Still on the Road
Reports that I have been lost on an exotic photographic exploration of the Midwinter Meeting locations are premature and false. I am still in the field and meeting the tremendous volunteers who work quite diligently for our Section and a number of government officials, including board and commission members, agency directors, and government attorneys who have attended the meetings. They give our members a special opportunity to hear them speak on issues involving their agencies and to have one-on-one conversations. This is clearly a key advantage . . . [ More ]
Thinking Creatively About Diversity Speakers
After attending for many years the ABA's Section of Labor and Employment Law midwinter meetings, one cannot help but notice a common theme. The meetings are consistently characterized by dynamic speakers who bring a rich diversity of perspectives to important issues in today's legal practice. The first step to a successful ABA meeting is the kick off event--a diversity reception, intended to increase access to the ABA's programming, expand the network of contacts for all participants, and identify future potential presenters.
The diversity reception is also an opportunity for reflection on our legal profession today. Holding this event at the very outset of the meeting puts in the forefront the barriers to access that have broken down as well as those that remain. The locale of this year's midwinter meeting of the Ethics & Professional Responsibility Committee presented a unique opportunity to spur this type of reflection. Because the meeting took place in Los Cabos, Mexico, the committee leadership decided to invite a local attorney as a feature speaker at its diversity reception. After all, what better way to reflect on the progress in opening up access within our own bar than to place it into an international context?
As our feature presenter, the committee selected attorney Laura Bueno (seen in photo between Christopher Lage and Matthew Marca), a partner at Bufete Troncoso in Los Cabos, specializing primarily in representing real estate developers and investors. After starting her career as a paralegal and becoming one of the first female junior partners at a firm in Mexico City, Ms. Bueno and her attorney husband came to Los Cabos to found their own firm along with two other partners. The firm is now the largest in Baja California Sur, with Ms. Bueno functioning as managing partner while parenting two young children. Weaving together a local legend about the hard-working women of Baja California Sur in Cortez's time with the progress of women in modern Mexican society, Ms. Bueno told a highly personal story of her own experiences in the legal profession. Her remarks made clear that she is driven to succeed in her legal practice while preserving the strong Mexican tradition of family. Equally clear was her keen awareness that her success would not have been possible a generation ago, and that her access to the profession was greatly enabled by the happenstance of her birth into a multi-generational family of successful male attorneys.
Ms. Bueno's remarks not only provided us with new knowledge and insight, but also provoked us to think about change within our profession and the immense value of bringing rich, diverse perspectives to the practice of law. If you have the opportunity to influence themes for a diversity event at an ABA meeting, consider featuring the personal story of an attorney who broke barriers to achieve success in a legal system outside the U.S.
Christopher Lage, Public Co-Chair, Ethics & Professional Responsibility Committee