We are the WBAI. As the incoming President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, I chose this theme because I wanted to highlight the many extraordinary women who comprise our organization and the issues which, in one way or another, we all face. Our members come from large and small firms alike. We practice in different areas of the law. We are in-house counsel, judges and attorneys in transition. Our members are business owners, managing partners, new lawyers and mothers. Despite our differences, we share many of the same challenges and concerns. We expect to be paid the same as our male counterparts. As working mothers, we struggle with work/life balance. Many of us face challenges involving business development and becoming a partner in a largely male-dominated profession. The WBAI is here to offer its members insights and encouragement. We are here to support one another and together we are stronger.
I have had the good fortune in my career to work with very talented women and men who supported me and my career aspirations. I joined Hinshaw & Culbertson after law school and I spent 16 years there. I rose from associate to equity partner before deciding to “switch sides” and become a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. I opened my own firm 7 years ago. As a managing partner of my own law firm, I had to develop and strengthen my business skills in addition to my legal skills. While my practice was evolving, I raised three children and I had to navigate the challenges of a legal practice while battling perpetual guilt about being a working mom. Now, almost 30 years into my practice and with my youngest daughter graduating from high school this year, I asked all of my kids on Mother’s Day whether they would have wanted me to be a stay at home mom. They assured me or perhaps reassured me that they would not have had it any other way. Along this legal journey, there have been many WBAI members who shared my worries and concerns. They were there for me and I couldn’t have made this journey without them. I would not be the incoming President without their unwavering support and guidance.
In the coming year, the WBAI’s programs will focus on career development, including business development and networking opportunities, negotiation skills, and seminars concerning how to open a law firm and how to leave a law firm. These topics are important and relevant for women lawyers at all stages of their careers, regardless of practice area. We encourage women at all experience levels and in all practice areas to join with us, to share experiences, successes and failures as we continue to grow and develop in our practices and as we grow as an organization.
We have an amazing group of officers, directors, committee co-chairs and members who devote tremendous amounts of time to the WBAI. We hope that you will share your talents and energy with us. We also hope that the friendships you make and the experiences you have in the WBAI will lift and support you because together we are the WBAI.
Adria East Mossing
Incoming President 2016-2017
Women’s Bar Association of Illinois