“40 years of Lawyers Club!,” Lynn Schenk joyously exclaimed, at the gala dinner to celebrate that major anniversary milestone for the Lawyers Club of San Diego on May 16 at the U.S. Grant Hotel.
The former U.S. Representative Schenk was one of six co-founders of the club in 1972, as its mission states, “To advance the status of women in the law and in society.” Lawyers Club was founded during a time when women faced many obstacles and impediments to become part of the legal profession and advance to important positions such as partnerships and judgeships.
“40 years ago it was not so much dreams as nightmares,” Schenk said, noting that the event‘s tagline was “40 Years of Making Dreams a Reality.”
Schenk, along with another co-founder, Fourth District Appeals Court Presiding Justice Judith McConnell, both received 2012 Lawyers Club Icon Awards for their contributions not only to Lawyers Club, but for their contributions to the legal profession. Schenk’s husband, University of San Diego Professor Hugh Friedman, received the 2012 Belva Lockwood award for his longtime support of Lawyers Club. In fact, it was Friedman who originally suggested the name Lawyers Club to make it sound more inclusive and not just for women.
Justice McConnell pointed out that 5 of the 10 justices with whom she serves on the appeals court are women and that in a recent case, “the only man in the courtroom was the defendant. I guess he knew how we used to feel.”
The evening’s scheduled keynote speaker, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sukauye, was unable to attend the event due to the budget battle she is in the thick of in Sacramento to prevent deep cuts to the state’s court system.
Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a benefactor of Lawyers Club, was well-represented at the event. Assistant Dean for Administration Lori Wulfemeyer headed a contingent that included TJSL students Lindsey-Shannon Lee, Jennifer McCollough, Nicole Heffel, Chelsea Halpine-Berger and Elizabeth Knowles, as well as Alumni relations Director Vanessa Vandever, Adjunct Professor Lea Fields-Bernard, Associate Director of Bar Studies Mike Neal and Director of News & Media Relations Chris Saunders.
Also, TJSL alumni Renee Galente '08 and Anna Romanskaya ’07 were introduced as new members of the Lawyers Club Board. Alumni Bonnie Dumanis ’76, who is San Diego’s District Attorney, Superior Court Judge Garry Haehnle '81, 'Eric Ganci '08 of Galente Ganci, APC and Lorena Slomanson ’93 of Legal Aid also attended.
“We must not become complacent about what we’ve accomplished,” warned Schenk. “There is still a war on women being waged by unenlightened bigots, I believe.”
The Lawyers Club’s new president, Sarah Boot, said upon accepting of the gavel from outgoing president Kelly Rand, “We’ve made incredible progress in the last 40 years – but we’ve still got a lot to do.”