President's Message - April 2024

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Jeannine Taylor

WLALA President 2023-2024



In a world that can become consumed by billable hours, client demands, and family commitments, our self-care and development are often neglected. So how do we build our community, develop leadership skills and be of service to others…WLALA! If you’re on WLALA’s board you’re doing this already and your leadership path is in motion; if you’ve been waiting for the right time….it’s now. WLALA Board and Foundation Board applications are online at,

If you’re anxious, use the buddy system. My calling to lead WLALA came from our immediate past president, Janet Hong, who pulled (and pushed) me to join her in launching a diversity platform that WLALA was hungry for. In Janet’s words, “WLALA started off as my support group during a difficult time in my career. As I got more involved, I developed a vision for much needed change. But I would never have taken on a leadership role if Jeannine hadn’t supported my vision to create a safe space and to expand leadership opportunities for more women of color. This was a driving force behind my decision to move up the ranks of leadership within WLALA and I am humbled that I was able to serve as President. I am grateful to those who built the organization over the years and I continue to be inspired by the many women who work tirelessly to keep the organization moving forward.”

Other WLALA past presidents reflected on the benefits of their WLALA leadership experience and the themes that ran through them are distilled below:

Personal Growth: WLALA Board Service provides unparalleled opportunities for personal growth and development, which isn’t available in a typical work environment. Whether it’s leading a committee, mentoring junior associates and/or lawyers, or spearheading community initiatives, these opportunities allow us to hone our skills and discover new facets of ourselves as leaders.

Building Networks: Effective leadership thrives on collaboration and connection. WLALA leadership provides a unique venue to cultivate invaluable networks with our sister bars of peers, mentors, and allies who can offer support, guidance, and inspiration. These networks enhance our professional growth and are lifelines in times of need.

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion: As women lawyers and judges, we have a unique perspective to offer in leadership roles, one that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion. By actively participating in leadership opportunities, we have the power to shape organizational cultures, policies, and practices that promote fairness, representation, and belonging for all.

Inspiring Others: Leadership experience empowers us to inspire and uplift others. Programming like law school MentorJets and high school Power Lunches allow us to become catalysts for positive change within our communities. As lawyers and judges, our leadership shines in the courtroom, the boardroom, the conference room, the office and in our ability to mentor, empower, and advocate for the next generation of legal professionals.

Below are a few words of wisdom and inspiration, directly from WLALA past presidents:

I am committed to a world that is more welcoming and supportive for women and girls and the women of WLALA collectively have the power, motivation, intellect and acumen to continue to move us towards that reality. I joined WLALA because, as a law student, I was utterly amazed and inspired by its members. That first introduction over 25 years ago was my first experience being a part of something with so many powerful women – the combination of their intellect, confidence and energy was intoxicating. I instantly wanted to be a part of the organization and later wanted to give back and move the needle towards growth in the organization. As WLALA President, I had the opportunity to experience the reality that we are capable of far more together than individually and this is, in large part, why I continue to support WLALA.
Mary McKelvey, WLALA President 2021-2022

I joined WLALA because I was so inspired by its members, the quality of its programming and the mentoring it provided and continues to provide to lawyers and judges. Through WLALA, I have gained mentors, become a mentor and developed lifelong friendships with women I may not otherwise have met. WLALA shapes the professional and personal development of all of its members. As President of WLALA, I stood on the shoulders of giants. I am eternally grateful to and for the women who came before me – especially my mother, Justice Helen Bendix — who shaped WLALA and who fought to make the law more diverse and inclusive. I am honored and humbled to be a Past President of WLALA. Leading WLALA allowed me to pay tribute to the many women lawyers and judges who have helped me in my career, and allowed me to pay it forward, hopefully, to have inspired future leaders. I always wanted to Lead Like A Girl. As President of WLALA, I did. Hon. Jessica Kronstadt, WLALA President 2020-2021

I chose to lead because I believe in WLALA’s mission and I wanted to give back to an organization that had given me so much – it really was a lifeline at so many points in my career. In WLALA I found a group of inspiring women who showed me that there wasn’t a “one size fits all” approach to being a female attorney and my board service provided me with opportunities to manage/lead/mentor others that I didn’t have at my firm.                                                Jennifer Leland, WLALA President 2019-2020

In your service,

Jeannine Taylor
President, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles