#SuperWomenJDs: Ms. JD Honors Awardees

Congratulate the Honorees!  Ms. JD is pleased to offer two opportunities to congratulate the Ms. JD Honors recipients!

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 more personal way of offering your congratulatory message; these cards will be incorporated into the décor for the event. Cards that specifically mention a particular honoree's name will be presented to the honoree as a memento of their Ms. JD Honors Award.

To purchase a Slide or Congratulations Card, please click here.  Please note the deadline to purchase Slides and Congratulations Cards is 12:01 AM on February 15, 2016. And, again, we hope to see you at our Awards Reception on Friday, February 19, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Tickets are available here. 

Each year, the Ms. JD Honors recognize exceptional members of our community in connection with our annual conference. This year, our Eighth Annual Conference, Superwomen JDs, will take place at NYU School of Law on Friday, February 19, with the Awards Reception taking place from from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on February 19.

You can purchase tickets for the conference and the cocktail awards reception here.  We hope to see you there!

The Awardees

The Ms. JD Awards Committee was absolutely overwhelmed by the caliber of this year’s nominees, so much so that we had a difficult time deciding which amazing women and men to honor. The quality of your nominations demonstrates just how passionately our community feels about recognizing leaders, and  we  were inspired by each and every nomination. On that note, we are pleased to announce the Ms. JD Honors Awardees and give you a preview of their stories.

Law School Chapter AwardThe Law School Chapter Award is given to a law school organization that champions the advancement of women law students through, for example, chapter initiatives (including pre-law initiatives), programming and recruitment, creating a network of women law students, and contributing to the pipeline of women leaders in the profession from an early stage.

Association of Women Law Students at University of Missouri Kansas City Chapter (“AWLS”) - is one of the most revered and active student organizations at UMKC. The organization welcomes both men and women and profoundly promotes the advancement and recognition of women in their law school community. Its annual programming includes a food drive that consistently exceeds goals and the Mary Tiera Farrow Bar Study Scholarship that is awarded to a law school graduate based on a highly regarded nomination process. The AWLS’s impressive fundraising efforts allow the group to award a generous honorarium each year to a revered student who has embodied the ideologies and advancement of the organization’s mission. In addition, the organization hosts “Mr. UMKC”, which provides a fun-filled night of “male pageantry”, comedy, and the opportunity to raise additional funds to help AWLS further pursue the promotion of women in the law.

Women of Inspiration Award - The Woman of Inspiration Award is given to a woman who, regardless of her practice area or type of practice, inspires others through her commitment to and passion for her work. The three Women of Inspiration Award  honorees are:

Lesley Horton Campbell - Associate General Counsel for Global Real Estate & Store Development at Tiffany & Co. In addition, Lesley actively works in her community to provide housing for underserved populations by serving on the Board of Directors for two different non-profit organizations in New York City: Weston United Community Renewal, a Harlem-based non-profit organization which provides housing for the homeless and mentally ill, and the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, which provides housing for seniors. She has previously served on the New York City Bar Association’s Housing and Urban Development Committee and is currently Chair of its Real Property Law Committee. In 2011, Lesley was jointly appointed to be a Commissioner on the New York City Lobbying Commission by the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Lesley has received numerous awards and honors for her professional and civic endeavors, including selection as one of the National Black Lawyers' Top 40 Under 40.

Stephanie N. Morales - The first woman to be elected Commonwealth’s Attorney in Portsmouth, Virgina. Within a month of taking office, Stephanie established new programs including developing the Stephanie N. Morales Future Leader Initiative. Under this initiative, she hosts interns and shadows to provide positive exposure for youth. She is currently hosting one law intern and has hosted interns and shadows in elementary school, high school, undergraduate, and law school, totaling approximately 30 students, many of whom have been women. Stephanie has also formed a program designed to assist with voting rights restoration, expungements, and career preparedness to reduce recidivism. Her philosophy is that prosecutors must not only be concerned with prosecution, but instead with the overall success of the entire community. She fosters that philosophy both in her own work and within her office’s environment.

Professor Diane L. Rosenfeld - Lecturer of Law and Director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, and a leader in the field of Title IX Law and Policy. Her courses include: “Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice”, “Title IX” (the only course specific to Title IX at any law school), and “Theories of Sexual Coercion”. Additionally, she supervises the Gender Violence Legal Policy Workshop at Harvard Law School. Prior to teaching at Harvard, she served as the Senior Counsel to the Violence Against Women Office (now the Office of Violence Against Women) of the U.S. Department of Justice. She works tirelessly to advocate for survivors of gender-based violence and inspires her students to care about these issues. She was featured in The Hunting Ground, a recent film about campus sexual assault, which is a testament to the pivotal role she has played in the Title IX movement. Professor Rosenfeld is also extremely committed to mentorship. She devotes a great deal of her time to mentoring female students and attorneys, actively developing a supportive network of early career female attorneys.

Student of Inspiration Award – The Student of Inspiration Award is given to a law student who inspires others through their commitment and passion to their legal studies, extracurricular activities, or to a particular cause.

Rachel McKenna is a student at The University of Texas School of Law. She has volunteered with the Center for Women in Law since her 1L year. In addition, Rachel is President of the Women’s Law Caucus (“WLC”) at Texas Law, where he also served as the Executive Vice President (“EVP”)  in her 2L year. While she served as EVP, she organized funding and travel arrangements for six WLC members to attend the 2015 Ms. JD conference in San Francisco. Rachel has made it her goal as President to continue developing new programming for WLC, making it a more inclusive and social organization. Rachel created a liaison position on the board of WLC for all of the other affinity student groups at Texas Law. As a result, WLC has achieved its highest membership rates ever. In addition, Rachel’s passion for women’s issues serves as an inspiration to other students.

Road Less Traveled Award The Road Less Traveled Award is given 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.

Dr. Ilise Feitshans - is an attorney, global health activist, and international diplomat. She has created health and safety protections throughout the world, in places where there was no existing roadmap for policy, no precedents to follow, and no guiding law. She wrote the policy for  confidential AIDS testing for minors for the New York City Board of Health (1988); lawful uses of genetic information for the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) Ethical Legal and Social Implications (“ELSI”) working group of the Human Genome Project (1993); University of Denver Commission on Preventive Law (1997) regarding positive incentives for corporate compliance programs to address violence in the workplace; and accessible mammograms for women in wheelchairs (NJDDC 2003).

Dr. Feitshans was the first person, male or female, to earn a doctorate in the emerging law of nanotechnology at the Geneva School of Diplomacy. Following the completion of her doctorate degree, Dr. Feitshans won a grant from the European Science Foundation to study at the Center for BioNano Interactions at the University College of Dublin, where she remains the only lawyer to have studied. She currently serves as an expert on the law of nanotechnology for the Council of Europe, where she examines the interface between emerging technologies and human rights laws and also spearheads their efforts to obtain more ratifications for their new law preventing medicrime.

Sharing Her Passion Award – The Sharing Her Passion Award is given to  a woman who has practiced for more than ten years and who inspires earlier career women lawyers through sponsorship, mentorship, and by sharing her passion for the practice of law.

Denise Henning - is an attorney in Missouri. Throughout her career, Denise has mentored and supported a multitude of new, as well as experienced, women lawyers. In an effort to encourage other experienced women lawyers to be mentors as well, she created a mentoring program called “Connections”. Connections creates opportunities for mentoring beyond the traditional model in the legal profession. It pairs a new female lawyer with an experienced female lawyer, and adds a group element to expand the mentoring experience. Denise also promotes the appointment and election of women in government and the judiciary. Denise organizes mock interviews for women interested in filling judicial vacancies. Denise and her children also established the Henning Family Foundation, which places and maintains life-saving automated external defibrillators (“AEDs”) in sporting and recreational venues across the Kansas City metropolitan area. In the past three years, the foundation has purchased and placed 114 AEDs at a cost of $2,000 each across Kansas City. In her spare time, Denise serves on the Board of Directors for two organizations, the Association for Women Lawyers and the Sheffield Place Homeless Shelter for women and children in Kansas City.   

Women's Strength in Numbers Award - The Women's Strength in Numbers Award is given to 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.

Care to Learn Kansas City Chapter - It is the mission of Care to Learn that no child suffers physically or emotionally due to lack of food, access to medical, dental or mental health care, or hygiene issues. Attorneys Elizabeth Russell, Laura Maring, Callie Pippin Raitinger, and Program Manager Megan Hover worked diligently to bring Care to Learn to Kansas City. These women have positively impacted the lives of underprivileged students who have faced challenges that are out of their control and create barriers to their success, such as coming to school with severe toothaches, lacking the glasses they need to properly see, or not having a winter coat. Due to the hard work and dedication of Elizabeth, Laura, Callie, and Megan these students are able to access important resources.

TIM Initiative Award – The Tim Initiative Award is given to a man who is an active champion for women’s advancement in the legal profession. Ms. JD launched The Incredible Men (“TIM”) Initiative in 2014 to celebrate men who not only value equality and diversity in the profession, but earnestly and enthusiastically support women and women’s initiatives.

Joseph K. Westis a Partner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Duane Morris LLP. Most recently he served as the President & CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (“MCCA”). Upon taking the helm at MCCA, Mr. West immediately implemented a number of programs focused on increasing the MCCA’s ability to expand opportunities for women and minority lawyers. He created the MCCA Academy for Leadership and Inclusion, a training program designed to identify barriers to inclusion in the profession and to eradicate them. He created the MCCA Blueprint program and the MCCA Exchange, programs designed to help in-house counsel with career development and law firm members to hone their business development skills. He led an overhaul of MCCA’s scholarship and mentoring programs and CLE offerings. He launched research projects ranging from global diversity, to a study of Gen Y lawyers, to corporate legal department demographic surveys and toolkits. He recently announced that MCCA is the point organization for the Engage Excellence program which tracks the amount of spending that major corporations direct to women and minority lawyers. As a result of his efforts, MCCA’s membership almost tripled during his tenure.


Susan Smith Blakely

My sincere and enthusiastic congratulations to all of the award winners.  As a prior award recipient, I know how seriously Ms. JD takes the award process.  I am impressed with the credentials of all of these remarkable women lawyers, and I wish them well as they continue on their journeys.  Bravo!

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