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San Diego Law Schools Come Together for “Women Lawyers” Panel

February 2, 2015

The tri-school Women Lawyers Panel and Champagne Reception, hosted at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, brought together attorneys and students from across San Diego for a candid discussion on the challenges women face in the legal profession.

The panel included alumnae from each of the local law schools and was co-sponsored by the TJSL Women’s Law Association and the TJSL Career Services Office. “As co-sponsors of this event, the Office of Career Services is dedicated to bringing valuable programing to TJSL students,” said Paula Gluzman, Associate Director of Career Services.

The event was also co-sponsored by the Women’s Law Caucus at the University of San Diego School of Law, Women’s Law Caucus at California Western School of Law, the Office of Career and Professional Development at the University of San Diego School of Law, and the Office of Career and Professional Development at California Western School of Law. California Women Lawyers and Lawyers Club of San Diego were also co-sponsors.

“Law school is the time to start relationships that will continue for years to come,” said President of the Women’s Law Association Kaitlin Shelby. “Having all three law schools come together and participate in a panel for the first time was wonderful. It also provided a unique networking opportunity for all three schools where everyone was able to mingle with individuals they may be working with in the legal community throughout their career.”

Kaitlin Shelby, Kelli Blackburn, Vice-President of Cal Western’s Women’s Law Caucus, and Sam Keil, President of University of San Diego’s Women’s Law Caucus moderated the discussion which spanned topics from the importance of being outspoken about your accomplishments to finding the right balance between personal style and a professional demeanor.

Renée Galente ‘08, who is a Board Member of both California Women Lawyers and Lawyers Club of San Diego, represented TJSL on the panel. “If we are not there to help the next generation why are we wasting our time,” Galente said of the importance of becoming a mentor. “We need to be reaching back constantly.”

“Women can have it all, just not at the same time,” said panelist Wendy Behan, a Cal Western alumna who also serves as President of California Women Lawyers. “Follow your passion, you can build a career in the law and have a family. You just have to know there are trade-offs at different times.”

“Women should educate themselves on the statistics of women’s success rate in the law,” said Lawyers Club of San Diego Board Member, University of San Diego School of Law alumna and panelist Olga Álvarez. “Women should decide what their values are, build relationships with people in the community that they want a job from, and hone in on their craft and build great legal skills because that will be the gateway to their success.”

A champagne reception following the panel discussion was held on the 8th floor terrace.

“The reception provided a unique and welcoming space to expand on the important topics discussed during the Women Lawyers panel.” said Gluzman. “I was happy to see students introducing themselves to attorneys and speaking with judges. Throughout the reception, groups of law students listened attentively to a panelist providing further words of wisdom. It is this type of networking environment that allows law students to build relationships and ultimately find their place within the legal community and profession.”  

A raffle was held at the reception that raised $300 for Lawyers Club’s Fund For Justice which is the charitable foundation arm that serves to reach out to the community, in particular to serve at-risk women and children. Gluzman added, “We are lucky to have California Women Lawyers Association and Lawyers Club of San Diego that are led by women like Ms. Behan, Ms. Galente, and Ms. Alvarez. They inspired our law students at this event, so it felt fitting to support their charitable foundation that helps such a relevant cause.”

Future Career Services co-sponsored events include: professional career panels with the ABA Tort, Trial, & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and the CA State Bar’s International Law Section, Dress for Success workshop and a Speed Networking Night with attorneys, interview skills workshops, and other professional development presentations. For more information, visit Symplicity.