J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Report of 5th Annual JRCLS Women in Law Conference

For this year’s J. Reuben Clark Law Society Women in Law conference on April 22, 2017, we were pleased to be in the home territory of our international chair, Ginny Isaacson. Melissa Richmond, D.C. Chapter WIL chair and International WIL committee member planned a roundtable discussion as a special treat this year. It was held in the beautiful law firm space of Jenner & Block’s D.C. office. Below the law office, we could see participants of a worldwide March For Science at the National Mall. We could feel the excitement of the marchers and see the myriad of signs they held. It was particularly invigorating to be discussing promoting women and advocacy against a backdrop of numerous females who were themselves promoting and advocating for a cause.

Ginny Isaacson shared that "the best thing about this event was that it attracted many women who have not previously attended JRCLS events. The roundtable was an opportunity to engage new individuals in the law society." The day started with a discussion on what barriers there are to women in the professions of law and business and how women, in general, can project confidence when often it is personally and culturally difficult and sometimes even seen as unacceptable for women to promote themselves. Three topic areas were introduced: Confidence, demonstrating your value; Advocacy, communicating with impact; and Networking, building strategic relationships.  

After this initial discussion, attendees divided into smaller groups to practice self-promotion by sharing a personal achievement. The group then discussed the importance of advocacy and the special role that women play in advocacy, after which individuals practiced an “elevator speech” on one of their own advocacy projects. The roundtable concluded with networking among the group.

A special highlight was when several of the younger attendees discussed how exciting it is to see that they now have the ability to attend professional conferences with their moms and aunts. There is real power in seeing the strength of women multi-generationally in business and law. The roundtable had three multi-generational pairs–two mother/daughter pairs and one aunt/niece pair, which for this small conference was statistically very exciting.  

I had the privilege of attending with my daughter, Anna Zimmerman, who shared with me the value she saw of the roundtable: “The JRCLS Women in Law roundtable was a wonderful opportunity to work with fellow women professionals. The opportunity to build networks across age and industry was among the most beneficial aspects. As a young business professional, I enjoyed learning about other women's career paths and how they balance their personal natures with the requirements of their fields. It was incredible to listen to so many passionate women honestly share their challenges and triumphs. I especially benefited from the opportunity to practice our elevator pitches. Given a clear template, I was able to test it on a live audience in a safe space. Throughout the conference, it was clear that each woman was able to contribute and we were made to feel comfortable in doing so. While I was on the younger side of participants, I felt confident sharing my experience and asking questions. Professional LDS Women may feel isolated as they spread across large geographic areas and varied industries, but these events serve to bridge the gap in resources and strengthen both faith and focus.”

By Angel Zimmerman, International JRCLS – WIL Chair 

Posted: May 31, 2017