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DTCI: Kick off your heels with the new Women in the Law Division

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McComberAn article came across my desk the other day about the recently published report by the National Association of Women Lawyers regarding the retention and promotion of women in law firms. This report was of special interest to me since I had recently left a law firm for an in-house counsel position – something I have observed my contemporaries doing for some time.

This report concluded that not much has changed for women in the top 200 law firms since NAWL first started tracking this information eight years ago. Compensation, leadership roles, rainmaking, and equity partnership remain stagnant for women. The greatest percentage of women hold the lowest positions in law firms (associates and staff attorneys) while the lowest percentage of women hold the highest positions in law firms (equity partner). “This year’s results reinforce that women in private practice continue to face barriers to reaching the highest positions in their firms – as equity partners and members of governance committees,” said Stephanie Scharf, report author, past president of the NAWL Foundation and a partner at Scharf Banks Marmor LLC. While the number of female law students has consistently been equal to or slightly greater than the number of male law students, women are grossly underrepresented in the leadership positions in law firms. The ultimate question is what are we as a legal community going to do about this?

While there is no right or wrong answer, mentoring and networking can go a long way in helping women feel like they are not alone in their personal and professional lives. DTCI wants to make this even easier by expanding the available network of strong and successful women lawyers. DTCI has created the Women in the Law Division, and I am honored to serve as the division’s first chairperson. This new division will help women network, mentor, be mentored, market and address the ever-present work/life balance issues they face in all stages of their professional lives. Our events are designed to allow members to speak freely regarding the professional and personal obstacles they face as women in the legal profession.

Please join us for the division’s kickoff event April 17 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Osteria Pronto in the JW Marriott located at 10 S. West Street in Indianapolis. The event features a panel discussion with Judge Heather Welch of Marion Superior Court, Julia Gelanis of Frost Brown Todd LLC, and Michele Calderon Johns of Indiana University Health and Indiana University Health Risk Retention Group. These women will share the secrets of their success, how they have thrived in the practice of law, and the valuable lessons they learned along the way. The event will offer networking opportunities beginning at 11 a.m. and a panel discussion after a delicious family-style lunch. The cost is $50 per person and registration is available now at www.dtci.org.

Join us as a member of this new division and kick off your heels at our inaugural luncheon on April 17. Let’s see what we can do to change the statistics.•

__________

Ms. McOmber is an attorney with Indiana University Health Risk Retention Group. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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