Generous Women Lawyers Supporting Their Sisters-In-Law

This is the last blog in a three-part series based on the World Forum for Women in the Law program produced by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and offered virtually at the end of January 2021. It was an invaluable listening experience for young women attorneys and law students, and, for the last few weeks, I have been using this blog to bring some highlights of that conference to you. I appreciate how busy you are, and I do not want you to miss out on the information and advice.

Today’s topic is especially important to me. The subject matter of women lawyers supporting other women lawyers came up during an interview with Judy Perry Martinez, past president of the American Bar Association, and her remarks echoed my own in my books, articles and addresses. Ms. Martinez’s comments centered on the generous women who supported her and how women should use their power to allow others to grow — in contrast to hoarding power and focusing on the shortcomings of others to gain personal advantage.

It is the common concept of sharing resources and paying it forward that we hear so much about and which is fundamental to the rise of women in the law profession. The emphasis of Ms. Martinez’s remarks was on the ability of women leaders to build confidence in others, let them know that they are supported, and help them achieve all that they can be.

This discussion was followed by an interview with the Honorable Tammy Duckworth, US Congresswoman. The emphasis of her remarks centered on women believing that they are entitled to power and wielding power responsibly, compassionately and ethically. As a former soldier, Ms. Duckworth uniquely understands the importance of rank having privileges as well as responsibilities. Those responsibilities include straight talk, integrity, inclusiveness, effective tone and having the courage of your convictions.

The congresswoman underscored the importance of being good to everyone on your team because you never know who will step forward with a skill that you need.

These women have walked the walk as well as talked the talk, and I hope that this conference will become an annual event. There was so much to learn from seasoned women lawyers like these, and those of us in the audience were privileged to have the opportunity to hear them candidly share their remarks and advice.

Please join the event next year. You will be happy that you did.

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