WLALA's 2012 Doctor/Lawyer Dinner: "When Personal Choices Have Public
Consequences: Can Women Doctors and Lawyers Effectively Have It All?"
by Courtney A. Powers
Dr. Karen Sibert provoked a fury of debate last summer among the medical community, blogosphere and professional women across the country with the publication of her op-ed—“Don’t Quit This Day Job” in the New York Times. Sibert argues the impending shortage of physicians in America and public investment in a finite number of medical school slots compels women physicians to stay fully committed to their profession, rather than working part time or leaving medicine altogether. Sibert—a working mother of four children—cites data demonstrating that female physicians see fewer patients than their male counterparts, and that the number of women doctors working part-time and taking extended leave is significantly greater than men.
Sibert’s argument re-opens a debate about work-life balance in the context of a medical profession that fulfills a growing public health need. This debate also resonates in the legal profession, where women do not participate at the same rate as men, particularly in the upper echelons of the profession.
WLALA’s Annual Doctor/Lawyer dinner on April 25th will provide a unique forum for doctors and lawyers to engage in an honest discussion about the role of women in both professions, and how to best forge solutions necessary to help all professional women balance personal choices with professional responsibilities that fulfill critical public needs. Dr. Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, will be joined by co-panelists Kate Anderson, a children’s rights attorney who led an effort to start the first child care center sponsored by a law firm west of the Mississippi; Dr. Donna Elliott, an Associate Professor and Dean for Student Affairs at USC’s Keck School of Medicine; Dr. Sheila Forman, a licensed clinical psychologist and attorney; and Judge Holly Fujie of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The event will be moderated by WLALA’s Co-Chairs Linda Hatcher, of Theodora Oringher PC, and Courtney Powers, of Daughters of Charity Health System.
Topics of discussion will include the different qualities women bring to the professions of medicine and law and to those they serve; the impact of having fewer women serve in both professions from a public policy standpoint; the personal and economic impact on the women who remain in or leave the professions; the importance of mentoring and being role models for young women doctors and lawyers, and developing child care options and compensation arrangements that help women manage family obligations and their careers with other personal and professional interests.
The dinner will take place at the Olympic Collection, 11301 W Olympic Blvd, at 6 p.m. 1.5 hours of MCLE general credit will be provided. Tickets are $60 for WLALA members; $75 for non-members; $80 for anyone at the door; $40 for students; and $300 for a sponsor package, which includes 4 tickets and recognition at the event. Purchase tickets at www.wlala.org or (213) 892-8982.
Courtney A. Powers is chair of the WLALA Doctor Lawyer Dinner Committee. Ms. Powers is the Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs for the Daughters of Charity Health System.