By Jeanne Ortiz • October 08, 2014•Ms. JD, Law School, Issues, Mentoring and Networking, Features, Guest Bloggers and Profiles of Women in the Law
There is no such thing as "can’t."
There is such a thing as "won’t,"
"don’t want to,"
"don’t choose to,"
"don’t adopt this as my priority,"
but there is no such thing as "can’t."
"Can’t" represents a lack of choice.
And when we resign ourselves to a reality
that does not include individual choice,
we accept barriers others would impose upon us.
—Colonel Linda Strite Murnane, Esq.
When I attended Ms. JD’s Passion Forward conference this past February, my belief that women coming together are capable of doing great things was affirmed. Being able to hear all those wonderful women, participate in challenging workshops, and meet girls from all around the country inspired me to share my experience with my classmates back home in Puerto Rico.
Following this inspiring conference, and with great enthusiasm, we decided to start a National Women Law Students’ Organization (NWLSO) chapter. We thought that starting a NWLSO chapter would be the best way to connect to Ms. JD’s wonderful resources and, at the same time, create a space for female students starting their career in the legal profession to network and share their experiences as women. So, if you feel your classmates have the potential of coming together, supporting one another, and making the law school experience more fun, consider starting a NWLSO chapter in your school!
Here are 7 reasons we’re excited about starting and developing our very own chapter:
- Student Mentorship Program – The program serves as a great way to meet new people and build great friendships. Law school can be intimidating and challenging at times. Having a support group with people who are going through the same experience cannot only make things easier, but fun too!
- Raise awareness – We believe the experience of women in the law is unique. Through our activities we’ll have the opportunity to educate others about gender issues and challenges we might encounter when practicing in our field.
- Getting men involved – It’s important for men to engage in the conversation about the experience of women in the legal profession. Communicating and voicing our concerns as women in the profession to men is key to having good relationships with them as our future colleagues, partners, employees, or supervisors. We are looking forward to working with them in our organization so they can share their insight on how to better approach the subject from their point of view.
- Empower women – Our chapter believes in the power of support. For example, we want to see more women seeing litigation as their career choice and more women publishing in law reviews. Connecting students to Ms. JD’s resources is a great way to do this and more!
- Practice our English – We use both English and Spanish in law school because of our historical and political background. However, English is mostly seen as a second language, so the majority of our tests and assignments are required in Spanish. We see the chapter and its activities as a way to improve our reading, writing, and oral skills in English. Being fluent in both languages and taking the time to practice each will definitely add value to our professional backgrounds.
- Our Women of UPR Law (WoUL) social media campaign - Through #WoUL, we want to highlight women's experiences in law school. Every member has a story to tell! We ask a question to the member, she answers, and we then take a picture of her that matches her response. The questions range from "Why did you decide to study law?" to "What advice would you give women who aspire to enter the legal profession?"
- Put our leadership skills to test – Our Board of Directors is composed of talented and remarkable women with different interests, academic backgrounds, and professional profiles. We have awesome ideas set on the table and are looking forward to work together as a team to make our chapter the best it can be.
The Colonel’s quote was one of the many quotes that stuck with me when I attented the Conference. I took a lot of notes for opening a chapter when I felt inspired by women in front of me talking about their experiences as attorneys. Even more than the reasons stated above, we are particularly excited to be part of Ms. JD’s network because we want to, we choose to, and we can be extraordinary women.
For pictures and our social media campaign, please visit our website www.womenatuprlaw.org. You will also find there the links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.