The Ms. JD Passion Forward Awards Honorees Are ...

For the first time in Ms. JD history, Ms. JD will be honoring exceptional women in connection with our annual conference, Passion Forward.  The Passion Forward Awards will celebrate women who have demonstrated passion for their careers and shared that passion with other men and women and will take place on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at Olive and June in Austin, Texas.  To purchase a ticket to attend the awards, please click here.  

We were overwhelmed by the responses to the first-ever Ms. JD Passion Forward Awards and cannot wait to share all of the nominees stories with our readers on the blog in the coming weeks.  We will also share more extensive profiles of each of the honorees.  Today, however, we are pleased to announce the Passion Forward Award Honorees and give you a preview of their stories.

Woman of Inspiration Award - The Woman of Inspiration Award was designed to go to a woman who, regardless of her practice area or type of practice, inspires others by her commitment and passion to her work.  This award was also available to law students who are not practicing yet but have shown commitment and passion to an issue they care about.  There were three Women of Inspiration Awards available and the honorees are: 

Lily Dorman Colby - A former foster child herself, Lily Dorman Colby has shown passion and commitment to improving the lives of foster children and changing the foster system.  From serving as an Americorps volunteer assisting underprivileged youth to advocating for policies to improve the foster care system, Lily has shown a commitment to ensuring that foster children have access to as many opportunities as possible. As a Berkeley Law student, Lily has already impacted state and federal foster care policies. After graduation she intends to continue a career in public interest law, aimed at serving the most vulnerable members of our society.  She plans to do so while staying in Walnut Creek where her own foster daughter attends school. For her incredible commitment and passion to children, particularly foster children, we are pleased to honor Lily Dorman Colby as a Woman of Inspiration.

Paula Edgar - Paula Edgar currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer of New York Law School but she is being honored for her long-standing commitment to diversity in the legal profession.  As the former Executive Director of PALS (Praticing Attorneys for Law Students, Inc.), Paula has inspired countless diverse students to pursue law school and go on to become successful practicing attorneys.  In 2010, Paula served as a Ms. JD Writer in Residence where she used her column to highlight successful women of color.  She has sat on over two dozen panels related to diversity in the legal profession and published numerous articles on the same issues.  For her commitment and passion to ensuring diversity in the legal profession, we are pleased to honor Paula Edgar as a Woman of Inspiration. 

Margrethe Kearney - Margrethe Kearney is an Associate in Latham & Watkins LLP's Chicago Office where she practices in the Environmental, Land and Resources Department.  In addition to serving as a leader in the Chicago Bar Association's environmental section, Margrethe has donated hundreds of hours toward the protection of domestic violence survivors.  She has served on the steering committee of a domestic violence clinic, developed in conjunction with the Chicago Mayor's Office and the Cook County Domestic Violence Court, designed to encourgage the participation of large law firms in domestic violence cases.  As credit to her efforts, Latham & Watkins estimates that 189 attorneys and paralegals have donated nearly 10,000 hours and assisted over 100 domestic violence survivors.  For her commitment to her environmental law practice as well as her determination to fight domestic violence and her incredible efforts to share that commitment with her colleagues, Ms. JD is pleased to honor Margrethe Kearney as a Woman of Inspiration. 

Road Less Traveled Award - The Road Less Traveled Award was designed to go to a woman who is using her J.D. in a unique, non-traditional, way to pursue an issue or cause that she is passionate about.  The nominees need not be in legal practice. 

Jennifer Alton - Jennifer Alton is a criminal defense attorney in San Luis Obispo, California.  She is also the owner of Brighten Hall Productions, a production company that Jennifer founded in order to create a film: Passion and Purpose.  Passion and Purpose explores what drives various individuals in life and work.  Jennifer asked a variety of San Luis Obispo locals three questions: What brought you to your profession?  What is the vision of your profession in 100 years?  What would you write in a letter to the next you?  The film premiered to a standing-room only crowd and has been placed in the San Luis Obispo time capsule which will be reopened 100 years from now.  For her commitment to sharing stories of passion and purpose, Ms. JD is pleased to honor Jennifer Alton with the Road Less Traveled Award.

Sharing Her Passion Award - The Sharing Her Passion Award is designed to honor a woman who has practiced for more than ten years who is inspiring younger women lawyers through sponsorship, mentorship, and sharing her passion for the practice.  

Roberta ("Bobbi") Liebenberg - Bobbi Liebenberg is an antitrust trial attorney who has numerous accolades both for her success in her practice and her commitment to diversity to her name.  As the Chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, former Chair of the ABA Gender Equity Task Force, and President of Direct Women, Bobbi has committed to inspiring younger women through sponsorship, mentorship, and sharing her passion for the practice.  Bobbi reaches behind her to pull young women up into leadership roles at the ABA and has strategically catapulted the careers of many of the women who wrote letters of recommendation for this award.  Bobbi has also committed countless hours to service of the University of Texas Center for Women in the Law, thereby inspiring another generation of future leaders.  For her commitment to mentoring and, more importantly, sponsoring the next generation of women leaders, Ms. JD is pleased to honor Bobbi Liebenberg with the Sharing Her Passion Award.  

Women's Strength in Numbers Award - The Women's Strength in Numbers Award was designed to honor two or more women who have partnered with one another to create a unique program, business, or organization. The group may include men and the success need not be in legal practice.

The Military Spouse JD Network ("MSJDN") - In 2011, no bar association or organization existed to promote and protect the interests of miltary spouses.  That's when two military spouses, Mary Reding and a small group of military spouses came together to form MSJDN.  Today, MSJDN counts over 880 military spouses among its members (over 95% of whom are women), is responsible for legislation in six states waiving the bar exam as a requirement for military spouses who were previously barred in another state, and counts one of its members as one of the latest appointments to the District of Columbia Appellate Court, Judge Patricia Millett.  For its incredible efforts to create a community and improve the lives of military spouses across the country, Ms. JD is pleased to honor the Military Spouse JD Network with the Women's Strength in Numbers Award. 

Congratulate the Honorees!  Ms. JD is pleased to offer two opportunities to tell the honorees congratulations!  You or your organization may purchase a Slide or a Congratulations Card.  Powerpoint slides, which your organization designs, will display throughout the cocktail hour portion of the awards ceremony.  Congratulations cards offer a personal way of saying congratulations. Congratulations cards will be incorporated into the décor for the event and all cards that specifically mention a particular honoree's name will be presented to the honoree as a memento of their award.  To purchase a Slide or Congratulations Card, please click here.  


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