WLALA is, hands down, the best organization with which I have ever been involved. It is run by really smart, motivated women. The list of things that WLALA does is quite lengthy, and it truly offers something for every women lawyer in the Los Angeles area.
The first time I went to a WLALA event, I was impressed by the camaraderie and genuine sincerity of the women there. In the many years that I have been involved with WLALA, for me that experience has remained constant throughout. I really like and am so impressed by the caliber of women involved in the organization.
You may be in private practice, or in-house, a government lawyer, part of the judiciary, in public interest, in dispute resolution, in academics or some other area of law. Whatever your role as a woman lawyer may be, WLALA offers something for you. For example, you might be interested in your own professional development, in advancing women in the legal profession, or in community service. As a member of WLALA, you can get MCLE credits, work/life balance input, business development advice, and opportunities for mentoring for yourself or for others. Through its various committees, you can select recipients of WLALA’s scholarships and public interest grants, or help with the domestic violence project. You can evaluate candidates for judicial appointments, identify candidates for law-related awards, help write amicus briefs, or help plan WLALA’s many programs or its annual WLALApalooza fundraising event. Or you can network, simply socialize, attend fun events, or participate in the WLALA golf league. The list goes on and on.
To find out more about the things that WLALA does, I encourage you to look at the WLALA website: www.wlala.org. Under the “About WLALA” tab, check out the “WLALA Committees Overview” to see a description of what the WLALA Sections and Committees are about. Also under the “About WLALA” tab, periodically check out the “Calendar of Events” (both current and past events). And, of course, read WLALA’s monthly newsletter which describes what is going on and identifies upcoming events. I think you will be amazed to discover how much WLALA actually does.
We all have our support system of family, friends, colleagues, or those who may have taught us along the way. Yet I quickly discovered in my legal career that the only people who truly know what it is like to be a woman lawyer are other women lawyers. And sometimes it is nice to be able to go outside of your immediate circle to be among other women lawyers who are there to support you, teach you, encourage you, inspire you or befriend you. Likewise, in WLALA, you have an opportunity to support, teach, encourage, inspire and befriend other women lawyers.
I have met so many amazing women in WLALA, including those that I might not otherwise have had an opportunity to meet. As an example, my practice is primarily as a healthcare business attorney. I am not a litigator (although I work with litigators). In WLALA, I have gotten to know and become friends with women judges, prosecutors, commissioners, public defenders, public interest attorneys, arbitrators/mediators. That opportunity would not have arisen in my practice. The ability to network with and get to know lawyers in all areas of law has really enhanced my perspective of the legal industry and being a women lawyer in it. It has also helped me to develop my referral network.
Whether you might be interested in one thing, a few things, or many things about WLALA, explore and see what you think. If you haven’t attended an event lately, you should. Attend a Career Mentoring Circle meeting on the Westside or Downtown, which functions much like a support group for women lawyers and judges, or the 2015 WLALA Awards and Installation Dinner. Or contact the Co-Chair of a WLALA Committee of interest, and find out how you can help. Or attend a WLALA event and, when you check in, ask to speak to a WLALA Board member who can answer your questions about the event or WLALA, and introduce you to others. Or you can e-mail inquiries directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may just find that you would like to get more involved.
Established in 1919, this well-respected organization has been working constantly to promote and support women in the legal profession and in their lives. If you like that idea, and you want to rub elbows with some great women leaders and learn some things along the way, I encourage you to get more involved with WLALA. I know I am exceedingly happy that I did.
Linda O. Hatcher is a corporate, transactional and health care lawyer with the law firm of Theodora Oringher PC. Linda has served on the WLALA Board of Governors for more than eleven years in total. She is Co-Chair of the WLALA Outreach Committee and has served as Chair of the Business Law Section, Chair of the Business Development Committee, Co-Chair of the Doctor/Lawyer Dinner Committee, and Co-Chair of the Westside Mentoring Circle.
 Note: The career mentoring meetings are for licensed lawyers and judges; separate mentoring is provided for law students.