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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014

President’s Message Robin L. Burrell; Najjar, Denaburg P.C. From the President The BBA Women Lawyers Section celebrates 20 years! of you unfamiliar with this Award, it recognizes and honors attorneys who have actively paved the way for the success and advancement of women lawyers. Past recipients include Judge Inge Prytz Johnson (2006), Ann Huckstep (2007), Edgar M. Elliott, III (2008), Professor Pamela H. Bucy (2009), Carol Ann Smith (2010), and Judge Caryl M. Privett (2011). In addition, the Section’s Annual Meeting in November of 2014 will include an event giving special recognition to the Section’s origins and earlier days. As is true with so many groups, we need look to the past in order to fully appreciate today’s Women Lawyers Section. In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was ongoing debate about whether we needed a women’s section of our Bar, and there were strong opinions on each side of the argument. There were divergent views on this question, but the short answer was that female lawyers had historically faced many issues, and still do today, that are peculiar to their multi-tasking roles. More so than now, women attorneys were faced with working full time while juggling many tasks at home, often acting as the primary caretaker of one or more children. Furthermore, and until somewhat recently, we were often severely outnumbered by men in courthouses, conference rooms, and law firms. Unlike today, many of those men were married to women who did not work outside the home. Thus, even the men who encouraged the growing number of women attorneys had difficulty fully understanding our multi-tasking lives. There were some (but not many) role models and mentors, and there was an increasing need for women lawyers to share their everyday experiences in an open environment that was receptive to “trials and tribulations,” and where women felt free to express their opinions, frustrations and thoughts. Front Row, L-R, Robin Burrell, Judy Crittenden, Patricial Mandt Prather; Back Row, L-R, Gaile Pugh Gratton, Eunice Morrow, Ann Robertson, Cathy Wright, Martha Jane Patton, Carol Ann Smith Twenty years ago, the Women Lawyers Section of the Birmingham Bar Association was established. Creation of the Section culminated years of debate and work by many members of the Bar. The founding members, some of whom are seen in the accompanying photograph, worked hard in forging an operating format that continues today. I had the good fortune to be the first Chair of the Section, but was merely one of numerous women who helped to shape it. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the commitment and work that former President Bill Clark dedicated to the process of obtaining the support of the Bar and necessary by-law amendments. This year, Tameka Wren chairs the Section, and in its tradition of hard work, the Section has planned some outstanding events to recognize this 20th anniversary. These events include panel discussions and the release of a commemorative booklet about the Section’s history. Earlier this year, Section members were encouraged to “come out to share great stories, good food,  good drinks and  remember yesterday, relish in the present, and look forward to the future in the company of some pretty fantastic and fabulous women lawyers” at Highlands Bar and Grill, the site of several early formative meetings. In the early Fall, the Section will host the Nina Miglionico “Paving the Way” Leadership Award ceremony. For those 8 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014
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