Member News

Mary McKelvey

WLALA President 2021-2022

Could there be an issue that would evoke anything more primal and unifying than the issue of our personal choice to reproduce? It is up to all of us to initiate and join the conversations. It starts right here, right now.

Mary McKelvey, WLALA President Tweet


President’s Message, January 2022

Choice and free will are the ultimate and inimitable gifts to us from our Creator.  These separate us from the animals and provide powerful opportunities to steer the trajectory of our lives and ultimately determine who we become.  A woman’s right to make the extraordinarily personal choice about whether to terminate a pregnancy can be one of the most difficult and pivotal decisions she will make – the effects of either choice have lifetime repercussions.  The experience of abortion is something millions of women have experienced for many decades, but there is no universal experience because each woman’s life and circumstances are different.  This choice is both rife with emotional and social complexity and charged with political and religious dogma.  And yet the relentless chipping away at this right to choose in our country has been the enduring obsession of groups driven and led in large part by white men.



Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law

The Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law (The Center) was founded in the early 1980s by Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Bar. Since its inception, the Center has served as a cornerstone of family law and domestic violence assistance for low-income persons in California.


HBCF protects victims of domestic violence and improves the well-being of children living in poverty. With the help of volunteers, the Center provides free family law assistance and legal education to the poor. HBCF strives to empower people in need and assure them meaningful access to the courts.


My motivation to become a judicial officer developed over time with my life and work experiences and the lessons I learned as a young Cuban American immigrant. My mother (Elena) and stepfather (Gildo) came to the U.S. with nothing but a dream for freedom and a better life. They spoke no English. My parents taught my brother and I valuable lessons: the importance of family, hard work and determination, caring for others in need, getting an education, being proud of our Hispanic heritage, and always believing we could do much more than they could ever accomplish in this country.