Women Lawyers at Patterson (WLAP) was created in the Spring of 2006, following a discussion at a monthly Associates Committee meeting about the need for women lawyers at the firm to have a forum and affinity group to address issues of professional development, internal and external networking, and firm issues that might resonate particularly with women lawyers. The idea was met with uniform enthusiasm from partners and associates. Shelly Korman, the then managing partner of the firm, convened a few women partners, associates and counsel for the first meeting, and WLAP was born.
WLAP organizes bi-monthly gatherings for the women of the firm. The agenda for each gathering is set by a shifting group of volunteer WLAP steering committee members. Each volunteer planning group serves for 3-4 meetings and then the responsibility is rotated to a new group. Laura Butzel acts as the partner chair. Since 2006, WLAP gatherings have included:
- Informal dinners and get-togethers at partners' homes;
- Practical workshops on communication and business development for women lawyers;
- Panels of women partners and counsel discussing their career decisions and trajectories; and
- A group conversation with the woman President of the City Bar Association.
Each year, WLAP also schedules at least one informal, social event and one substantive gathering to include summer associates.
"As a young woman entering the legal profession, I was fortunate to find some wonderful mentors, both female and male, at Patterson. They took a sincere interest in my career development and have supported my endeavors even after I moved on to other things."
— Kim Sweet, Executive Director, Advocates for Children
"WLAP has promoted an open conversation among women lawyers about many issues, ranging from discussions about different career paths taken by women lawyers, to the importance of mentoring and support networks. Most importantly, WLAP has encouraged the point of view that there are countless paths for women lawyers to take as professionals, and that time spent listening to and learning from one another enriches all of our professional lives."
— Lisa E. Cleary, Partner