Florida Association for Women Lawyers meeting is Oct 11-13 at the One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach.
By Jennifer Shoaf Richardson Florida Association for Women Lawyers president
The 2018-19 year for the Florida Association for Women Lawyers is sure to be action packed given the international focus on sexual harassment.
That’s thanks to the #MeToo movement, the impending appointment of three new justices to the state Supreme Court and the high court’s consideration of a Rule of Judicial Administration with impact on the ability of parents who also serve as lead trial counsel to secure continuances.
Each of those issues and more will be the focus of the annual FAWL Summit, Oct. 11-13 at One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach.
Maintaining or increasing the number of women on the state Supreme Court is a priority for FAWL this year as the only women on the court, Justices Peggy Quince and Barbara Pariente, are retiring due to constitutional requirements.
When I had the opportunity to spend time in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court during FAWL Lobby Days during the Legislative session, seeing only three women out of the 85 justices in the portraits of those who have held the highest judicial office in our state was a stark reminder of how far women have to go in our profession.
FAWL already is at work using its 34 chapters around the state and more than 3,400 members to draw a deep pool of women applicants for the upcoming vacancies. FAWL will hold a special Supreme Celebration dinner Oct. 12 during the summit to celebrate the legacy of women on the court and honor Quince and Pariente in particular.
The summit also will offer five hours of CLE programming focused on FAWL priorities. The event and the other annual in-person meetings for FAWL will be focused in part on increasing the statewide network of our members. With this in mind, FAWL will present “Rainmaking for Women Lawyers: Turning a Mist into a Deluge.”
In addition, members will hear from a panel of attorneys who have needed continuances for trial so that they could take parental leave.
Panelists, including several local attorneys who have confronted this issue, will discuss pros and cons of the proposed rule change, their experiences and how to make parental leave work with a busy practice.
Attendees will hear an uplifting and practical presentation on “Lessons Learned: Finding Joy and Achieving Confidence” from Melanie Griffin, Dean Mead Tampa office managing partner and founder of Spread Your Sunshine.
Summit programming will take a critical look at the challenges faced by women of color in practicing law and attending law school through a lunch panel on intersectionality.
The panel will be moderated by past co-chair of The Florida Bar’s Special Committee on Gender Bias and former FAWL President Kristin Norse. The lunch CLE is funded in part by a Diversity Leadership Grant from The Florida Bar and co-sponsored by the Jacksonville Bar Association.
The Harvard Business Review recently published the results of a study showing the likelihood of receiving a promotion doubles in the year after attending a women’s conference and attendees see elevated levels of optimism and social connection.
I encourage you to set aside some time and resources to experience for yourself the dividends of attending a FAWL conference.
From five hours of CLE programming, to a formal dinner for the Supreme Celebration and a beachside welcome reception co-hosted by the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association, there will be something for everyone at the FAWL Summit.
Join me in welcoming statewide FAWL members to our city and giving them a taste of the hospitality that is so natural to our legal community. Visit fawl.org for registration details.