President's Message

Mary McKelvey

WLALA President 2021-2022

My heart is broken and my mind cannot quite process the fact that the majority of people in this country no longer have a recognized constitutional right to govern our own bodies … and this may be just the beginning of a slide backwards that I previously considered unfathomable.

Mary McKelvey, WLALA President Tweet

The Dawning of a Dark Era

President’s Message, July 2022

It is hard to grasp the enormity of the Dobbs decision issued just one week ago. I have experienced a variety of emotions in its aftermath including overwhelming sadness, despair, and a sense of real fear for my own safety and that of my daughter and granddaughters, as women’s rights have been dealt a devasting blow. My heart is broken and my mind cannot quite process the fact that the majority of people in this country no longer have a recognized constitutional right to govern our own bodies … and this may be just the beginning of a slide backwards that I previously considered unfathomable.

Forced pregnancy violates enumerated constitutional rights (the Thirteenth Amendment’s protection of bodily autonomy and the Fourteenth amendment’s defense of privacy and freedom) but five unelected justices just eviscerated these fundamental rights by declining to follow decades of precedent and substituting, in its place, their personal, selective and opportunistic interpretations. The clear writing on the wall is that other fundamental civil liberties are at risk of being similarly gutted.

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Inner City Law Center

Inner City Law Center (ICLC) fights for housing and justice for low-income tenants, working-poor families, immigrants, people who are disabled or living with HIV/AIDS, and homeless veterans.  As the only full-time legal-services provider located on Skid Row, ICLC advocates for equitable housing policies and provides legal services to prevent and end homelessness.

The Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) has not only served as a dedicated pro bono partner on ICLC’s housing work, but the WLALA Foundation has also sponsored WLALA fellows to work with ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project on issues affecting women veterans, including those who have been victims of military sexual trauma, as well as with ICLC’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project, where they address a variety of legal issues that create barriers to stable housing.

These exceptional WLALA fellows have passionately worked alongside ICLC attorneys to reduce barriers to income and housing stability for Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable residents. 

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Fiammetta Piazza’s path to being a transactional associate at Polsinelli LLP is as circuitous as it is interesting. A dual citizen of Italy and the U.S., Fiammetta was born and raised in Italy while spending extensive time in the U.S. After graduating high school, she decided not to continue on her path as a professional ballet dancer and moved to Milan where she attended Bocconi University School of Law. Upon graduating, she and her family moved to Los Angeles permanently and Fiammetta earned an LLM from UCLA and a JD from Loyola Law School. 
 
Fiammetta, whose name means “little flame,” has put her three law degrees to good use by bringing her unique perspective to bear for her clients.