President's Message

Jennifer Leland
WLALA President 2019-2020

July 2020

I joined WLALA twelve years ago because there were very few female attorney role models at my then firm, and I felt like needed to be a certain “type” to fit in with the firm’s culture. I wanted to connect with other women attorneys and see if they were facing the same struggles I was experiencing. Not only did I feel immediately welcomed by the WLALA members I met, but I was inspired by them. They were the role models I desperately needed. So many of them were and continue to be mentors to me. Given my own experience (and what I hope has been the experience of others), it troubles and saddens me to hear that WLALA is not viewed as inviting to all. We need to change, and change dramatically, if that is the case. And we will because doing anything less would be contrary to the mission of our organization. Every challenge is an opportunity for change and growth. To this end, I want all of you to know that WLALA’s leadership is listening. While we may not be able to be everything to everyone, we are committed to and actively taking steps to become a more diverse organization, increase member engagement, and create opportunities for meaningful dialogue and connection.

On a lighter note, I want to recognize WLALA’s talented and hardworking Board that has not skipped a beat despite a global pandemic and continues to volunteer their time to create content of interest to our members  Last month, WLALA put on a record seven substantive programs and the Foundation held two fitness fundraisers. And the next two months are filling up with great events as well. On July 11, there is another fitness event scheduled. If you haven’t had a chance to join in one of these, now is the time. It’s a great way to connect with others and all levels are welcome. On July 23, we are putting on a program entitled Civility and Professionalism in the Practice of Law. The panelists will talk about how women attorneys can address unprofessional behavior they encounter in their practice. On July 31, our 19th Amendment Speaker Series begins. The series, put on jointly by WLALA, the National Association of Women Judges, and LACBA, will feature women in entertainment, sports, politics, law, academia, and business. Please keep an eye out for our email blasts about these and other upcoming programs.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy 4th!