It is hard to believe that I am over halfway through my term as Chair of the Section! I have thoroughly enjoyed my first six months on the job, and it has been an honor and privilege to serve our Section and our 18,000 members. And these are exciting times for the Section with the New Membership Model radically reducing dues from $450 to $75 for young members, record attendance this year at many Midwinter Meetings, the upcoming Leadership Development Program and our Second Trial Institute in September!
But perhaps the most exciting news is that on July 1, 2019, our Section Secretary, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, will become the first female Chief Judge in the 200-year history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Pallmeyer has been a phenomenal contributor to the Section for many years and an inspirational teacher of young lawyers. Judge Pallmeyer has not only spoken at many of our Annual Conferences, but she also has presided as the Judge each year for the Regional Finals of our Law Student Trial Advocacy Competition as well as our inaugural Trial Institute. As Section Secretary, she also delivered an insightful and entertaining Supreme Court Review at the 2018 Annual Conference in San Francisco. Congratulations Judge Pallmeyer on this great
Judge Pallmeyer also has been an ardent supporter of diversity on the bench and in the legal profession. Judge Pallmeyer said she is looking at this next chapter as a chance to show women that they should not give up on their dreams because determination can lead to success in a profession where there is a significant pipeline of women leaders. “Women have been in the pipeline for years and years and decades,” she said. “They do rise to leadership positions in a way that they couldn’t have 20 or 30 years ago and certainly that applies to me.”
In reflecting on this major accomplishment by our Section Secretary, it brings to mind the progress that our Section has made in promoting women and diverse lawyers to leadership positions in recent years. Currently, over 50% of our leadership positions are held by women and a record 30% are held by diverse attorneys. It was so great to see so many diverse attorneys attend our Annual Conference and Midwinter Meetings this year! While we are never satisfied nor do we want to become complacent, it is apparent that our diversity and inclusion outreach efforts are not just gaining traction but also delivering in making our Section more representative of the members it serves.
Our Leadership Development Program (LDP) is one of the programs that the Section developed a number of years ago to provide a vehicle for women and diverse attorneys to
The Section also continues to partner with diverse bar associations on CLE programs and other projects to build bridges between the membership of those organizations and the Section and create a pipeline of diverse Section members. The 2019 Trial Institute will be co-sponsored once again by Chicago Kent Law School and the National Employment Law Council (NELC), a minority bar association comprised of prominent
Finally, as our 2019 Midwinter Meeting season is winding down, I would like to extend my congratulations to our Standing Committee Co-Chairs for putting on a series of extremely successful programs. I attended many of these meetings and observed firsthand the extraordinary quality of the presentations, and I had the opportunity to meet and have meaningful conversations with EEOC Commissioners, the General Counsel and Members of the NLRB and many other
National Symposium on Technology in Labor and Employment Law
International Labor and Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting
Both promise to be excellent meetings, and if you have not already attended a Midwinter Meeting this year, I urge you to sign up for one of these meetings. I can assure you that these two meetings will not disappoint!