Ms. JD

Woman of Inspiration Award: The Nominees

For the first time in Ms. JD history, Ms. JD will be honoring exceptional women in connection with our annual conference, Passion Forward, which will take place February 21-22nd, 2014 in Austin, Texas. The Passion Forward Awards will celebrate women who have demonstrated passion for their careers and shared that passion with other men and women. Over the next few weeks, Ms. JD will be introducing all the nominees. To read about the recipients of the 2014 Passion Forward Awards, click here. 

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.

The nominees are: 

Amy Yeung. “I write in support of Ms. Amy YeungMs nomination for a Ms. JD Woman of Inspiration Award. Amy and I overlapped at Duke Law School for one year, and later served together for five years on one of the law school’s alumni boards. During that time, I saw first-hand Amy’s leadership, vision, and passion for improving every organization of which she is a part. It is her commitment to these organizations--in addition to her unwavering focus and commitment to her legal day job--that truly sets Amy apart.” --Sarah Hawkins Warren

Elizabeth J. Palmer. “I have been fortunate enough to serve with Ms. Palmer as co-public service project coordinator for the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division 2013-2014 Public Service Project, Bullyproof: Young Lawyers Educating and Empowering to End Bullying. Through our work together, I have learned of the remarkable professional and personal qualities Ms. Palmer possesses. I believe she is an ideal candidate for one of these awards as she personifies the qualities a young lawyer should possess.” --Roula Allouch

Heather Wong. “Heather currently serves on the2013 Banisters Board of Directors of Bar Association of San Francisco. She has been a member of BASF since 2005 and is an integral part of the leadership of the Barristers Club. As a director, and the only law firm partner on our board, she helps support the club's sections/committees and serves as a voice to our membership and the greater young lawyer community.” --Yolanda Jackson

Lily Dorman Colby. “If you have received a nomination for an award in 1982 from the promising young Columbia University student named Barry Obama, wouldn't you have considered it a privilege – not to mention a moral obligation – to grant the award to him? That's the way I feel about Lily Dorman Colby. She's that special.” –Martin Snapp

Margrethe Kearney. “Since joining Latham, Ms. Kearney has contributed over 1,000 hours to pro bono matters on behalf of individual clients, as well as playing a leading role in community-wide efforts to protect the victims of domestic violence…Ms. Kearney's contribution to the protection of victims of domestic violence in Chicago has been truly astonishing. Largely through her organizing efforts, over the years 189 Latham partners, associates and paralegals have provided 9,680 hours of pro bono representation to over 100 victims of domestic violence.”

Neyleen Ortiz Beljajev. “Neyleen is a person whose kindness, dedication, and compassion resonates throughout everything that she does. Working closely with her as her clerk for the past five years, I am in a unique position to speak to her many talents and accomplishments. She is passionate about her practice, advocating on behalf of those who have been wronged by stronger entities, and about elevating the status of women in the legal profession. Neyleen’s friendship and guidance, has also had a substantial impact on my life and the lives of others.” –Kelly McDonnell

Paula Edgar. “Ms. Edgar has devoted her career to improving the legal community by, among other great works, creating and advocating diversity best practices and unique pipelining programs. On a personal note, Ms. Edgar consistently motivates me and other attorneys to continue to regularly invest in key diversity initiatives….While words cannot adequately describe Ms. Edgar’s impact on improving diversity in our legal community, she is without question someone who pays it forward and more than deserves recognition for her substantial body of work.” --Joseph M. Drayton

Reem Kahlil. “While obtaining her Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, San Diego, Reem cofounded the books for prisoners art show. As a student, Reem became aware that UCSD did not have the funds to continue sending educational books prisoners. UCSD was receiving thousands of requests from prisoners but could not financially fund the program any longer. She also noticed that the school was receiving art along with the book requests. As an artist, Reem decided to hold an art show with the prisoners’ artwork, along with her own. All proceeds from the event went to the “Books for Prisoners” program which has now become an annual event.” –Vanessa Pena

Renee Galente. “Renee has been an extraordinary role model for our law students. She has made it her personal mission to foster them, engage our graduates by way of her participation in the Alumni Association, and do everything she can to motivate success and involvement with the legal community. Renee serves at the role model of a successful young graduate who is not self-involved, but rather devoted to causes to enrich and improve society.” –Joy Delman

Shanly Hopkins. “Impressed by Shanly’s maturity and commitment to our mission, I personally asked Shanly last year to join PAC and our subcommittee to plan an ambitious event in connection with the nationally recognized Equal Pay Day. She proved to be indispensable for generating a co-host list and securing multiple co-hosts, resulting in the largest co-hosted event in LC’s history. Shanly was also instrumental in preparation of the women pioneers in the law presentation by researching women’s “firsts” in the law. As a direct result of her commitment to our mission, she was selected to co-chair the Student Committee, which is a position normally reserved for experienced attorneys.” --Shalini K. Kedia

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