CWIL Women in Law Institute hosted by WLALA at Jones Day Los Angeles
Effective communication, demonstrating value, and building strategic relationships were the three skills over 60 students and recent graduates, all women, learned at the University of Texas School of Law Center for Women in Law’s (CWIL) “Boot Camp.” The women represented 11 southern California law schools. A team of 3 expert speakers and 35 faculty members, 4 of whom were men, converged on the stunning Los Angeles offices of Jones Day to train the women to communicate with impact, promote themselves, and network effectively.
Billed as “Your Pipeline to Success,” the Boot Camp provided a ‘learn by doing’ program. Students heard an expert presentation and then practiced skills with faculty, receiving immediate constructive criticism – repeatedly. Thus, Ms. Courtney Chavez, Deputy Director of CWIL, opened the concise but powerful event by educating participants on Dr. Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset research, setting the tone for participants to welcome critiques as opportunities for growth. Participants learn from practicing, watching each other, and faculty feedback. Each faculty member selects one topic for improvement for the participant based on their performance. “Such a great program for young women,” admires Megan Mayer, retired attorney and chair of the Carmel Cotillions, who served as a faculty member for the event, “the most difficult task for the faculty was focusing on constructive criticism. We were instructed not to provide positive reinforcement but to focus on one area for improvement for each participant for each task.” Thus the faculty also left their comfort zone. These brief but intensive practice sessions, mimicking brief interactions in law firm, train participants to succeed in a professional legal environment.
Ms. Vicki Land, founding member of the CWIL, now at King, Cheng and Miller, LLP in Pasadena, and Ms. Courtney R. Chavez, CWIL Deputy Director, brought the Boot Camp to southern California to benefit women in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Victoria McLaughlin, a governor of the Women’s Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Section, worked with bar associations and alumni groups to engage 35 faculty members from as far as San Diego and Pebble Beach. The result was an intensive and effective day of training for these 60 young women, and an equally educational day for the 35 faculty.
Throughout the day, Boot Camp faculty, themselves successful in their fields, were heard repeating one theme: “This is incredible. I wish someone had offered this when I graduated!” The essential skills taught at the Boot Camp will benefit these young women for the rest of their careers, giving them confidence to make a difference for the rest of their lives.
-©2016 Kathleen M. Mayer Ms. Mayer studies archaeology at the University of St. Andrews. She interns at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and the California State University Monterey Bay. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What the participants are saying
“I’m beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to meet such successful and intelligent female attorneys. I knew that attending the event would be an amazing learning and networking experience, but it truly surpassed my expectations.”
“It was a very empowering day for me. To have so many successful women attorneys, partners, judges, and general counsel in one room inspired me and gave me hope that one day I will be in their shoes…I am glad I was able to come and it got me excited again with the practice of law.”
“It was an incredibly valuable experience and I am already implementing some of the tools I have learned from the event.”
“Thank you for bringing this event to Los Angeles. The workshops were very helpful and it was encouraging and empowering to see so many practicing lawyers volunteering their time to help better the younger generation in this industry.”
“I learned so many useful skills. Once I pass the Bar, I will be the first attorney in my family. So the skills I learned Friday are things I would have never known otherwise, and I am grateful.”
The Center for Women in Law partners with organizations in different cities to host and fund the Women in Law Institute. This allows CWIL to offer the program free to all participants. Thank you to our sponsors for their generous contributions to our efforts:
Jones Day (Event sponsor)
O'Melveny & Myers (Speaker series sponsor)