A Message from the Maricopa Chapter President, Jebbie Whiteside
As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, it is a great opportunity to reflect on our own fascinating AWLA’s history and accomplishments.
It was the 1970’s. Women leaders across the country were coming together and striving to improve work conditions for women. In Phoenix, as the story goes, a group of women attorneys decided they needed an 'old girls network' (what became known as the Old Women Lawyers) to help combat the ‘old boys club’ they faced in the legal profession. They met regularly over lunch and evenings to network and share experiences. However, the women realized they were much too wise and were too original to be called ‘Old’- so the group changed its name to the Original Women Lawyers. Some of these ‘Originals’ included, but were not limited to, such visionary women as: Hon. Lorna Lockwood, Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor and Hon. Mary M Schroeder. Around the same time, in Tucson, a group of women led by the Hon. Alice Truman and Hon. Mary Anne Richey scrawled ideas for a women's bar association on a bar napkin. All these remarkable women knew they would be stronger together and eventually, AWLA was formed.
It is no surprise that AWLA took off since its formation nor that it has made a lasting impact on the legal profession. Although AWLA achievements are plentiful, one of the most recognized is AWLA’s role in promoting the applications of qualified judicial applicants for the Maricopa Superior Court, particularly women and minorities. AWLA's role in preparing judicial candidates for their interviews, navigating the application and commission recommendation process, as well as AWLA’s endorsement of applicants for state appellate judgeships, is highly sought and valued. The Maricopa Judicial Appointments Committee is always looking for more committee members to get involved.
Today, AWLA has four chapters: Maricopa, Southern Arizona, Northern Arizona, and Western Arizona. The Maricopa Chapter is extremely active and has over 550 members!
Each year, AWLA also bestows several awards to recognizes members and non-members alike who deserve recognition for their professional achievements, or who have supported and encouraged the advancement of women in the legal profession, such as:
· Sarah Herring Sorin Award - (June 12) - This year’s Honoree is Lisa Bossard Funk. AWLA's bestows this Award during the Mary Anne Richey Scholarship Breakfast which is held during the AZ State Bar Convention. At the Breakfast, AWLA also collects donations in honor of the late Mary Anne Richey, who was a United States District Judge for the District of Arizona and a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law. For the last few years, the scholarship has been in the amount of $1,000 for each recipient. Since the scholarship’s inception in 1988, it has boosted students' morale and reaffirmed their vision of the law as a public service profession. Contributions to the Scholarship may be made at the Breakfast by credit card or check payable to the Mary Anne Richey Scholarship. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
· Ruth McGregor Wine and Cheese Award (October 29) – This year’s Honoree is the Honorable Eileen Willett. The Maricopa Wine & Cheese Reception will be held at the Desert Botanical Garden. Tickets are only $50 and include admission to the Desert Botanical Garden same day of the event, live music, appetizers, two drink tickets, and memories galore. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For ticket purchases or sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.AWLA-State.org
· AWLA – Maricopa Chapter: All In For Women Award (held March 5)
The Maricopa Chapter held it’s All In For Women Award Reception on March 5, 2020 at the University Club of Phoenix. The Membership Committee received 23 applications, and, after careful review, the committee selected 8 firms that were honored with the 2020 AWLA Maricopa Chapter: All In For Women Award. Congrats to the following firms and thank you for your support!
Special Honor – Historical Support of AWLA and Met ALL Award Categories:
Tiffany & Bosco
Traditional Award - All Female Attorneys are AWLA Members:
Gillespie, Shields, Goldfarb & Taylor
Kent Law Group PLLC
Wieneke Law Group
2020 Award – Programs Furthering the Mission of AWLA:
Christian, Dichter & Sluga, P.C.
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowey, LLP
Gammage & Burnham
Perkins Coie, LLP
The opportunities to get involved are endless, so join us at our events. We hold monthly luncheons, usually on the last Wednesday of the month, at the University Club of Phoenix, several networking opportunities, and special CLE program for professional development. All our events are posted on our calendar. Don’t be shy – if it is your first event or you don’t think you will know anyone, we can pair you up with an “Amiga” to hang out with.
See you soon,