WLALA mourns the death of Lorraine Loder, WLALA’s President in 1988-89, who passed on July 8, 2013. Throughout Lorraine’s over three decades practicing as an attorney, she inspired countless women to achieve excellence through her professional distinction, commitment to community and her limitless energy.
Pioneer For WLALA and Its Mission
Lorraine was an active WLALA member and board member for many years, and she served as the organization’s leader in 1988-89. She led by example with her quiet, yet powerful demeanor. She encouraged others to join WLALA’s initiatives and leadership.
Lorraine was committed to WLALA’s mission to improve the status of women in our society, including their exercise of equal rights and reproductive choice. One WLALA board member during Lorraine’s tenure recalls working late into the night, fueled by vending machine food, to put the final touches on an amicus brief for WLALA in American Academy of Pediatrics v. Van de Kamp, 214 Cal.App.3d 831 (1989). The case involved a constitutional challenge to legislation prohibiting therapeutic abortions on unemancipated minors without the consent of a parent, guardian, or the juvenile court. The case posed issues critical to the health and safety and privacy of women and girls, and Lorraine’s devotion and dry sense of humor helped push the project through to completion.
Pioneer in Solo Practice
In 1987, a time when women lawyers faced substantial challenges in the profession, Lorraine took on the risk of opening her own law firm. Focusing on bankruptcy and insolvency, business transactions and business litigation, Lorraine’s firm successfully represented individuals and businesses for over 25 years. She showed her peers, and in particular her female peers, that operating a solo practice was achievable and enjoyable, and others were encouraged to follow her lead. One close friend of Lorraine credits Lorraine for giving her the confidence and courage to open her own solo firm.
Lorraine also spent numerous hours serving as a sounding board to friends and colleagues on difficult legal issues. She was regarded as a brilliant attorney who offered an intellectual perspective to challenging problems.
Pioneer for Women and Community
Lorraine frequently shared her talents with others through bar association and community work, often focused on assisting women and girls in need. Since 2003, Lorraine was a founding board member and Treasurer of a non-profit organization called EmpowHer Institute, whose mission is to empower at-risk girls and women by helping them gain the skills necessary through education, training and entrepreneurship to seek fulfilling and productive lives. Lorraine was actively involved in setting strategy for the organization, which has grown to serve hundreds of participants each year.
Lorraine also served with Human Rights Watch, as Chair of the Individual Rights Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and as President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
Her service demonstrates what a lawyer can do for her profession and society. She inspired and encouraged others to join her efforts by showing that help was needed and it was the right thing to do.
Pioneer for Action
In addition to her professional and community achievements, Lorraine still found time for personal fulfillment and plain fun. She maintained a wide and deep circle of friends, to whom she consistently gave her love and loyalty. An avid traveler, hiker and movie enthusiast, Lorraine was both thoughtful and spontaneous in her vast array of activities. The Honorable Margaret S. Henry, one of Lorraine’s close friends, remembers that when presented with an interesting activity, trip or project, “Lorraine always said yes.” She was strong and had a huge heart, and her contributions will be remembered.