President's Message - SEPTEMBER
Amy T. Brantly
WLALA President 2017-2018
As I sit down to write the first President’s Message of my new term, I am overcome by several feelings. First, gratitude to our outgoing President Stacy Horth-Neubert who paved the way for a very smooth transition and served as an incredible role model to me and all of the other members of WLALA. Stacy is one of those amazing women that inspires me in every way. It was such a pleasure to serve on her Executive Committee and I will be looking to her for counsel as my term as President begins.
Second, EXCITEMENT. I am so excited to be leading this organization that is nearly 100 years old. WLALA turns 100 in 2019! I am looking forward to working with a talented WLALA Executive Committee and two WLALA Boards comprised of 75 women lawyers who serve in government, private practice, public interest or the judiciary. Together we will work to tackle the many challenges that women lawyers face and work toward our mission of promoting the full participation of women lawyers and judges in the legal profession, maintaining the integrity of our legal system, and improving the status of women in our society including their exercise of equal rights and reproductive choice.
My theme for this year is “Be the Change.” I was always inspired by Ghandi’s words: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Like a good lawyer, I did some research on Ghandi’s words. What I discovered were multiple reports that Ghandi never spoke these exact words. Apparently, they have been modified and shortened to fit nicely on a bumper sticker or coffee mug. The closest verifiable words from Ghandi appear to be: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him . . . We need not wait to see what others do.”
So maybe the words that we attribute to Ghandi aren’t exactly accurate. But, his verifiable words and the catchy marketing phrase still resonate with me.
“Be The Change” is a call to all of us to work toward positive change in order to move women in law closer to equality. For far too long we have had to report that women are still making less than men, women are not equally represented in law firm management, and women are not being promoted to partnership (equity or non-equity) in parity with men. While tiny incremental changes are happening each year, The American Lawyer has reported that our slow incremental progress will result in women comprising only 30% of equity partners in 2081. 2081?? This rate of progress is simply unacceptable and it is the responsibility of all of us, men and women, to work to change it.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am also feeling a bit overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by the prospect of leading this organization, especially during a period of time when it feels like women’s rights are increasingly under fire. I am also overwhelmed by the state of our country and the events that recently took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is difficult to put into words what I know so many of us are feeling right now. Now, more than ever, is the time to “Be The Change.”
 The American Lawyer on the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Challenge.