From the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the election of Kamala Harris as the first female Vice President of the United States, the past 12 months have held a lot of highs and lows for women. As both Women’s History Month and the birthday of WLAM, March is a great time to reflect on the accomplishments of WLAM and our fellow women lawyers over the years.
WLAM was founded in 1919 by five self-described “ardent Portias of Detroit” with the mission “to advance the interest of women members of the legal profession and to promote a fraternal spirit among lawyers.” While WLAM began as more of a social networking group for women lawyers, it has since evolved into so much more. From fighting against discrimination of women at the Detroit College of Law back in the 1920s to supporting the 2020 Expungement Bill package of Governor Whitmer, WLAM has advocated for the rights of women lawyers and other minority groups alike for over 100 years.
Now more than ever it is important to support our fellow women lawyers. The year 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic have brought many challenges for all of us, especially for women. However, despite the challenges of the past year, women have accomplished so much and Michigan is fortunate to have so many strong women in positions of power. The leadership of Governor Whitmer in the face of threats and adversity has guided us through unprecedented times. Chief Justice McCormack’s guidance has helped the courts quickly adapt to new circumstances and implement lasting changes for the better. The election of Justice Welch to the Michigan Supreme Court provides hope for a brighter future for Michigan’s legal system. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s organization of an election involving the most votes in United States history helped protect every individual’s fundamental right to vote. These are just a few of the many examples of women succeeding in leadership positions throughout the past year.
All in all, despite everything that has happened in the past year, WLAM continues to work to advance the interest of women in the legal profession and promote equality and justice for all people, as our mission statement declares. We should all be proud of the work we have done this year and thank those, both past and present, who have supported women lawyers and WLAM along the way.