By Janee Prince • May 25, 2016•Ms. JD, Conference
The Ms. J.D. Annual Conference has become a spotlight event for the legal community. Each year Ms. J.D. holds its conference to highlight where the organization, and the legal community, holistically, has been, and where it plans to take it. Ms. J.D. has talked about putting our passions on display, (“Passion Forward,” 2014), honored women trailblazers (“She Leads,” 2012), and united as a network of, not just women lawyers, but lawyers in general (“Stronger Together,” 2015). This year’s conference was all about Superwomen, ("may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them"). You know that woman who is killing it in the legal profession; The “Beyonce´” of women lawyers –if you will. That Superwoman J.D. is somewhere in all of us, and this year Ms. J.D. decided to honor some of the women who have embodied that “S,” and have been an inspiration.
Since starting as a Ms. J.D. Journalist a year ago, I have had the absolute pleasure of attending two of the conferences. Here’s what I thought of this year’s conference:
Intersectionality has been a hot button topic lately, and Ms. J.D. addressed it with class! We had break-out, roundtable, discussions about how intersectionality has effected each of us in law school, and/or in the legal profession –whether we have experienced it, or we witnessed someone else’s intersectional experience. We discussed suggestions on being more inclusive, and the kinds of inclusion that foster effective networking and growth in the legal community. This discussion was awesome!
A –Keynote Speaker Anna Maria Chavez
Listening to Ms. Chavez talk about her experience starting as a Girl Scout, where she came from, and where she is now was truly awe-inspiring. She was the perfect example what Ms. J.D. meant by Superwoman J.D. and I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to listen to her story.
B –Finding Your Superpowers –Defining your Emblem and Forming Alliances
This panel was fun, and informative! The panel discussed effective ways of building a professional social media presence –highlighting what is important, professional, and ultimately fun about social media, and the way in which lawyers should use it. Learning about the importance of digital branding and networking is invaluable in today’s globalized world, and this panel did an excellent job of explaining that.
These were my favorite things about the Conference! There were many more great events and panels, but when I look back on Superwomen J.Ds, these were the things that inspired me, and the things that I remember most. With that said, I would be remiss if I did not discuss some of the things that I think Ms. J.D. could work on for next year.
C –The Reception:
Maybe I was spoiled from last year’s conference “Stronger Together.” Last year, we went to a really trendy place in San Francisco where we’d had the opportunity to network in a more social setting. Conferences can be long, and it was a great way to change the setting, which in turn, changed the atmosphere, and allowed rejuvenation. There I met Katie Larkin-Wong, the former President of Ms. J.D., Grover Cleveland, author of “Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks,” and many more. This year, the reception was more of an award ceremony. While it was great to honor the women who had done great things in the previous year, it became a bit stuffy, and I did not have the opportunity to network in the same way that I’d had done the previous year. This year’s reception was more like sitting through a second portion of the conference rather than an after-conference networking event.
C –Too Business/Corporate focused
Much of the focus in the legal profession has been on large law firms, in-house counsel for large companies and, at times, other facets of the legal profession fall by the wayside. At this year’s conference, this focus was most evident in the break-out session on public interest. Many of the panelists had done great things in public interest; I was especially impressed by Jessie Kornberg, CEO of Bet Tdzet, but this panel seemed centered on corporate/business public interest. I would have liked to see, for example, an attorney working in indigent public defense, or local legal aid, who could have spoken to the issues with the lack of legal representation for lower-income individuals, or the struggles of funding these offices. Ms. J.D. is a very open organization, providing a community for anyone who wants to join, but I would suggest expanding our reach to every corner of the legal community as possible!
All in all friends, I thought this year’s conference was great, and I look forward to next year!
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