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President's Message - March 2019 - Lawyers Club of San Diego
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Advancement / Feminism

Danna Cotman, Lawyers Club President 2018-2019
In addition to March marking the start of spring, it was named for the Roman God of War. And the birthstones of March, aquamarine and bloodstone, are stones that symbolize courage. You might ask what does this have to do with Lawyers Club’s mission.

March is also Women’s History Month which traces back to the first international women’s day in 1911 and is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Those women and individuals who fought for women’s rights needed courage. And the battle still exists today. For example, other than the right to vote, women do not have equal rights because the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was never ratified. Thankfully, there’s a recent push across the country to ratify the ERA, which organizations such as National Organization of Women (NOW) are fighting to achieve.

In 1972 our founders courageously refused to leave The Grant Grill, breaking down barriers right here in San Diego, paving the way towards equality for others. Since
then, Lawyers Club has consistently been at the forefront of changing the culture so that women can advance in the legal profession and in society. For 25 years, we conducted an annual Equality Survey of public agencies and private firms and reported on the progress of women in the profession. We raise awareness each year with our Equal Pay Day events. Most recently, our Sexual Harassment Task Force, led by Alreen Haeggquist and Jennifer Rubin, has developed toolkits to guide employees and employers on issues such as sexual harassment and achieving pay equity.

Special note: a thank you to our History and Archives team for preserving our Lawyers Club history. If you are a history buff, please reach out and join the history and archives team to help us preserve promote, and celebrate our history.

A recent article in Law360, indicates that in big law, there still exists plenty of room for progress to achieve gender parity. “US law firms are on track to achieve gender parity in partner promotions by 2032, and gender parity within the partner ranks at a time far beyond that.” 34 years from now in 2053. From my perspective, that’s too long.

According to Webster’s Dictionary feminism is “the Theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Wikipedia says – “feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political economic personal and social equality of the sexes. This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.”

We are feminist leaders. We inspire and encourage other feminist leaders and we have the courage to and will press on towards these common goals. As we forge ahead in our demand for equality and take note of our history, how far we’ve come, and where we still need to go, reflect on what you can do on a daily basis to strive toward gender equity. Make a commitment to yourself and each other that you will take small steps each day to do something to advance equality. A few ideas: listen to each other and validate each individual’s perspective; be a champion for a colleague; speak up when someone speaks poorly of another; and change the language, adopt gender neutral words; and mentor each other on how to negotiate a raise or handle a performance review. Schedule a coffee, lunch, or happy hour with a friend and talk about what we can do each day to change the culture to one of inclusivity and equity.

And, remember our male allies. We all need each other to truly change the culture.

Lawyers Club is committed to working to develop solutions to these and other issues and challenges faced by women until such time as these issues no longer exist. To make change we need to be courageous and bold. We must lead by choice and intentionality. As we take such initiatives, and lead with a generosity of spirit, we elevate and empower each other, foster a culture of inclusivity and take small steps toward equality each day. Let this be our history.


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

more Calendar

4/2/2019
Equal Pay Day Luncheon

4/11/2019
Male Allies in Advancing Diversity | a GOOD Guys program

4/25/2019
Save the Date! Take Your Child To Work & Mock Trial

5/9/2019
2019 LC Annual Dinner

Lawyers Club of San Diego

402 West Broadway, Suite 1260
San Diego CA 92101
619-595-0650

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