From the President
Welcome to a new year with the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association. As the new year gets underway, I want to take a minute to thank Elizabeth Hanes and the 2017-2018 board members who made this past year such a success. You set the bar high. Thank you for your hard work!
As the transition has approached, people have asked me: What’s your theme going to be? What are your goals for the year? My answer is that I want to accomplish two things: one is to leave the MRWBA in as good a condition as I have found it. I plan to continue the excellent programming we’ve enjoyed recently by adding more CLE opportunities to our luncheon programs to add value to your membership. I also hope to conduct a strategic plan much like the one spearheaded several years ago by Colleen Quinn so we can take a look at the things we’re doing, whether we’re meeting the needs of women attorneys in the Metro Richmond area, and what we can do, if anything, to improve this organization. If you have opinions, and I know you do, please share them with us when we call on you!
But second, I hope we will strengthen the MRWBA’s commitment to improving access to justice. Our Domestic Relations Pamphlet is an important resource for women and men in the Commonwealth who cannot afford a lawyer but who need to know their rights in that arena. Our annual Wine & a Worthy Cause event supports the DRP and has been so successful that this year I have made the organizer of WWC the chair of a standing committee. Doing this will allow her to focus on making that fundraiser even better and will allow our Public Service Committee co-chairs to get back to the important work of improving the commitment of our members to pro bono and legal aid.
If you heard my speech at our May business luncheon, you heard about the “Justice Gap” in Virginia, and the fact that Virginia lawyers only provide 4% of the pro bono service expected of us under Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. You also heard statistics from the National Center for State Courts at William and Mary revealing the uncomfortable truth that having a lawyer on your side greatly impacts the outcome of your case in our General District Courts in Virginia. We need to do better. We need volunteers. We need you. My goal for the year is to engage every member of the MRWBA in pro bono or legal aid to work, to join our raindrops together and create a stream that floods the ocean and makes a difference in the lives of Virginians.
It is going to be an excellent year. I look forward to working with all of you!
Joanna L. Suyes, Esquire
Joanna L. Suyes, Esquire
MRWBA President 2018-2019