One of the most exciting and gratifying parts of serving on the Yale Law Women Board is connecting with the leadership of other outstanding women’s organizations. We are perpetually inspired and invigorated by the terrific work of our peer organizations at other law schools and throughout legal and non-legal professions.
Earlier this year, we received an invitation to speak with the members of an emerging Women in Architecture group based in New York City. Those members had decided that Yale Law Women was an exemplar of how a women’s group can work and what it can accomplish. The outgoing and incoming Chairs traveled to the Big Apple to answer a cascade of questions about our organization.
That conversation gave us important perspective on our core advocacy initiative, Top Ten. The members of the Women in Architecture group shared the challenges of balancing work and life in the architecture profession – challenges that resulted in many of their architecture school classmates leaving the profession entirely once they started families. And unlike the legal profession where work-life balance conversations are front and center, these women felt that their challenges received little or no attention.
We spent most of the evening discussion how to export our Top Ten initiative to the architecture profession – that is, how to evaluate work-life balance and gender equity policies at architecture firms and how to create positive incentives for meaningful change. We hope these efforts will help the architecture profession engage in an important dialogue about making the profession accessible and sustainable for architects of all genders.
This year, Yale Law Women launched the inaugural Women in Politics series, through which we bring women from all areas of the political arena to YLS to speak about their career paths and accomplishments. The goal of the series is to offer YLS students insight into the challenges and rewards of a career in politics, as well as to provide practical advice for launching careers in the political arena. We also aim to bring attention to the underrepresentation of women in politics and to the valuable perspective that our female elected officials and political influencers bring to shaping our nation’s public policy.
This semester, we have thus far organized three Women in Politics events.
- On February 25, we were joined by Hannah Fried, who served as an attorney with the Democratic National Committee and as the Director of Voter Protection in Florida for the 2012 Obama campaign.
- On March 2, we were joined by Laurie Rubiner, Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and healthcare expert. You can read more about Laurie’s path at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/21/nyregion/21lives.html.
- On April 4, we were joined by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, who was elected in 2012 to represent Connecticut’s 5th District, and who previously served in state and local office.
We have received rave reviews from members of the Yale Law School Community who have attended these first three events.
Are you a woman in politics? Know someone who is? Contact us about a future Women in Politics event!
On March 9, former, current, and incoming board members of Yale Law Women gathered at the law school for the first ever Yale Law Women Alumnae Board Reunion. Board Members from 2005-2006 through 2013-2014 reconnected—and for some, connected for the first time—to discuss all of the exciting things Yale Law Women has been up to, to learn about the alumnae’s experiences after graduation and how our programming can better prepare current students for beginning their careers, and to discuss how YLW can best engage with alumnae.
The day started with breakfast and introductions, with alumnae and students updating one another on what they are up to and where their careers have taken them. Then, the current Yale Law Women board launched into an overview of YLW’s past year of events, advocacy, and publications, including the Speak Up Report and Top Ten Family Friendly Firms Initiative. Next, alumnae discussed what they wish they had known in law school and made suggestions about what YLW could do to better prepare current students for the experiences and challenges they will face. The alumnae provided students with exciting recommendations for potential new programming, including events with women early in their careers, advice on deciding the next move after a clerkship, getting the most from 3L year, how to get your second job, and financial planning. The day closed with discussions about improving YLW’s alumnae engagement efforts. After a full day of helpful planning and brainstorming, we capped off the event with a dinner at the lovely home of Dean Barnett, YLS 1997, a former Yale Law Women Chair and current Associate Dean for Academic Affairs!
The Reunion was a rewarding and fun day, and a great opportunity for past and current boards to connect and brainstorm about the upcoming years of YLW programming, advocacy, and publications! We’re looking forward to applying the ideas that came out of our sessions to this year’s efforts, and to hopefully hosting another Board Reunion soon!