The PBA Commission on Women in the Profession was established in 1993 by PBA President H. Robert Fiebach to involve more women in PBA leadership roles and to explore issues affecting women in the law. Since that time, the Commission has grown from 60 members to well over 700, making it the largest committee within the PBA today.
The Commission on Women in the Profession shall assess the current status of women in the legal profession and identify barriers that prevent them from full participation in the work, responsibilities and rewards of the profession; make recommendations to the PBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates for action to solve problems the Commission identifies and develop educational programs to address discrimination against women lawyers and the unique problems they encounter in pursuing their professional careers.
WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION (WIP) GOALS
Our goals are to promote diversity among our membership and in the profession, to further meaningful relationships and connections via networking and mentoring, and to focus on the unique issues that female attorneys face. We are dedicated to providing a voice for women within the PBA and its Board of Governors and providing women lawyers with a meaningful venue for exchanging experiences.
- Networking Opportunities with other engaging women lawyers who offer a wealth of experiences and expertise in numerous areas of the law
- Continuing Legal Education Credits at an affordable price during any one of the exceptional education programs offered throughout the year
- Mentoring Program
- Referral Networks
All PBA members are eligible to join the Women in the Profession Commission, with no separate fee assessment. The work of the Commission is accomplished by its subcommittees, reporting to the Commission’s Executive Council. The full Commission meets three times per year,once by conference call, at an annual retreat and at the PBA Annual Meeting. Get the most out of your PBA membership by joining the Commission at no additional cost.
ANNUAL WIP EVENTS
- Spring Conference held in the spring of each year in various locations across the state.
- Annual Conference held in the spring as part of the PBA Annual Meeting. Location varies.
- Fall Retreat held in October or November of each year. Location varies.
WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION (WIP) COMMITTEES
If you are interested in joining any of the committees listed, please complete the sign-up form below.
Annual Conference Committee
The Annual Conference committee shall plan an Annual Conference and shall propose programs for said conference consistent with and in furtherance of the Commission's mission. All program proposals shall be submitted for prior approval by the Executive Council. Upon approval, the committee shall manage all affairs related to the Conference, including but not limited to, fundraising activities. All proposed fundraising plans shall be submitted for prior approval by the Executive Council.
The Awards Committee shall, consistent with and in furtherance of the Commission's mission, solicit, consider and recommend nominees for awards within the profession and general communities. All such recommendations are to be submitted to the Executive Council for its consideration and approval. Specifically, the Awards Committee shall, according to criteria established by the Commission, solicit nominees for the Anne X. Alpern Award and the Lynette Norton Award and shall recommend and award recipient for each Award to the Executive Council for its consideration and approval. . In addition, the Committee may, in its discretion, honor law firms, legal organizations and/or law departments that demonstrate a continued commitment to the promotion of women with the WIP Award for the Promotion of Women in the Law. Information about the awards can be obtained here.
The goal of the Book Group is to encourage small, independent group discussions with fellow WIP members at the local level, as well as during special segments of the Fall Retreat and Annual Conference. The group will periodically review and choose one book to recommend to the WIP membership for reading and discussion at various events and localities throughout the year.
The Communications Committee shall plan, implement and oversee the public relations activities of the Commission, including but not limited to, placing articles and information about the Commission and its activities in the media and in publications of the PBA. The Communications Committee shall implement said activities only with the prior approval of the Executive Council. The Executive Council, in consultation with the Commission, may in its discretion appoint the following subcommittees: Newsletter; Networking Directory; List Serv; and Website. The newsletter, Voices and Views, may be viewed on the WIP website at here.
The Diversity Committee works to create a culture within the WIP and the PBA that effectively values diversity and fosters inclusion. The Diversity Committee aims to promote the full and equal participation of women of all backgrounds in the WIP, the PBA, the legal profession and the justice system in general. In order to achieve this mission, the Diversity Committee will engage in proactive outreach to encourage women of all backgrounds to join the WIP, encourage (recruit, retain and engage) women of all backgrounds to participate fully in the WIP and the PBA, and assist women of all backgrounds to develop as leaders within the WIP, the PBA, the legal profession and the justice system.
The Governance Committee shall consider matters, and make recommendations to the Executive Council, related to the governance, including the policies, operating procedures and other procedures, of the Commission, the Executive Council, the Committees, subcommittees, and ad hoc Committees. The Governance Committee shall be responsible for ensuring accurate records of said policies and procedures in a form readily usable by the Executive Council and other interested persons.
The Committee will be a forum where members can discuss federal, state, or local policy issues of interest. This committee may work in consultation with the PBA Legislative staff. Actions may include a recommendation to the WIP Executive Committee to pursue a PBA House of Delegates recommendation to the WIP membership to pursue personal action. This committee shall be responsible for drafting any necessary recommendations and supporting reports to the PBA House of Delegates.
The Membership Committee shall be responsible for making recommendations for appointments to the Commission. In making such recommendation, the Membership Committee shall identify persons who have demonstrated their commitment to the mission of the Commission and shall give appropriate consideration to the goal of diversity within the membership of the Commission and the PBA. The Committee shall make its recommendations to the Executive Council.
This Committee establishes and oversees the WIP Mentoring Program, which pairs new attorneys with accomplished attorneys. The mentoring relationship provides support and guidance to new women lawyers on topics including career development, leadership, and networking. The program focuses on the individual needs of new lawyers by establishing for them a meaningful partnership with an established practitioner. For mentors, it offers the opportunity to provide support and encouragement to new lawyers and future leaders of the WIP and the profession.
The Nominations Committee shall make recommendations for the appointment of the Chair or Co-Chairs of the Commission (and Vice-Chair or Co-Vice Chairs as the case may be). These recommendations are to be submitted to the Executive Council for approval. The process by which the Nominations Committee makes such recommendations shall include a timely call for nominations and a process of active recruitment. The Nominations Committee is also authorized to make recommendations for the appointment of the Secretary, Assistant Secretaries and Treasurer. These recommendations are to be submitted to the Chair or Co-Chairs and the Executive Council for its information and approval.
Promotion of Women Committee
The Promotion of Women Committee shall, consistent with and in furtherance of the mission of the Commission, consider matters and engage in activities related to the overall status of women in the legal profession. The Promotion of Women Committee shall implement any activity only with the prior approval of the Executive Council. The Executive Council, in consultation with the Committee, may, in its discretion, appoint the following subcommittees: Professional/Personal Leadership Development/Business Development; Women in Leadership; PA/Local Bar Associations; Elected and Appointed Judicial and Political Positions; and Mentoring Program.
Public Service Committee
This Committee promotes and provides service opportunities for WIP members and identifies and provides support for programs that enhance the health, well-being and power of women in our membership, our communities and our world. Task force activities have included participation in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure, food drives to benefit food banks and clothing drives for the Dress for Success organization.
Quality of Life Committee
The Quality of Life Committee shall consider matters relating to gender equity and flexibility within the workplace. The Executive Council, in consultation with the Committee, may, in its discretion, appoint the following subcommittees: Resource and Clearinghouse of Available Programs; and Alternative Work Schedules.
Report Card Committee
The Report Card Committee shall monitor issues related to the careers, advancement and status of women lawyers within the PBA and the Commonwealth, including but not limited to judicial, legislative and political office and other organizations appointments. The Report Card Committee shall report at least twice a year to the Executive Council concerning its work. The Report Cards, may be viewed here.
The Retreat Committee shall plan an annual Retreat and shall propose programs for said Retreat consistent with and in furtherance of the Commission's mission. All program proposals shall be submitted for prior approval by the Executive Council. Upon approval, the Committee shall manage all affairs related to the Retreat, including but not limited to, fundraising activities, if any. All proposed fundraising plans shall be submitted for prior approval by the Executive Council.
Spring Conference Committee (formerly the Midyear Meeting Committee):
The Spring Conference Committee shall organize and schedule the Spring Conference held every spring in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Mechanicsburg and any other location(s) as may be feasible. The Committee shall propose themes for said Conference consistent with and in furtherance of the Commission's mission. All Conference proposals shall be submitted for prior approval by the Executive Council. Upon approval, the Committee shall manage all affairs related to the Conference.
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Commission on Women in the Profession
Committee Sign-Up Form
Questions? Contact Ursula Marks at 1-800-932-0311, Ext. 2206