Women's History Month: A letter to the women shaping the future

Our legal community is full of trailblazers who should be celebrated.

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  • | 1:05 a.m. March 7, 2024
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  • The Bar Bulletin
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In 1987, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution to designate March as Women’s History Month, declaring that American women have been overlooked and undervalued despite contributing to the growth and strength of the nation, providing the majority of America’s volunteer labor force and serving as leaders of nearly every change movement.

As I reflect on Women’s History Month, I think of all the women who influence my life and career, who continue to make history in the Jacksonville legal community and who are the change makers.

I also think of the women who are afraid to stand up and make change, who feel unseen and unheard.

So, this is my letter of appreciation and a word of encouragement to all of those who have made history and continue to make history and to those who are still trying to figure out their place in history. You are seen and you are valued.

I come from a long line of strong women. My grandmother grew up in Mississippi and had the courage to move, along with her five children, to California for better opportunities.

My mom is one of the hardest working women in America (at least in my opinion). Her work ethic and perseverance are unmatched and inspirational.

Kimberly Woods, Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association president

I remember being terrified when I first came to Jacksonville in 2011 as a 1L student at Florida Coastal School of Law. I was in a new state without my family.

Soon, I started working at a boutique law firm where I met Cynthia Trimmer. She was my first introduction into the local legal community and the Jacksonville Bar Association. She was my first mentor and the first person to tell me that I could have a dream and actually accomplish it.

Thirteen years later, Cyndy still sends notes of encouragement and makes sure I remember to celebrate all accomplishments.

Jacksonville and its legal community are full of inspirational women.

While I was in my second year of law school, I met Amber Donley (then Williams). I will never forget going to her when I was trying to figure out what life was going to look like after law school. By this point in school, I had already been discouraged and told that I should just quit school and find a new profession.

Instead of taking the easy route, Amber reminded me that, while the journey was not always going to be pretty, if I wanted to be a lawyer, I could not give up on myself.

As Amber and I have crossed paths many times since those days at Florida Coastal, I remind her of just how much those words and encouragement meant to me.

Throughout my legal career, I have had the opportunity to meet many amazing women who have inspired me. I could spend an entire newspaper highlighting them.

Women have changed, and continue to change, Jacksonville. Our legal community is full of trailblazers who should be celebrated, for they continually encourage the next generation.

For all that you do and will do in the future, thank you. You are appreciated and valued.

Kimberly Woods is a partner with Boyd & Jenerette and president of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association.



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