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President's Message - September 2018
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Advocacy & Industry

Danna Cotman, Lawyers Club President 2018-2019
By the time you read this, summer will be over, kids will be back in school, and I hope that you all had time to rest, relax and rejuvenate!

For September our focus is twofold: First - Advocacy. Second – Industry.

On the advocacy front, on August 3 I had the privilege to attend the National Conference of Women’s Bar Association’s (NCWBA) 2018 Women’s Bar Leadership Summit: Sparking a “Change” Reaction, where Lawyers Club was recognized with a special 2018 Special Advocacy Award for our 2017 “Solutions Summit: Eliminating Sexual Harassment, Sexism & Bullying in the Workplace” spearheaded by past LC president Jamie Quient and Elena Dalcourt, along with last year’s Equality & Action Committee co-chairs, Vaani Chawla and Kate Lee Carey. Congratulations to Lawyers Club and to all those who helped make the summit a success, and a special thank you to the Awards Committee for submitting the particulars for the award on our behalf!

Teresa Beck, past Lawyers Club vice president and director, and currently NCWBA’s vice president, Finance, facilitated a “Good Guys” program, and was featured at an ABA reception highlighting her book, HerStory: Lessons in Success From Lawyers Who Live It. We then watched "Dream, Girl" and had an invigorating discussion led by Chicago-Kent College of Law Professor Felice Batlan. The NCWBA summit highlighted a dynamic group of absolutely fantastic female movers and shakers. I feel supported in our efforts and encouraged by what women across the country and around the world are doing to engage with each other, with our male supporters, and to promote inclusivity. There is much synergy around the global #TimesUp movement and leaders are motivated to effectuate change.

The NCWBA Summit was inspiring and energizing, and I left feeling empowered with a list of things to tackle – so prepare yourselves – we have work to do!

On the industry front, the Lawyers Club Board and co-chairs are already hard at work and I am proud of their initiative.

On September 20, the Reproductive Justice Committee will explore recent Supreme Court decisions that impact reproductive justice and how such decisions may be affected after the Supreme Court vacancy is filled. I feel compelled now more than ever to take action, and I implore you to be industrious in protecting our rights as women. Now is the moment when everything can change. We must use our voices to Demand Equality and to protect the progress we have made thus far.

Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life and they decide key legal rights and principles that are critically important for women and their families. The judges appointed to our federal courts will shape women’s legal rights far into the future. It is critical that judges are diverse, independent, fair-minded and understand the intent of the law and its real impact on women’s lives. Ultimately, it’s up to the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution and laws that affect the legal rights of women. These nine Justices consider cases that will impact generations to come and their importance can’t be overstated.

From establishing the right to full reproductive health care, to protecting students from sexual harassment in school, our nation’s courts have played a key role in ensuring equality and opportunity for women and families. The confirmation of the next Supreme Court Justice is likely to heavily shift the balance of the Court regarding women’s constitutional rights, women’s workplace rights, students’ rights in schools, the individual right of all people to make personal decisions about their bodies and relationships, including the right to use contraception and to have an abortion.

I implore you to help educate the non-legal community on the importance and likely impact of this nomination. Have honest discussions and let people know what’s at stake. Take action. Engage. Effectuate change. Demand that the process be followed and that the Senate fully vet the candidates which includes document review and a full screening and analysis of any potential appointment.

Immediate past president Olga Álvarez’s goal to change the paradigm - one person at a time - is relevant here! Every state matters. Our voices matter. Take the time to learn more about the nominee’s record. Spread the word about what’s at stake: do your homework, educate yourself, share and discuss with others to ensure that the senate conducts a full exercise of its oversight duties and does not cut any corners. Commit to being a champion and demand that our next Supreme Court Justice supports our mission which includes equality and inclusivity!


Danna Cotman is founder of the female-owned intellectual property boutique law firm ARC IP LAW, PC and president of Lawyers Club.

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