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Ms. JD "Stand Up! Stand Out!" Conference
By Rachel Schwartzman

On April 1st and 2nd, 2011, Ms. JD hosted its fourth annual conference on Women in the Law, called "Stand Up! Stand Out!" The two-day conference focused on developing skills and knowledge that young lawyers need to distinguish themselves and succeed in the legal profession. The first day of the conference consisted of several panels and workshops, focusing on communication, self-promotion, and networking skills. The second day consisted of an intensive student session, in which detailed career planning and student leadership opportunities were explored. Throughout the various sessions, a wide range of practitioners and professionals from large firms, government institutions, and consulting firms provided invaluable information, training opportunities and personal experiences.

Second and third year law students from across the country participated in this two-day intensive conference at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, CA. Students were encouraged to apply the practical skills they learned during the panels and lectures in simulation exercises in the workshops and planning sessions. Students were also encouraged to share experiences, ideas, and strategies with each other, in an effort to create a cohesive, national network of emerging female leaders.

Ms. JD is a non-profit organization "dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession." The organization provides a forum to discuss the unique challenges, celebrate the achievements, and facilitate the profile of women leaders in the legal profession. The goals of Ms. JD and the themes expressed in its annual conference are extremely important. Although women graduate from law school in nearly equal numbers to men, they are sorely lacking in leadership positions. In fact, women comprise only 16% of equity partners at major law firms and less than 3% of the top earners at those firms. These disproportionate statistics are not limited to the private sector. Women comprise only 33% of the Supreme Court justices, 22% of the federal judiciary, and 26% of state court judicial positions. By applying the principles and skills highlighted by the Stand Up! Stand Out! Conference, women can help insure that our generation makes significant strides to combat this longstanding gender gap.

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