A Letter from Ms. JD’s New President, Katie Larkin-Wong

Dear Ms. JDs,

It is with a great sense of pride, excitement, and a bit of good nerves that I step into the roll at Ms. JD’s second President.  As Elizabeth and Karen elaborated this morning, Ms. JD has grown from a blog and an idea six years ago to an incredible organization providing community, mentorship, and support to women lawyers around the world.  Elizabeth and Karen have left big shoes to fill and I am incredibly grateful to them and the entire board of Ms. JD for trusting those of us coming up in the organization to fill them. 

Elizabeth and Karen along with a number of our current board members have built Ms. JD by always emphasizing that women’s victories are everyone’s victories.  They have led by example, as incredible lawyers, friends, and colleagues, and today, they led by introducing the new generation of leadership.  We are glad that they will continue to lend their wisdom, humor, and strategic vision to Ms. JD as Board Emeritae!  Elizabeth will also continue to lead the charge in our international work through the Global Education Fund and Karen will serve as our new pro bono counsel.  We are very grateful for their continued support. 

As Karen and Elizabeth said this morning, the legal industry is poised for change and Ms. JD is excited to be a part of the mission. At its base, Ms. JD helps improve the profession through our people.  We provide a pipeline of future women leaders.  The new women who have joined our board to help fill Karen and Elizabeth’s shoes are an excellent example of that pipeline at work.  Each of them has come up through Ms. JD’s programs before taking their place on our board. 

Read more about them after the jump!

  • Jamie Bence came to Ms. JD as a Writer in Residence where her column, “From the Seat of Power,” featuring interviews with top women lawyers stood out.  She became Ms. JD’s Writer-in-Residence Coordinator and then joined our Executive Board where she is now supporting Ms. JD’s next generation of writers, leading our efforts to bring cutting edge content to the blog, and developing Ms. JD’s technology platforms. 
  • Tanya Falleiro attended the LA conference and pressed us for more opportunities to get involved.  She became a Writer-in-Residence and then a Ms. JD Fellow before helping organize the Bay Area Women’s Organization meetings that brought together women’s groups from the law schools around the Bay Area.  Tanya’s penchant for organization has been a boon to the Executive Board and our National Women Law Student’s Organization. 
  • Sheila Forjuoh is our most recent addition to the Executive Board.  We met Shelia through the Center for Women in the Law at The University of Texas where she helped update the Ms. JD Library.  When we began looking for the right person to replace Karen as CFO, Sheila’s commitment to women’s issues and her background as a JD/MBA stood out.  She joined the Executive Board as our new CFO.  She will also lend her business talents to our strategic thinking. 
  • Courtney Gabbara, a 3L at Michigan State, has done an incredible job this last year of putting programming and new ideas in place as our National Women Law Student’s Organization (NWLSO) Liaison.  Consistent with Ms. JD’s commitment to bringing up new leaders, Connie Lam, a 2L at Cornell, is taking over as NWLSO Liaison this month.  We met both Courtney and Connie at our LA Conference where they were elected NWLSO Liaison and Liaison-Elect.  They jumped in and made a lot of progress in advancing NWLSO this year.  Although she is moving out of the NWSLO lead position, Courtney will stay on as a Board Member working on NWLSO Programming.


In a continuation of Ms. JD’s mentoring theme, these women are being welcomed by our more experienced Executive Board Members including Noorain Khan, Jessie Kornberg, Keisha Stanford, and Janet Wallace.  Many of you know and love these amazing women.  They have been a huge part of Ms. JD’s success over the last six years and their continued contributions in mentoring our new board members and developing our programs are a big part of Ms. JD’s success. 

Throughout my own short legal career, I’ve been mentored by Ms. JD.  Like many women, I first met Ms. JD through the blog.  At the time, I was working as a paralegal for Verizon’s corporate counsel and applying to law school.  I was excited to find a community supporting women in my chosen profession.  I met the inspiring Executive Board when I acted as the student liaison for the 2010 Annual Conference at Northwestern.  I was impressed by their dedication to providing training and advice and I wanted to help!  I applied to be a Writer-in-Residence and then a Ms. JD Fellow before joining the Executive Board last year.  At each step along the way, Ms. JD has provided unparalleled support and advice.  I am excited to be a part of providing these same opportunities to the next generation of women lawyers. 

So what will these opportunities look like over the course of the next year?  We’ve got a lot of exciting programming to tell you about and I’ll start talking about it right here tomorrow.  Today, we hope you’ll share your favorite Ms. JD stories and moments on the blog, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter!  Tell us what you’ve enjoyed and what you’d like to see us do next. 

With Excitement for What We Can Do Together,


Katherine Larkin-Wong

President, Ms. JD

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