The Women’s Bar Association has a long history of leadership in the face of change. Founded in 1917, the WBA began as the sole professional forum to admit women lawyers. Since then, WBA women have blazed a trail right through the 20th century and well into the 21st, effecting change along the way.
If our past is any indication, I hold great hope for our future. We all have encountered many challenges and obstacles in recent years. Fortunately for us, from the 1920 passage of the right to vote in to the Family Medical Leave Act, the WBA has considerable expertise in dealing with change.
The WBA exemplifies change leadership.
The WBA builds resiliency to change. Today, change is happening swiftly and in unprecedented ways. The WBA offers programs designed to aid navigating the dramatic changes to law practice and to gain the skills necessary for our members to be change leaders in the workplace.
The WBA promotes positive change. Starkly contrasted from the myriad of environmental changes, opportunities for women’s advancement in the profession have remained constant despite significant increases in the number of experienced women practicing law today. The number of women elevated to key leadership positions in our profession – namely equity partner, general counsel, judgeship and political office – has not kept pace. The WBA will continue its multi-phase Initiative on Advancement and Retention of Women, until we make inroads.
The WBA must also contemplate internal change. With the degree of external changes happening around us, the WBA, like everyone else, must take an introspective look at what we do, why we do it and how we get it done. To ensure the WBA continues to be a vibrant and relevant part of this legal community and a resource to women, it must also be an agent of change from within to increase engagement with members.
As we look ahead, we realize our nearly 100 years of experience offers us the substance and guidance to accomplish a great deal. For nearly a century, WBA women have stood as beacons of leadership, instruments of change in the profession and the embodiment of the ideals of our profession. The WBA calls on all of us to rise to the standards of excellence created by the generations of women before us.
I invite you to join me and the WBA as we chart a course for change, for we must all work together to ensure greater opportunities for the future of women in the legal profession.