights. In March 1776, advocating for women, she wrote:

“And, by the way, in the New Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors ... If particular attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no Voice, or Representation.”

Another woman less known though she supported the rebellion to declare separation from Great Britain is Mary Katherine Goddard. She was the first person to print the official copy of the Declaration of Independence. Her name appears at the bottom of the declaration of independence as observed in the copy held in the Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Continental Congress & Constitutional Convention Broadsides Collection.

We wish you and your family a safe and healthy Independence Day!


Yahairah Aristy is a Deputy Public Defender, and is the 2020-2021 president of Lawyers Club of San Diego.


Tags:  Abigail Adams  COVID  Declaration of Independence  independence  Mary Kathern Goddard  women  women's advocacy 

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Our Annual Dinner

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President’s Perspective, Friday, June 12, 2020
Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2020

As many of you know, Lawyers Club’s Annual Dinner is the largest Lawyers Club event, and a must-attend event for the legal profession.  In the past two years, we welcomed over 800 attendees and this year with Ms. Stacy Abrams as our speaker we expected another exciting and successful event. 

As you know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the dinner had been previously moved from May 14 to July 29, 2020.  However, given the current uncertainty regarding COVID-19, the health and safety of our members, and the directives by our health officials, Lawyers Club has made the difficult decision to cancel the Annual Dinner.

Lawyers Club remains committed to our mission as the issues affecting women in the law and society remain, and in many respects, they have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The theme chosen for this year’s dinner, Driving Change, has been our inspiration during these trying times and pushed us to remain committed to our mission. We continue to serve the needs of our members by providing valuable virtual programming for networking and connecting, joining amicus briefs for important cases, and ensuring that our organization remains inclusive and diverse.

Imperative to our mission of Driving Change has been the support of our sponsors and volunteers.  I would like to thank all of our sponsors, including Casey Gerry, the title sponsor for our Annual Dinner, for their continued partnership in advancing our mission.  I would also like to thank our Annual Dinner co-chairs Kim Ahrens and Amanda Singer and the Annual Dinner Committee for all of their hard work in planning our dinner.  I look forward to seeing you all at our future events.


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


Tags:  annual dinner  co-chairs  COVID  mission  pandemic  programming  sponsors  volunteers 

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Moving Forward

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President’s Perspective, Friday, May 15, 2020
Updated: Thursday, May 14, 2020

Completing our daily obligations can be difficult during these trying times.  By now, you probably have tried many techniques to cope with the stress and anxiety caused by the “new normal” and the seemingly unending uncertainty.  This week, I was reminded that sometimes the best technique to cope and move forward is to look for inspiration from others.  As you continue to tackle your responsibilities and find time to support our mission, I provide the following inspirational quote.  “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can.”  -- Former U.S. Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton.


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


Tags:  COVID  inspiration  mission  responsiblities  stress  uncertainty 

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We Can Do It

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President’s Perspective, Saturday, May 2, 2020
Updated: Friday, May 1, 2020

During this time of crisis, it is important to recognize the many brave women who have sacrificed and risked their lives to help the sick during this pandemic, including the countless doctors, nurses, medical staff, and first responders. We are equally grateful to those women who continue to work at essential businesses, including, but not limited to, grocery store works, janitors, and transportation workers. These women have stepped up for the good of society.

Of course, women have a long history of sacrifice in times of crisis and the struggle to better society. Countless of women participated in the struggle for women’s suffrage. During World War II, millions of women heeded the call of duty by joining the work force, some even served in the military, in positions traditionally reserved for men. The experience of these women and the injustices they suffered helped ignite the women’s movement about a decade later. Again, women were on the front lines of the struggle for social change. Women protested against discrimination, for reproductive rights, and against domestic violence. We have made significant gains over the last 100 years to improve the status of women, but in this time of crisis women are disproportionately affected.

According to the U.N. Secretary General, the pandemic is having a devastating social and economic impact on women and girls. Domestic violence against women has increased during the pandemic; some states have taken the opportunity to attack reproductive rights; women are working at home while still being tasked with caring for the children at home; all while women are paid less than men. Indeed, the coronavirus has highlighted the inequalities still faced by women, sometimes in unexpected ways, for example one developing country
recently provided advice for women on how they can politely ask their husbands to contribute to household duties during the crisis.


Like the women in the generations before, we should embrace the moment to advocate for fair policies for women. This is an especially opportune time to advocate for women-centered policies because many people, who are now sheltering at home, may now empathize with the need for affordable healthcare, affordable childcare services, flexible work schedules, and equal pay. This is our time to be advocates for change and to push for the policies that women need. We can do it. 


-Article first published in LC News, May 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:  childcare  COVID  crisis  domestic violence  essential  healthcare  pandemic  politics  reproductive justice  social change  society  women  women in 

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What Should I Be Doing Now? Money Management During a Pandemic

Posted By Bridget Venus Grimes for The Money Confidante, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

You are no doubt reeling from the recent events attributed to COVID-19. The stress of uncertainty weighs heavy on all of us. Many of you are now faced with the challenges of balancing working from home with caring for children whose schools have closed, travel plans that have been cancelled, the vulnerability of our elderly parents, and more. Life as we know it has changed, for now.

So, we are taking a more somber approach to the topic of money and will answer the question, “What should I do now?” Let’s address some of the biggest financial concerns you have as a result of current events, so you can take action and keep control financially.

But first, I would suggest you take 5 big, deep belly breaths. Be kind to yourself, you’ve got this.

What should I be doing now?

INCOME – If you believe your income will be impacted as a result of events, put some thought to what a conservative income might look like this year. Spend a few minutes penciling out your expenses so you know what you must pay for, versus what you’d like to spend money on. Take a look at every expense, including your contributions to retirement accounts and investment accounts. Ask yourself if you can continue to cover the expenses you have with a decrease in income.

If you believe you will not be able to cover your current living expenses, choose where you can cut. Start with the expenses you truly don’t need – like entertainment, dining out (or take out, as our current option), and online shopping. We each have our weaknesses when it comes to spending, so take a look at yours and pledge to cut. 

This may be a time when you have to dial back your 401k contributions temporarily. I don’t offer this lightly, but in times like this, if it makes the difference between covering costs or not, you may need to either cut back or stop altogether your retirement contributions for now.

Resist the temptation to use credit cards to cover the financial gap. It can be hard to dig out of debt once you have it, and putting living expenses on a credit card is a signal that you truly cannot afford this lifestyle.

If you have an emergency fund, this may be the time to tap into it. If you do not and income is still at a point where you can prepare for a potential decrease in a few months, put aside enough cash to cover at least three months of fixed expenses.

ALTERNATE SOURCES OF INCOME – I’m not talking about another job here, but you may be in a position to refinance your house. Rates are at historical lows, and this can reduce your monthly income by several hundred dollars, which could be used for living expenses.

If you run your own firm, you may have opportunities here in terms of generating different sources of income. I know clients who have added expert witness work to supplement income or considered coaching other attorneys. There is also an opportunity here to cut firm expenses so that more money passes through to the business owner.

RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS – For most of you, your retirement accounts have suffered a marked decline in value. If you have a well-diversified portfolio, and the investments are in line with your goals, our best advice is to stay the course. This is not the time to sell stocks. Resist the temptation to sell your investments and move to cash. We have been here before with the market, and we will recover. If retirement is decades away, try to resist checking on your accounts daily. 

We know that changes in contributions and withdrawals have the greatest impact on success of a financial plan, bigger than if you change around your stock and bond allocation. If now is the time for you to dial back how much you contribute to your 401k because you need the money, tell yourself that as soon as life is back to normal and income has recovered, you will increase the 401k contributions.

There is a lot on everyone’s mind right now, and financial uncertainty can create tremendous stress. Take a few breaths, turn off the news, and get your hands around your current financial situation. There are some actions you can take here to make sure you will be okay now, and in the future.

If you have any questions at all, need feedback, or direction, I am more than willing to spend time talking to any of you who needs a sounding board. 

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:  401k  corona  COVID  crisis  finances  financial planning  health  income  money  pandemic  refinance  savings  the money confidante  wealth management 

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

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