Virginia Tate Isaacson Reflects on Her Service as International Chair
As she prepares to pass the leadership torch to Stephen L. West at the annual Leadership Conference in late September, Virginia Tate Isaacson, International Chair of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, spent a few minutes with the JRCLS Newsletter reflecting on her service and developments in the Law Society during her two-year term.
When Isaacson took over as chair, her predecessor, Jeremiah Morgan, encouraged her to attend as many regional conferences as possible. Isaacson followed that advice and has had the opportunity to interact with many Law Society members throughout the United States and the world. Associating with these members has been very inspirational and meaningful to her. To name just one example, she had the blessing of participating in the inaugural JRCLS Regional Conference in Mexico City in January 2017. Speakers at the conference included Elder Dallin H. Oaks and other leaders and dignitaries. Isaacson was inspired by the enthusiasm of the attendees. For many, the conference was their first experience with the Law Society, as well as their first opportunity to interact with other LDS attorneys. She feels that the JRCLS mission statement "speaks to the moral people of Mexico," where the number of JRCLS chapters has grown rapidly from one to eleven in only two years. Non-LDS attorneys have also been drawn to the Law Society in Mexico, as they are attracted by the values it promotes. It was a powerful experience for Isaacson to connect with these attorneys unified by faith and a common desire to promote virtue and ethics.
The Law Society continued to grow in other countries as well during Isaacson's term. Brazil added additional chapters. The United Kingdom and Ireland hosted their first regional conference in 2016. Chapters in Africa remained strong. Although members in Africa are spread over a large area, the chapters are organized and meet regularly. The Africa West Chapter recently held its eighth regional conference. Increases in the availability of the Atkin Scholarship funds have also helped build the Law Society internationally. The scholarship, awarded to chapter leaders living outside the United States and Canada, has enabled more international leaders to attend the annual JRCLS Leadership Conference where they receive training that assists in building their local chapters.
Under Isaacson's leadership, a second JRCLS religious liberty award was instituted. Earlier this year, the first Thomas L. Kane Religious Freedom Award was presented at the annual conference in Philadelphia. The award, presented to individuals who uphold and defend religious freedom, is named after Kane, who, although of a different faith, was an influential advocate for the LDS Church in the early days of the Church's history. This new award will now be given annually, in addition to the International Religious Liberty Award which is presented each year at a Washington D.C., Mid-Atlantic Chapter event.
Ginny Isaacson with husband Tom
Ginny Isaacson with husband Tom
Additional efforts to expand the reach of the Law Society under Isaacson’s leadership include the creation of a new Judges' Committee and continued outreach efforts to strengthen student chapters.
Isaacson feels that she has been blessed in many capacities through her involvement in the Law Society. She has had the privilege to associate with "amazing men and women who are doing wonderful things in their professional, church, and community capacities." She has grown spiritually and developed leadership skills from her interactions with many exemplary people in the JRCLS. The Law Society has also opened up doors for her to be involved in her local community, giving her the opportunity to stay abreast of current legal issues such as religious freedom, and providing opportunities to interact with attorneys and judges.
For those who would like to get involved in the Law Society, Isaacson advises participating with your local chapters to help build local presence. There are many ways to volunteer, whether it is serving on the board, or participating in service or other events. The local chapters are the foundation of the Law Society, and she encourages anyone who is interested, particularly younger members, to reach out and get involved. "You are never too young to get involved, and many chapters have actually been revitalized by younger members."
The members of the Law Society have been blessed by Isaacson's service and dedication.
By Wendy F. Jerdon, Media Committee
Posted: September 26, 2017