For Immediate Release:

Women Lawyers Association to celebrate 100th Anniversary

Detroit, MI – The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) is proud to announce its upcoming 100th Anniversary. WLAM will celebrate this historic milestone at the Centennial Gala on April 27, 2018, at The Colony Club in Detroit, MI. The event is black tie optional and kicks off with a reception to honor the organization’s past presidents at 5 p.m., followed by a Gala in the ballroom at 6 p.m.

Women have come a long way in the law over the past 100 years. WLAM was started in 1919 – before women had the right to vote in this country – by five self- proclaimed “ardent Portias of Detroit.”

Today, the organization has grown extensively in size and purpose. The membership includes attorneys, judges and law students. WLAM has become a statewide organization with seven regional chapters, providing wide-ranging networking and professional development opportunities for women in the law.

WLAM’s mission is to advance the interest of women members of the legal profession, promote improvements in the administration of justice, and promote equality and social justice for all people.

The Colony Club was one of the first women’s clubs in the city of Detroit, opening in 1928. Many of the early meetings of WLAM took place in this club. The organization chose this venue because of its historic ties to women of the past.

The theme of this year’s Centennial Gala will be Looking Back, Moving Forward and will honor all of the past presidents of the state organization, as well as the past presidents of each of the seven regions and its foundation. As a result, WLAM will be honoring over 350 women at this event!

At the Gala, many exhibits will be on display to illustrate the history of women lawyers in Michigan.  In addition, guests will have the opportunity to get an exclusive preview of the documentary on WLAM’s history, which will be released after the Gala.

The event is almost sold out and will be attended by many Michigan judges, current and past, as well as many prominent members of the legal community. In fact, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement will conduct the swearing in ceremony of the new board of WLAM.  Supreme Court Justices Brian Zahra and Kurtis Wilder will also be in attendance, along with retired Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly. Many judges from other courts in the state will be in attendance as well.

In addition, a number of women lawyer political candidates will be in attendance, including gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, attorney general candidate Dana Nessel and candidate for secretary of state Jocelyn Benson.

The keynote speaker will be Irin Carmon. Described by The New York Times as being “known for her smarts and feminist bona fides,” Irin Carmon is a journalist, author and speaker. She is a contributing writer to the Washington Post’s Outlook section and the co-author of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2015), which spent three months on the Times’ bestseller list. Irin Carmon will also be signing copies of her book at the event.

WLAM will also bestow a number of awards at the event. The honorees include:

  • Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris, who will receive the Mary S. Coleman Award
  • Retired Judge Theresa Doss, who will receive the inaugural Geraldine Bledsoe Ford Award
  • Attorney Julie I. Fershtman, who will receive the Jean L. King Leadership Award
  • Attorneys Alexandria L. Casperson and Alena Marie Clark, who will receive Regional Leadership Awards

WLAM will also be swearing in the Board of Directors, including the following Executive Committee members:

  • President: Donna M. MacKenzie (Olsman MacKenzie & Wallace PC)
  • President-Elect: Alena Marie Clark (Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Saginaw)
  • Vice President: Roquia Kamal Draper (Warner Norcross & Judd LLP)
  • Treasurer: Ryan M. Kelly (Kelly & Kelly, P.C.)
  • Secretary: Erin Morgan Klug (Varnum LLP)
  • Immediate Past President: Julie A. Gafkay (Gafkay Law, PLC)

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For more information:
Donna M. MacKenzie | Olsman MacKenzie & Wallace
WLAM President-Elect
[email protected]

A limited number of press passes to the event will be available. Please contact Donna MacKenzie to arrange admission for members of the media.