For those who could not attend the April 6 program of the National Conference of Bar Presidents “21st Century Lawyers: Women Bar Leaders Forum,” you may now click here to view a recording of the program. To learn more about the program and the speakers, including our own NCWBA president, Shiloh Theberge, click here.
Our annual Women’s Bar Leadership Summit will be held in Chicago August 4 and 5, 2022.
The theme for this year’s Summit is “Reconnecting for Excellence” and our programming is designed to motivate women in leadership positions and connect them to the tools necessary for success!
Keynoting the event is Helen Wan, Attorney, DEI Consultant, and Author of The Partner Track which is currently being produced by Netflix! Ms. Wan realized the importance and need for a realistic account of a woman of color’s perspective of “trying to figure it all out.” She will share her knowledge and help us all Connect the Dots for Success!
In addition to Ms. Wan’s keynote address, the 2022 Summit will feature a GOOD Guys program (www.goodguysinlaw.org), programming on recruiting members, engaging membership and maximizing their potential, leadership tips, networking opportunities, and ways for member organizations to use the support that NCWBA provides.
See you in Chicago!
BOSTON, MA– March 22, 2021 – The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) held a Virtual Annual Meeting on March 16, 2021 and introduced its new leadership.
The WBA is pleased to welcome Heather Gamache as the organization’s incoming President. Heather is a director in the litigation department at Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster. Prior to joining Rackemann, Heather was a partner in the litigation department at Prince Lobel Tye. Heather has been actively engaged in the WBA for over six years, sitting on the Board of Directors since 2017 and serving in other leadership roles such as the Women’s Leadership Initiative, and as tri-Chair of the Law Firm Advancement Committee, where she assisted with the Summit on Women’s Initiatives in May 2017 and participated in administering the groundbreaking survey on workplace conduct and behaviors in law firms in the spring of 2018.
At the annual meeting, the WBA also voted on a slate of officers and elected members of the Board of Directors. The organization welcomes the following new and returning officers and directors for 2021-22.
President: Heather Gamache, Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster
President-Elect: Kristy Lavigne, Office of Bar Counsel
Vice President of Membership & Statewide Outreach: Kim Donlon, Major, Lindsey & Africa
Vice President, Operations: Jessica Babine, Cornetta Babine LLC
Treasurer: Alexandra Mitropoulos, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
Secretary: Julie Dick, Community Legal Aid
WBA Immediate Past President
Nicole Forbes, Globalization Partners
WBA Board of Directors
Jessica Caamano, Goulston & Storrs PC
Margaret Caulfield, Alkermes, Inc.
Theresa Coney, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Kristen Grannis, Latham & Watkins LLP
Kate Isley, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Danielle Johnson, Greater Boston Legal Services
Gwen Nolan King, Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
Emily Robey-Phillips, Jones Day
Nancy Rothstein, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Jamie Sabino, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Payal Salsburg, Laredo & Smith LLP
Amy Sennett, Open Text, Inc.
Sarah Sousa, Arrowood LLP
Jenna Ventorino, WilmerHale
Raquel Webster, National Grid
Lesley A. Leonessa, Dell EMC (Greater Boston)
Victoria Spetter, Law Firm of Victoria C. Spetter, PC (Middlesex)
Brianna Sullivan, Tang & Maravelis PC (North of Boston)
The new board brings energy, a wealth of experience in varied legal disciplines, diversity, and a steadfast commitment to advocating on behalf of women’s issues.
Incoming WBA President Heather Gamache remarked, “It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as President of the Women’s Bar Association, which has been a formative organization throughout the advancement of my career. Through the WBA, I have gained trusted mentors and friends and many opportunities for leadership and professional development. My involvement with the WBA has provided me with a deep understanding of the importance of advocacy organizations to promote a fair and just society. I look forward to working with our members in the year ahead to make positive changes for women lawyers and all women in the Commonwealth.
Outgoing WBA President Nicole Forbes reflected, “It has been an honor serving as President this year. While this was a difficult year, especially as an organization that prides itself on providing opportunities to network and connect with others, I am proud of the work we have accomplished this year. I am grateful for the opportunity to have collaborated with so many of our members on issues facing our profession and community, and to have been a voice advancing the full and equal participation of women. Congratulations to Heather Gamache, our new WBA President, and our new Executive Board and Board of Directors, I look forward to continuing our important work with you all.”
About the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Founded in 1978 by a group of activist women lawyers, the Women’s Bar Association boasts a large membership of women lawyers, judges, policy makers, and law students across Massachusetts. The WBA is committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society. The WBA works to achieve this mission through committees and events and by developing and promoting a legislative agenda to address society’s most critical social and legal issues. Other WBA activities include networking and professional development, drafting amicus briefs, studying employment issues affecting women, encouraging women to enter the judiciary, recognizing the achievement of women in the law, and providing pro bono services to women in need through its sister organization, the Women’s Bar Foundation. For more information, visit www.womensbar.org.
The National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (“NCWBA”) strongly denounces the armed assault on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 7, 2021, during the Constitutionally-mandated
June 15, 2020
To the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations Community:
The recent violent deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black Americans, as well as the Central Park birdwatching incident involving Christian Cooper have highlighted that systemic, pervasive racism still exists in America. The NCWBA writes today to stand in support of the Black community, the Black Lives Matter movement, and to denounce the legal structures that allow systemic racism to continue to exist.
As part of our mission, NCWBA advocates for equality in the legal profession and in society. We are committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and to ensuring that the legal profession, the justice system, and leaders accurately reflect the communities they serve. We are committed to mobilizing and uniting to effect change in laws, processes, and biases that adversely impact women, persons of color, and other marginalized groups. Black women in our profession have faced a double bind of racial and gender discrimination throughout their lives.
Recognizing that action is important, our board members have been reading, listening, and reaching out to our friends and colleagues, gathering and sharing resources with our local communities and women’s bar organizations, and attending member programs such as Ms. JD’s Allyship in the Legal Profession. We have been inspired by seeing so many of our member organizations write eloquent statements of support and pledge to take action for change. Given our many privileges, the legal community cannot stand in silence. The NCWBA calls on all of our member organizations and the legal community as a whole to take action to dismantle systemic racism.
On the NCWBA’s website, we now have a compilation of resources available that we hope will be helpful for our member organizations and communities. We encourage you to share the actions you are taking locally with the NCWBA. Please send us a note at [email protected], and we will include your resources on our website.
In Support and Solidarity,
The National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
We are pleased to welcome our new executive director, Christina Simpson! Christina is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts. Her current legal practice emphasizes small business and branding. She is an active member of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, where she co-chairs the Women of Color Committee. She is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and received her undergraduate degree at Boston College.
Long-time executive director Diane Rynerson will be retiring in 2019 which means we are now eager to identify the next executive director who will help us to grow and strengthen the organization in years to come. The position is part time, with flexible hours. Applications are currently being reviewed.
The ABA adopted a model antidiscrimination rule in August 2016, but many states have yet bring antidiscrimination provisions into their own professional rules. NCWBA just launched a new toolkit designed to assist states in exploring the new model rule by providing quick access to key information, summarizing arguments for and against the rule, and providing a checklist and sample letter/proposal to get the process started.
Lawyers in the U.S. are not nearly representative of the population we serve. Discrimination and implicit bias significantly contribute to this lack of diversity and limit the effectiveness of our profession. Previous and current efforts to increase diversity among lawyers are not enough to address the problem.
The new antidiscrimination rule makes it misconduct for lawyers to discriminate in the course of practicing law. States are now able to more easily address discrimination and increase diversity by considering adoption of the model anti-discrimination rule.
Still, addressing diversity and evaluating the model rule can be a significant undertaking for a state. The new NCWBA toolkit is designed to make it easier for states to consider address diversity issues. You can check out the new toolkit here and download helpful information to use in your state.
The Outstanding Advocate is awarded to an attorney who has gone above and beyond to fight for the rights of women and minority groups, and the people of the Commonwealth, and as such, has embodied the WBA’s mission in their advocacy.
The WBA is proud to recognize Attorney General Maura Healey with this award. AG Healey was honored at an anniversary party on March 8, 2018 at Goulston & Storrs. The anniversary party kicked off the celebration of the WBA’s 40th anniversary and the Women’s Bar Foundation’s (WBF) 25th anniversary.
AG Healey began serving as Massachusetts Attorney General in January 2015, after winning an historic victory in her first-ever run for office. Prior to her election, AG Healey helped lead the Attorney General’s Office as Chief of the Civil Rights Division and went on to become chief of the office’s Public Protection and Business & Labor Bureaus.
Since her election as Attorney General, she has focused on expanding economic opportunity by addressing rising energy and health care costs, tackling student loan debt, and ensuring fair treatment for workers and a level playing field for businesses. AG Healey has also gained national prominence for her leadership in combatting the state’s opioid epidemic, including expanding substance use prevention training for young people.
AG Healey has spent years leading the People’s Law Firm in the fight for fairness and equality, and expanding opportunities for women, vulnerable communities, and working families across Massachusetts. Most recently, AG Healey’s office issued new guidance with resources for employers as they prepare for the updated Massachusetts Equal Pay Act to go into effect this summer, providing greater clarity as to what constitutes gender-based wage discrimination, adding new protections for workers, and incentivizing employers to address gender-based pay disparities and achieve pay equity.
AG Healey has long been recognized as a leader by the Women’s Bar Association. She was a member of the Charter Class of the Women’s Leadership Initiative in 2009, where she was selected as an up and coming woman lawyer expected to achieve great things in her career. There is no doubt that she has served as a role model for the many lawyers in the organization who have since participated in the program and followed in her footsteps in making the Commonwealth safer and more just.
About the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Founded in 1978 by a group of activist women lawyers, the Women’s Bar Association boasts a vast membership of accomplished women lawyers, judges, and law students across Massachusetts. The WBA is committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society. The WBA works to achieve this mission through committees and taskforces and by developing and promoting a legislative agenda to address society’s most critical social and legal issues. Other WBA activities include drafting amicus briefs, studying employment issues affecting women, encouraging women to enter the judiciary, recognizing the achievement of women in the law, and providing pro bono services to women in need through supporting its charitable sister organization, the Women’s Bar Foundation. For more information, visit www.womensbar.org.