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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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Advocating for Women of Color

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, January 30, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

 

As many of you know, women of color face many obstacles in the legal profession. Studies have shown that the combination, or intersectionality, of race and gender has a particularly devastating effect on the professional lives of women of color. For example, Black women only earn 65% of wages earned by men and Latinas 62%. Women of color are also much more likely to leave the private practice or the legal profession entirely. While the Judicial Council of California does not identify demographics for judges based on a combination of gender and race, its annual judicial survey has shown that Asians comprise of 7.8%, Blacks comprise of 7.5%, and Latinos comprise 10.8% of superior court judges.

In order for women of color to succeed in the legal profession they need advocates that will address the barriers to success. The San Diego community is fortunate to have the Hon. Vallera Johnson, who has been an advocate of women of color for decades. Judge Johnson is this year’s keynote speaker for the Women of Color Reception, which is scheduled for February 13, 2020 at Procopio. We hope you will join us and be inspired by sage advice and good company

 

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  gender  gender pay gap  intersectionality  race  representation  women of color 

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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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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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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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Thank You

Posted By Elvira Cortez: A President's Perspective, Thursday, October 17, 2019

This year Lawyers Club celebrates its 47th anniversary of advancing the status of women in the law and society through advocacy and activism. Since its establishment, Lawyers Club has received numerous awards and accolades for its informative programming and advocacy for policies to advance the status of women. Our charitable arm, the Lawyers Club Fund for Justice, has awarded more than $400,000 to 45 organizations since its inception in 1997. Lawyers Club has also put on engaging dinner programs, featuring distinguished speakers, such as former Attorney General and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.), U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, Professor Anita Hill, and former United States Attorney General Hon. Loretta Lynch. Lawyers Club could not have achieved all of its success without the generous support of its sponsors. On behalf of Lawyers Club, I would like to THANK our sponsors for their support and commitment to advancing our mission. We are excited to have recently released our new sponsorship booklet. I encourage our sponsors, and anyone interesting in becoming a sponsor, to review the booklet to learn of our sponsorship opportunitiesand reach out to Tracy Schimelfenig with questions.

 

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

 

  

Tags:  activism  advocacy  gratitude  legal profession  sponsorship  success  support 

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March Together!

Posted By Guest Blogger Vaani Chawla, Thursday, January 17, 2019
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2019


I remember January 21, 2017, like it was yesterday. It was an emotional day. The new president had been sworn in just the day before. I was in a fog of confusion. I was depressed and disappointed in the results of the election. But a part of me hung on to hope, thinking I could be wrong in my assessment of an administration that was just about to begin. I hoped that the new administration would be different from what was advertised—more respectful of women and other diverse groups in America. Maybe it was just a tactic the new president had used just to get elected? But I wasn’t sure.


I felt compelled to attend the Women’s March in 2017. I drove downtown to the San Diego Civic Center with my supportive husband and my little spaniel dressed in a bright pink jacket. We walked to the center and found a throng of people. There were women wearing pink hats and pink scarves. They brought their children, some of them sitting in Radio Flyer-type wagons and strollers. Their partners and significant others were with them. They held signs with slogans supporting women, immigrants, and other groups.
We stood shoulder to shoulder with one another, strangers in a crowd, but the mood was palpable. I watched a woman who had brought her two sons, about 3 and 5 years of age, and her husband with her. She stood listening to the speakers while her 3-year old played in a planter. The speakers were moving. Tears streamed down the woman’s cheeks as she stroked the hair of her 5 year-old. I felt it too.


Then finally, we began to move forward. We began to march. It felt like the emotional pressure of the moment was finally released. The crowd chanted slogans, and we began to smile. The mood had changed. We were now feeling stronger, like a cloud had been lifted. A comradery had developed among us even though we didn’t know each other.


That is what it was like for me and my family to attend the march in 2017. Imagine how much more wonderful the experience would have been if I had attended with my Lawyers Club sisters and brothers.


In a few days, we have the opportunity to do this together. We can shake off the daily onslaught of negative news, join forces, and stand up for the advancement of women. We can carry signs, chant slogans, and clearly demand equality.

The third annual Women’s March is this coming Saturday, January 19, 2019. The program starts at 10:00 a.m. with a blessing and performances. At 11:00 a.m., speeches will be delivered by inspiring leaders, and at noon, we march! Join your Lawyers Club sisters, brothers, and families at the steps of the County Administration Building, facing Pacific Highway, at 11:30 a.m. The building is located at 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101. Together, we will bring #TruthToPower!


Vaani Chawla is co-chair of Lawyers Club’s Equality and Action Committee, current President of the South Asian Bar Association, founder of Chawla Law Group, APC, and provides legal representation to families and businesses in immigration matters.

 

 

Tags:  activism  advance women  Advocacy  demand equality  equality  equality&action  feminism  feminist  First amendment  now more than ever  social media  speech  united  vote  women’s advocacy  women's march 

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Guest Blog: Women's Voices

Posted By Diana Rabbani, Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Women’s Voices

What was once a silenced and nearly invisible mass of people is now rapidly scaling the walls that kept them hidden away: Women.

Even after women received the right to vote in 1920, they faced an uphill battle trying to make their voices heard. But in recent years, women have created space for themselves and have become much more active participants in the political arena—calling attention to women’s issues and general political issues of interest.

Women are advocating more than ever. They are taking it to the streets; they are taking it to Congress, to local movements, and to social media. The premiere example of all these efforts was the Women’s March, held the day after the 2017 presidential inauguration. Women all over the world used social media to plan what turned out to be one of the largest single-day protests in U.S. history. Not only did women attend the flagship march in Washington, D.C., but the march also turned global. Women used this march to advocate for causes such as human rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, religious freedom, environmental awareness, LGBTQ rights, and racial equality. The prowess behind January’s Women’s March arguably inspired protests and marches that occurred afterwards such as “A Day Without a Woman” and the “March for Science.”

Social media has been a huge factor in bringing women from all over the world together to stand up for causes in which they believe. It creates a common platform for women to plan events, hear from other women, and publically broadcast their views on certain topics. For better or worse, social media allows a person to let the world in on their thoughts the moment they occur.

Female attorneys already have the advantage of being trained in the law and knowing the steps that must be taken to turn a mere hope into law. Therefore, it benefits the goal of women’s advocacy for female attorneys to use social media to express their thoughts and hear from each other to learn about the issues that are collectively important to women. Social media can then be used to plan events, such as the widespread Women’s March. Planned events need not be at such a grand scale in order to be effective. Arguably one of the most effective methods of advocacy would be for women to get together and reach out to local political officials to have their interests represented.

In the age of social media, which connects a person to the world with just few clicks of a smart phone, women are using this method to band together and speak. It is of utmost importance that women continue to advocate and use their voices to raise awareness and fight for important causes. Not even 100 years ago, women’s voices were all but silent. It is time to speak. It is time to advocate. 
   

Diana Rabbani graduated from Notre Dame Law School in May 2017 and is currently a post-bar clerk at the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. 

Tags:  Advocacy  LCB  social media  speech  vote  women’s advocacy 

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Guest Blog: "Consider the numbers, but let the stories move you"

Posted By Angelica Sciencio, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I have always strolled peacefully at the intersection of white and black, foreign and homegrown, poor and prosperous. I have heard about many injustices but experienced few.  So like you, I usually scroll through my news feed glancing over lives lost, vocalized racism, masked xenophobia and just plain bigotry. I usually feel sad but somewhat detached from that reality, so I shrug and move on to the puppy videos. But not today.

Today, I cried. I saw the video of Philando Castile bleeding in front of his girlfriend, a child, a cop, and a camera phone. I read about the protests, police officers getting shot and I felt extreme sadness. But what took me over the edge to tears were the excusatory comments from my “friended”, the news headlines, the opportunistic political advances and above all, my own inaction.

I thought about posting #blacklivesmatter on my feed, but I wondered if people would think I was playing victim. You see, I am a foreign-born-woman-of-mixed-race.  My black father was a policeman, who was murdered by a white guy.

Despite that drama, I have always lived in this perpetual middle of the road that has shielded me from extremes. I am black enough to have been made fun of for my hair and to prevent closet-racist friends from using slurs in my presence, but not too black to be stopped and frisked for no reason, to be thrown in jail for minor violations or to be shot in my car. I am foreign enough to have worked long hours at various undesirable jobs for minimum wage and will probably forever mess up my prepositions, but I am not too foreign to make people anxious when I board a plane or to be called a terrorist because of the way I dress or the language I speak. I am poor enough to get my yoga classes on Groupon and to buy dog food on sale, but not too poor to be chastised for using government assistance to feed myself and my family.  I am womanly enough to have been called “doll” and “love” by former male bosses, to have been told to smile more times then I can count, but not a woman who was prevented from getting an education and trying to succeed in a male-dominated profession. And thank heavens I am straight for that I have always been allowed to love and marry (and subsequently divorce) whoever I damned pleased. Don’t get me wrong: it hasn’t been easy, but it has been possible.

My point is: I am part of pretty much every minority group out there, and I don’t even understand what they go through. But I try. When (sometimes unwillingly) I enter into discrimination discussions with more privileged, sheltered friends, I feel the need to formulate arguments based on statistics, logical reasoning and contradictions by the other side. But maybe we shouldn’t have to bring up the numbers to convince. Perhaps, we should just listen and give the other side the benefit of the doubt. 

If you have been blessed with opportunities to succeed, and are tempted to believe that everyone in the world has had the same, do yourself a favor lest you sound like a fool: consider the historical oppression of certain people, the widespread institutional discrimination of certain groups and most importantly, listen to the stories. Then, concoct and implement your own moral affirmative action: give those who have traditionally had less (money, opportunities, freedom, respect, rights) just a little extra love and support.  If we shoot for equity, not equality, we might not need hashtags to shine a light on systemic racism and other inequities. For now, however, #blacklivesmatter, #equalpay, #reproductiverights, #stopbullying, #loveislove. 


This post was authored by Angelica Sciencio, an Immigration Attorney at Law Office of Angelica Sciencio and co-chair of the Diverse Women’s Committee. 

 

Tags:  advocacy  discrimination  diverse women's committee  diversity  guest blogger  LCB  race  social media 

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more Calendar

2/20/2020
Bench Bar Luncheon-- SOLD OUT--call for waitlist options

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

3/5/2020
2020 Red, White & Brew

3/13/2020
International Women's Day Luncheon

3/19/2020
GOOD Guys MCLE and Networking Happy Hour

5/14/2020
Save the Date! Lawyers Club Annual Dinner: Tickets go on sale 2/20/2020!

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