From the President It’s February – the month of love. Being a lawyer is often a true labor of love—an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Whether combing through the details of a client’s will, helping a client understand their first employment contract, or trying a tough criminal case, lawyers are in the unique position of being able to guide and counsel people at some of the most vulnerable points in their lives. While serving clients in this capacity is a big responsibility, it’s one that, in my experience, the lawyers of MRWBA take very seriously. We are trusted to be the voice of so many people – to tell their story and share in the intricacies of their lives.
So in this month of love, I ask each of you to share with me what you love most about being a lawyer. Can you recall a particular matter that especially resonated with you? What motivates you to get up each morning and do the work you do? Send your stories to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll feature them in our March newsletter.
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day!
MRWBA and University of Richmond Women's Law visit SCOTUS!
On January 21, 2020, six MRWBA members were joined by nine RWL students on a visit to the U. S. Supreme Court. At the Supreme Court, we attended two oral arguments, one concerning the Armed Career Criminal Act (Shular v. United States) and the other concerning the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (GE Power Conversion France SAS v. Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC). During argument, we were able to hear from almost all of the justices. They posed thoughtful and probing questions, but also, to our delight, showed a fair amount of humor while interacting with counsel presenting their arguments.
Attendees also had the opportunity to meet the four clerks to Justice Clarence Thomas, who shared a great deal of illuminating information regarding their lives (they work 16 hour days on average!) and their relationship with Justice Thomas. But the highlight of our trip by far was our time with Justice Thomas himself. During our meeting, Justice Thomas' warmth and sense of humor was striking. He made it a point to ask each of us about ourselves. He shared thoughts on the law, the state of our society and a bit about his own upbringing. He emphasized that he wished to demystify the Supreme Court and the legal system and hoped this visit would allow each of us to see the Supreme Court as a place that was accessible to all. Sharing that time with him was an honor that will not be forgotten by any of us.
Special thanks to Sakina Paige for making this memorable trip possible.
Virginia Lawyer's Weekly recently announced their 2020 class of Influential Women of Law, which included three MRWBA members:
- Laura T. Alridge, Boleman Law Firm, Richmond
- Jennifer M. Fox, Barnes & Diehl, Richmond
- Jacquelyn E. Stone, McGuireWoods, Richmond
Honors and Awards
The following award deadlines are upcoming:
- Virginia State Bar Virginia Legal Aid Award. The recipient of the award will exhibit the following qualities in his or her work: 1) Innovation and creativity in advocacy; 2) Experience and excellence in service; and 3) Impact beyond his or her own program's service area. The nominee must be a member of the VSB and an employee of a legal aid society that is licensed by the VSB to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Nomination deadline is March 8, 2020.
- Virginia State Bar Tradition of Excellence Award. The Virginia State Bar General Practice Section annually recognizes an outstanding lawyer who embodies the highest tradition of personal and professional excellence in Virginia. This special award recognizes attorneys who have devoted significant amounts of time, efforts, and/or funds to activities that benefit their community and help enhance the image and esteem of general practice attorneys in the Commonwealth. All candidates must be current members of the VSB in good standing, with minimum of ten years of law practice, at least five of which must have been as a general practitioner. Nomination Deadline is Monday, April 6, 2020.
- The next MRWBA award that we will be soliciting nominations for is the Phoebe P. Hall Mentorship Award. This is a new award that will be given for the first time in the Spring of 2020. This award will be given to a candidate who shows “excellence in mentoring others, including the candidate’s commitment to encouraging law students and attorneys to achieve their personal and professional goals.” Additional information on the nomination process for this award will be circulated as soon as it is available.
MRWBA Upcoming Lucheons
Registration is now open for the remaining MRWBA luncheon programs for the 2019-2020 bar year. All luncheons are held at Willow Oaks Country Club. Registration begins at noon, lunch service begins at 12:15 p.m.
Coming up we have:Knowing When It’s Time to Move On, Wednesday, February 5
Join us for a panel presentation featuring attorneys who have switched jobs, areas of practice and even careers, as they discuss what factors played into their decisions to make a change and move on. Joining us will be Leslie Haley, Esq., Park Haley LLP, Kate Rennolds, Esq., Katherine M. Rennolds PLLC, Suzanne Wade, Esq., Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee, and Katherine Gray, Esq., Ascension Legal Search, who will share insights on determining when it’s time to transition your career.
Thanks to this month's Gold Sponsor:
The Ethics of Email and Social Media: A Top Ten List. Wednesday, March 4. McGuireWoods LLP partner Tom Spahn will present an interactive program using hypotheticals to explore the unique and quickly evolving ethics issues involving the widespread use of email and social media. Approved for 1 CLE Credit.
Annual Legislative Luncheon, Wednesday, April 15. Hear from members of the Virginia Senate and House as they discuss the 2020 legislative session and the legislation that was most important to them. 1 CLE Credit Pending.Annual Business Meeting and Lunch with the Judges, Wednesday, May 20. Join MRWBA for its annual business meeting where we’ll recognize the 2020-2021 bar year Board and enjoy an opportunity to engage and interact with our local judges. Last year, we had eleven local judges join us!
Visit the Events page of our website to register for any of the upcoming sessions.
For past issues of our newsletter, click here.
MRWBA was officially recognized by the Virginia State Bar for the significant and noteworthy contributions it has made to providing legal services to low-income and underserved Virginians. MRWBA is grateful to our members for the time they give to helping provide legal services to Virginia’s most vulnerable populations.
________________________Business Etiquette Subject of January Meeting
On January 8th, Liz Bryant, who specializes in business etiquette, joined us to discuss how better business etiquette can lead to better business development in your legal practice. Among other topics, Liz reviewed some of the factors in making a good first impression:
- The handshake. Your handshake should be firm but not crushing. Worse than too strong is too weak – you don’t want the “dead fish” handshake.
- Have a few conversation starters ready: a movie you saw recently, or want to see, a trip you are planning to take. Even better, have some questions to get the other person talking about themselves.
- Eye contact shows you are interested in the person you are talking with. Aim for 40 – 60% of the time you are talking. Don't make the person feel like they are being put on the spot. If you are giving a “hello” as you pass someone, make eye contact for as long as it takes you to notice the color of their eyes.
- Set yourself apart by mastering introductions. Know who should be introduced first in any given situation (the senior partner takes precedence over staff members, but the client is even higher precedence).
- Finally, know what you should wear in any given situation. Take it up a notch from the expected attire. Clothing should be good quality, fit properly, be clean and pressed.
We welcome our new members:
- LaToya Croxton
- Katherine (Katy) Groover, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's Office
- Jyoti Gwalani-Ramnani
- Angela McFarlane, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's Office
- Claire (Scottie) McMullan
- Alicia Roberts, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's Office
Login to the Member Directory for contact details for all members.
Not a MRWBA Member?
The MRWBA Archive is Going Digital!Mollie Barton, MRWBA Vice President, is collecting and digitizing historical material to document MRWBA’s history. If you have documents or photographs from past years (board meeting minutes, CLE materials, photos of member events or luncheons, etc.), please email email@example.com or bring your materials to a luncheon.
ACLU of Virginia Opening
The ACLU of Virginia is looking for an experienced, strategic and collaborative Senior Staff Attorney who wants to advance civil liberties and civil rights in Virginia by using a variety of strategies including litigation, public education, and advocacy. The Senior Staff Attorney will oversee our legal program’s intake and case development processes. The ideal candidate is an experienced manager and litigator who can help lead our legal team through case selection and development while executing a wide range of impact litigation strategies. The ideal candidate thrives under pressure and is always professional, with strong analytical and coaching skills. The ideal candidate is comfortable delegating tasks, enjoys helping others turn ideas into action, and is a systems thinker that can transform our strong legal intake program into something truly incredible. Salary range: $77,850 - $107,850. Please see the full job description on our website: https://acluva.org/en/careers.
Position open until filled.