The National Bar Association, Women Lawyers Division, Philadelphia Chapter (WLD) was formed to address the challenges to advancement in the legal profession faced by women of color in the Philadelphia area, including minimized opportunities to form networks and find mentors with similar interests and backgrounds. While strides have been made since 1927 when Sadie T. M. Alexander became the first black woman to become a member of the Pennsylvania Bar, the organization continues to be relevant as women of color still find themselves facing unique obstacles to career advancement in the legal profession. The WLD continues its efforts in advancing diversity in the city's law schools, law firms and corporations through its scholarship programs, continuing legal education seminars, community service projects and networking opportunities.
Recognizing that throughout history, African-American women lawyers have made substantial contributions to the legal profession, and that, as African-American women lawyers, we have a special concern for African-American women generally, the National Bar Association, Women Lawyers Division, Philadelphia Chapter, dedicates itself to continuing this tradition by creating an environment which maintains professional competence and integrity, providing a vehicle for increasing the number of African American women lawyers, fostering personal and business support networks, promoting entrepreneurial ventures, and elevating African-American women lawyers into strategic positions of power.
The objectives of the WLD are to:
· Assist in fostering and sustaining a viable presence for African-American women attorneys throughout the Philadelphia area;
· Provide aid to women of color in their efforts to obtain legal education, bar admission and employment; and
· Foster interaction with other bar associations and to recognize the efforts and achievements of members of the legal community.
Since its founding, the WLD has been actively accomplishing its objectives. One of our most important projects is the Annual Scholarship Luncheon where the Juanita Kidd Stout Tuition and Sadie T.M. Alexander Book Fund Scholarships are awarded to law students from area law schools. The annual event also affords us the opportunity to publicly recognize a distinguished member of the bar through presentation of the Doris May Harris Image Award.
We envision in the years ahead a continuing effort to make a difference to our membership, our profession and our community.
"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."