MRWBA News Update

September 2, 2020

Message from the President

Welcome to what may prove to be the most unusual and interesting bar year yet! I hope that everyone had a relaxing and healthy summer. When I was asked to serve as President of the MRWBA, I certainly did not imagine that it would involve a global pandemic and addressing you all from behind a computer screen.  I suppose each year and presidency presents its own unique challenges and we will certainly rise to the occasion.

Regarding the ongoing situation with COVID-19, the Board has made the decision that our first 3 luncheons this year will be held remotely. This was not a decision we made lightly and while we are disappointed that we won’t have the ability to come together and enjoy the networking our organization offers, the health and safety of our members and sponsors must always come first. Our programs co-chairs, Rebecca Imholt and Danielle Smith, have been working hard on this year’s programming and we are very excited to present those to you in a virtual format. It is our hope that we will be able to have our December awards luncheon in person, but we will continue to monitor the situation and make a final decision regarding that and future luncheons at a later date.

Over the summer, the MRWBA took a public position on the current racial unrest in our country and community. You can review that statement here. I want to thank everyone who participated in voting and commenting on the position presented by the Board. We are an organization of highly intelligent women with differing thoughts and perspectives and I am thankful that we were able to have a meaningful conversation and democratically vote on and present our public position.

As mentioned in the public position, the MRWBA is now in the process of developing a strategic plan. The Board voted to engage the services of The Spark Mill and we have been working with them since early August. We are currently in the information gathering portion of developing the strategic plan. Some of you will be asked to participate in an interview or focus group with The Spark Mill. We are also giving The Spark Mill approximately 15 minutes at the beginning of our September lunch program to conduct a survey of attendees to help develop this plan. Please watch for the rescheduled session to help us in this process, as well as to hear from some of our Virginia legislators about the Special Session of the General Assembly convened this August by Governor Northam.

While this year may look different from most, our members and the love they have for this organization are what keeps us driving forward.  Thank you all for your ongoing support of the MRWBA. 

Britney McPheron, Esquire
2020-2021 MRWBA President



Sponsorships Available

MRWBA’s luncheons and events are possible thanks to the generosity of our sponsors. This year, we are offering two sponsorship levels (Platinum and Gold). These sponsorships provide an opportunity to promote your brand to a demographic of well-educated, professional women with an average salary of $101,126 per year. Sponsors have the opportunity to sponsor one of our luncheons or another signature event, such as a membership social or mentorship function. MRWBA will reduce the sponsorship amount by 50% for sponsors of our virtual luncheons. Click here to secure your sponsorship today. 

We appreciate our sponsors’ continuing support during these challenging times.



Increased Demand for Pro Bono Legal Services

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the demand for Virginia legal aid and nonprofit legal services. Those demands will continue to grow long after the immediate health crisis abates. Pro bono attorneys, paralegals, and law students are urgently needed to help fill the gap. The COVID-19 Pro Bono Taskforce has created this Google Form through which interested attorneys can express interest in helping Virginians in need. Attorneys can choose from a variety of engagements across several high-demand legal categories. I hope you will share this form with your members and encourage them to sign up to help. The need is particularly great in rural parts of Virginia, so if you can reach lawyers in the South Central, Southwest, or Shenandoah Valley regions that will be extremely helpful to the cause.


Best Lawyers in America Recognizes MRWBA Members

Congratulations to the following MRWBA members who were recently recognized by Best Lawyers in America.

Mollie Barton, Stiles Ewing Powers PC (Family Law)

Pamela Belleman, Troutman Pepper (Real Estate Law)

Sherry Fox, ThompsonMcMullan (Family Law)

Stephanie Grana, Breit Cantor Grana & Buckner, a 2021 Lawyer of the Year (Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury and Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs)

Jamie Karek, Commonwealth Law Group (Workers' Compensation Law - Claimants)

Player Michelsen, Stiles Ewing Powers PC (Family Law)

Colleen Quinn, Locke & Quinn (Family Law, Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs)

Melissa VanZile, Barnes & Diehl PC (Family Law)


Member News

McClellan Fundraiser*

It always makes me swell with pride a little bit when, at our Annual Legislative Luncheon, Sen. Jen McClellan claims her long-time MRWBA membership loudly and proudly.  She has always been there for us—indeed she was the first legislator to accept my invitation to speak when I was MRWBA president. Now we have the opportunity to be there for her.

Michele Satterlund and I are hosting a virtual reception in support of Jen’s campaign for Governor. It is time for a woman to occupy the Governor’s Mansion, and she is the right woman for the job.

In my experience, candidate fundraisers usually mean you get to speak with the candidate for a minute or two at most. With this intimate virtual fundraiser, you and the others on the call will have her undivided attention for an hour!

If you would like to add your name to her list of supporters and co-hosts for this reception, please donate through this link or let me or Michele know. We will ship a bottle of Virginia wine to all donors at the $1,000 level and higher. 

We look forward to seeing you on October 8.

Joanna Suyes

*This event is not sponsored or endorsed by MRWBA or its Board of Directors.

Members, do you have news you want to share? Login and go to the Member News page to post your information.


For past issues of our newsletter, click here.

September Lunch-In Being Rescheduled!

Due to ongoing developments in the General Assembly’s Special Session and the strain it has put on the calendars of our Legislators, the Programs Committee is working to reschedule the Virtual Lunch-In that had been scheduled for September 9th. As soon as the new date is available we will send out those details and will work with any of the current registrants who are unable to participate on the new date to process a refund.

Last Call for Mentors

Do you want to serve as a mentor to a student or new attorney? Do you need a mentor this year? Log in and update your member profile to indicate your preference so you can be matched for the coming year, simply click on your name at the top of the page to edit your profile.

While you're there, be sure to update your Committee Interest preferences too!

Welcome New Members!

  • Abigail Arnett
  • Elizabeth Morgan Barry
  • Rachel DeMent
  • Jessica King
  • Taylor Anne Moffett
  • Willa Sharpe
  • Ren Warden
Find contact information for all members in the Member Directory


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Student memberships are complimentary!


MRWBA is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization.

PO Box 6605, Richmond, VA 23230

(804) 589-3213

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