Full Time Practice

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WIL Presents Award to Nancy Van Slooten at Annual Conference Reception

JRCLS WIL Chair, Karen Clemes, presents award at Reception

Nancy Van Slooten, Award Recipient, Former International Chair of JRCLS
 During JRCLS’s recent annual conference, the International Women in Law Committee (WIL) hosted a reception for all attendees.   WIL was pleased to present its first annual WIL Service Award to Nancy Van Slooten for her many years of service to JRCLS, including previously serving as the first female International Chair of the JRCLS. During the reception, WIL Chair Karen Clemes reminded attendees of WIL’s mission:  “We affirm the strength and contributions that women lawyers bring to their legal practices, communities, and families. We strive to promote fairness and equal opportunities for these women.” A major goal of WIL is to encourage full participation of women lawyers in JRCLS – whether they are practicing full-time or part-time, working in a non-legal role, or not practicing at this time – and to help them feel welcome and safe in such participation.
Conference attendees enjoy reception hosted by WIL
Delicious food served at the reception
All are invited to read about ways to promote WIL in local chapters in our previous post.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Four Ways that WIL Has Made Law School More Enjoyable

Author, Megan Nelson, with Ginny Isaacson,
Chair-Elect of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society
With law school graduation just around the corner, I’m grateful that I’ve generally—and genuinely—enjoyed these past three years.  This is true, even after many late- or all-nighters, more than a few tears, and fleeting moments of longing for the simpler days that existed before law school.  As I’ve reflected on why I’ve enjoyed law school, I largely credit my involvement with the Law Society and, specifically, with Women in the Law (WIL).  Here are just four ways that WIL has made law school more enjoyable:

WIL has given me the confidence and contacts to succeed in my career.

When I was a 1L, I wasn’t sure what I would do after law school, but I was quite certain it would not be litigation.  Deep down, I thought that arguing cases in a courtroom seemed fun, but I assumed that litigation was a no-go for someone like me who generally dreads confrontation and who values “balance.”  

My outlook changed, however, as I became acquainted with several women litigators through WIL.  While attending a regional WIL Conference as a 2L, I distinctly remember a certain panelist’s story of how she—like me—never pegged herself as a litigator.  Through guidance from a mentor and divine intervention, however, her misconceptions melted and she became a full-time—and eventually a part-time—civil litigator.  Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate to meet other women litigators through WIL who have opened my eyes to practicing litigation, through their words and by example.  (I am also very grateful for wonderful male attorneys in the Law Society who have mentored me.  I cannot overstate the value of mentors, whether female or male.)

Thanks in part to the encouragement and experiences I’ve gained through WIL, I was fortunate to land a good job after graduation that will allow me to practice both litigation and transactional law.  (In fact, it was a reference from a female lawyer that secured my initial interview for this position!)  I am grateful for WIL, which has given me the confidence and contacts to succeed in my career.   

WIL has given me opportunities to serve and develop leadership skills.
While serving as my school’s WIL representative during my 2L year, I enjoyed helping organize several events with the local WIL Committee.  Through the same role, I even had the daunting but fun opportunity to moderate a panel at a regional WIL Conference in 2013.  I’ve found these and other opportunities to be tremendously enriching.  I also recently served as student co-chair for the Annual Conference held in Phoenix.  Although not specific to WIL, I probably would not have had that opportunity without my previous experiences working with professional chapter members through WIL.  That assignment was one of the hardest projects I’ve yet undertaken, but the leadership lessons I learned were priceless. 
Author, Megan Nelson

WIL has opened doors to making new friends and maintaining ties with longer-time friends.

I have made many wonderful friends through WIL.  As a 1L, I registered for the Annual Conference held in D.C. without knowing anyone beforehand.  On the first day of the Conference, I met two women law students who also happened to live in Arizona.  We bonded over the next few days and have become even better friends over the past two years after they both coincidentally transferred to ASU.  I’m grateful for my friendship with them, and with other women who I have met through WIL.

I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how WIL has helped me reconnect with friends from the past.  At the WIL Breakfast during the 2013 Annual Conference, I was overjoyed to run into a woman who I had known from years before in Pennsylvania, whose daughters were my childhood friends.  Although I had not seen this woman in over fifteen years, I had looked to her from afar for many years as an example of a valiant mother and attorney.  Coincidentally, I ran into yet another “long lost friend” at the WIL Breakfast at the Leadership Conference in 2014.  Reconnecting with these women, and others, has been both sweet and fun.

WIL is fun.

When all is said and done, there are other organizations I might have joined during law school that would have provided mentoring, service and leadership opportunities, and friends.  However, with the demands of law school and only so many minutes in the day, I am grateful I have chosen to spend time with WIL.  Whether attending WIL-sponsored events or simply hanging out with WIL friends in non-WIL settings, I always feel a unique, uplifting energy when associating with these women.  Spending time with WIL has been a smart—and FUN—use of time during law school, and I look forward to staying involved for years to come. 

Megan Nelson is a third-year law student at Arizona State University, where she serves as executive editor of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology.  After graduating in May 2015, Megan will practice at Fabian & Clendenin in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Megan is originally from California and currently resides in Tempe, Arizona.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Women Speakers at the 2015 JRCLS Annual Conference Part 3

SARAH BARRINGER GORDON (SALLY) the Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and a Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.  She will be speaking with Professor Paul Bender of Arizona State University during the general session at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, February 13, 2015.  They will speak on the topic The New Law of Religious Freedom: Hobby Lobby and The Town of Greece Decisions.  Professor Gordon is a widely recognized scholar and commentator on religion in American public life and the law of church and state.  Her first book, The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America (Univ. of North Carolina, 2002), won the Mormon History Association’s and the Utah Historical Society’s best book awards in 2003. Her new book, The Spirit of the Law: Religious Voices and the Constitution in Modern America (Harvard, 2010), explores the world of church and state in the 20th century. She is currently working on a third book, tentatively titled The Place of Faith, about religion and property across American national history. Professor Gordon serves as co-editor of Studies in Legal History, the book series of the American Society for Legal History, and is on the boards of the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation and the McDowell-Hartman Foundation. In 2011 she received the University of Pennsylvania’s Lindback Award for distinguished teaching, and in 2004 and 2009 the Law School’s Robert A. Gorman Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2012, she was appointed a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.  Professor Gordon earned her B.A. from Vassar, her J.D. from Yale, her M.A.R. (religion) from Yale, and her Ph.D. in history from Princeton.

CHRISTY SMITH is Operations Counsel at Clear Channel Outdoor in Phoenix, Arizona. She will be speaking on Friday, February 13 at 2:30 p.m. with Aubrey Stock of Norton Rose Fulbright and Gordon Wright of Cooper & Scully. They will be speaking on the topic A New Generation of Lawyers: Practice Challenges for Women, Men and Families. Christy earned her B.A. from Arizona State University, and her J.D. in 2000 from Brigham Young University. She has been at Clear Channel Outdoor since 2012; her career highlights before that time include employment at the Arizona Department of Administration, chair for the Governor's Regulatory Review Council, Deputy General Counsel at the Office of the Governor—Janice K. Brewer, Assistant General Counsel of SunCor Development Company, and also practice with Gallagher and Kennedy, and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. She is active in several community organizations, including the Phoenix Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, where she served as past chair.
EILEEN DOYLE CRANE is the Prelaw Advisor at Utah Valley University and Coordinator of the Center for Prestigious Scholars.  She will be speaking at the presentation for students on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. with Lew Cramer, President of Coldwell Bank Commercial.  Their topic will be Networking Survival Skills.  As the founding director of the BYU Prelaw Advisement Center, Eileen helped BYU undergraduates be accepted at 170+ ABA-approved law schools in the United States.  Eileen attended J. Reuben Clark Law School, fulfilling a dream she had had since she was five years old when she used to put her name on her attorney-father’s professional cards.  She started teaching at UVU in the Legal Studies Department while in law school, teaching Culture of Law and Health Care Law.  She served as the president of the Western Association of Prelaw Advisors and the chair of the Prelaw Advisors National Council.  For the past 25 years, Eileen has presented at national and regional conferences on financial aid, career planning, and networking.  Eileen currently serves the chair of the BYU Law CSO Jobs Committee and co-chair of the Media & Outreach Committee.  She also serves as the vice-chair of Leadership Training in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, along with six other dedicated team members, as she and her committee help emerging JRCLS chapters develop into strong chapters all over the world.
JENNIFER GIFF is a member of the Gila River Indian Community.  In 2011 she joined the in-house legal staff for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community providing legal counsel and advice for the Community’s enterprises.  She will be speaking on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. with Professor Bob Miller of ASU.  Their topic will be Economic Development on Reservation Lands.  Ms. Giff earned a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1989 and received a J.D. from Arizona State University in 1995.  She served the Gila River Indian Community as in-house legal counsel from 1996 to 2010.  From 2000 to 2003 she was licensed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney to prosecute individuals committing crimes within the Community in the U.S. District Court of Arizona.   Ms. Giff has lectured at Arizona State University, American Indian Policy Institute, Tribal Financial Managers Certificate Program since 2009.  In spring, 2012 she taught Tribal Law & Government at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. 



Monday, February 2, 2015

Meet Sylvia Denise Lebaron-Ramos

Sylvia Denise Lebaron-Ramos is a solo practitioner in Kansas City, Kansas.  She focuses her practice in family law and immigration law.  She has two bachelor’s degrees—one from the Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua in Chihuahua, Mexico and a Liberal Arts degree from the University of Missouri—Kansas City—and earned her J.D. at Washburn School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in just two years.  A big thank you to Denise for answering our questions! 

What have you done since law school and where do you work now?  I completed an externship at Sharma-Crawford Law Offices in Kansas City, Missouri specializing in immigration law.  Then, while preparing for the bar exam, I worked with a Temporary License with the attorney Thomas R. Fields doing criminal and worker’s compensation cases.  After passing the bar I opened my own office in Kansas City, Kansas.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? What I enjoy the most is the people that I have the opportunity to help, the happiness on their faces when they are told that they can stay here in the U.S.A., and those who pass the citizenship examination and get their confirmation letter to their swearing-in ceremony as a U.S. citizen.  

Has your path in law differed from your original expectations? If so, in what way?  Law school was an amazing experience. When I was accepted I began making big plans for the future. When finally out and working I realized that what you learn in law school has very little to do with the actual practice of law. Realizing this has not made me change my plans of opening my own practice, it just has made it a bigger challenge than I thought it was going to be. However, thankfully I count on an amazing group of people who inspire, help and, when necessary, pick me up and keep me on my path, which already in this short year and a half has taught me so much and has only made it more clear to me that this is exactly where I am meant to be.  

What are your future professional goals?  My future goal is to grow my practice, create a law practice that is focused on immigration law and all its different angles, a practice that includes knowledgeable attorneys that deal in all the different areas of law that affect the people that are wanting to grow and establish themselves, and their families, here in the United States.  

How do you juggle your personal and professional lives? My number one priority has been my family, both during law school and every day since.  I make sure that once I have left the office and I’m headed home, I de-stress by listening to good music and keep my mind off work so that when I get home to my family I am ready to see how their day has been, spend time with them as much as I can, and always make sure that they know that they are my most precious gift on this earth. “I work to live, not live to work” are words that I have engraved in my brain.  

Tell us about your family.  I was born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico. I have 2 brothers and 6 sisters (we are 9 in total); my parents and all of my siblings and their families still live in Chihuahua. After my husband Luis and I got married; we moved to Kansas City for a job opportunity he received. This move was supposed to be for 5 years, but it has been 14. Kansas has been very good to us. Back in 2004 we were blessed with a healthy little boy, his name is Fabian, he is my world and my everyday reminder of how extremely blessed I really am. My husband and my son have been my support system through this amazing journey.  

What advice would you give to other women either interested or already working in the law?  My advice would be to ensure that your priorities are always in order, to make sure that you are happy doing what you are doing. This is not an easy career, but it so very rewarding.   I would also tell them to take the good and shake off the bad. There will be days that everything goes as planned, maybe even better. But then there are days that go so bad that you don’t want to go back the next day. Shake those bad days off, learn from them and move forward.  And always remember why you chose law, the basic reason, the real reason, and keep that in your focus. Don’t let the competitive atmosphere, the angry moments, the lost cases, or the frustrating clients make you forget.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Women Speakers at 2015 JRCLS Annual Conference, Part 2

Meet the second group of women speakers for the Annual Conference.  Register now to hear them speak in two weeks! https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1646230

Early registration ends February 1st!

AUBREY JOY STOCK is an associate at Norton Rose Fulbright US LLC in Houston, Texas.  She will speak at the General Session with Christy Smith and Gordon Wright on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.  They will be speaking on “A New Generation of Lawyers: Practice Challenges for Women, Men and Families.” Aubrey received her BA, Summa Cum Laude, in Elementary Education from Arizona State University in 2010. In 2012, she received her J.D., Cum Laude, from J. Reuben Clark Law School, where she was Senior Editor for the BYU Law Review.  She later served as an intern for the Honorable Daniel A. Barker on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One. Aubrey joined Norton Rose Fulbright in September 2013 as part of the antitrust group and has assisted with the development of global antitrust compliance policies, procedures and presentations for international clients.  She has also worked extensively with complicated eDiscovery and information governance issues with complex antitrust litigation post-government investigation. Aubrey’s other interests include running, cooking, and scuba diving.

 SHIRLEY MAYS has served as Dean of the Phoenix School of Law since August 2010 and will be speaking on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 11:00 a.m., along with the law school deans from ASU, BYU, and University of Arizona, as part of the General Session Deans Panel.  Their topic will be New Visions for Legal Education.”  Dean Mays received her undergraduate degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and her Juris Doctor from Harvard University Law School. She was formerly associate dean of academic affairs at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, where she provided administrative leadership to the academic departments of the law school, including Academic Success, Legal Writing and Legal Drafting, Bar Services, Graduate Programs, Externships and the Legal Clinic, and the Paralegal Program.  She has served on several ABA site visit accreditation teams, was a member of the Ohio State Bar Association Task Force on Legal Education, and was appointed by the Governor to the Ohio Ethics Commission where she served as the vice-chair.  Dean Mays currently serves on the boards of The Greater Phoenix Urban League and Tanner Community Development Corporation and is ex-officio on the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Arizona.  She is an active member of Links Inc., Jack & Jill of America, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
SHERI DEW is an author, publisher, and president and chief executive officer of the Deseret Book Company, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. A widely popular speaker, she will deliver the keynote address at the Dinner/Music/Dancing Gala on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 7:15 p.m. at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in downtown Tempe.  Ms. Dew is a graduate of Brigham Young University.  She joined Deseret Book in 1988, was named vice president of publishing in 1993, appointed executive vice president in 2000, and became the first woman to head the company in 2002.  She is a veteran of the LDS publishing industry, working first in 1978 as an assistant editor at Bookcraft for three years, and then for six years as an editor and associate publisher at This People Magazine.  She is the author of the biographies of Gordon B. Hinckley and Ezra Taft Benson and several best-sellers, including "If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard," "No One Can Take Your Place," "No Doubt About It," "Saying It Like It Is," and "God Wants a Powerful People."  In March 2003, the White House appointed her a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. She served from 1997 to 2002 as second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Several Women to Speak at JRCLS Annual Conference

Ten women are scheduled to speak at the upcoming J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Conference in Tempe, Arizona.  The conference will take place February 12-14, 2014 at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, located just minutes from Phoenix.  Early registration is available through February 1, 2015 at https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1646230. 

The JRCLS Women in Law Blog is featuring brief biographies of each of the women speaking at the conference over the next few weeks.  We encourage everyone to register for the conference and to go hear these amazing speakers!


REBECCA WHITE BERCH is a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court and will be speaking on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. with the Honorable Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Judge Murray Snow of the U.S. District Court of Arizona.  They will speak on the topic Are Judges Too Independent to Be Restrained?  Balancing Judicial Independence with Judicial Accountability.  Justice Berch earned her B.S., M.A., and J.D. from Arizona State University.  Since 2002, she has served as a Justice on the Arizona Supreme Court, and previously as Vice Chief Justice and Chief Justice.  In addition to her judicial experience, she has broad experience and achievement in academia, private practice, and government.  Justice Berch has served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, as Chief Deputy and Special Counsel in the Office of Arizona Attorney General, as Solicitor General for the State of Arizona,  as the Director of  the Legal Writing Program at Arizona State University College of Law, and as an associate and partner at McGroder, Tryon, Heller, Rayes & Berch. She has been actively involved in numerous judicial commissions and conferences and has received many awards for her service.


MARIANNE JENNINGS is a Professor Emeritus of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.  She will be speaking at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 13, 2015 on the topic The Intersection of Law, Ethics, and Religion.  Professor Jennings earned her undergraduate degree in finance and her J.D. from Brigham Young University.  She taught as a professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University for 35 years, retiring in 2011.  She continues to teach graduate courses as Professor Emeritus.  She is an expert in ethics and has conducted more than 500 workshops and seminars in the areas of business, personal, government, legal, academic and professional ethics. Professor Jennings has authored hundreds of articles in academic, professional and trade journals. She has served on numerous boards in areas of accounting, energy, ethics and others. 


MAREN TOBLER HANSON is a Phoenix-based attorney Tobler Law focusing in accident and injury law.  She will be speaking with Keith Hendricks during a break-out session at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 13, 2015.  They will be speaking on Going Paperless: Practical, Ethical, and Real World Considerations.  Ms. Hanson received her degree in economics from Stanford University, followed by a combined MBA and J.D. from Brigham Young University. She has worked in both law and finance at Kim & Chang in Korea, Ford Motor Company in Michigan, and Dell Computers in Texas. Ms. Hanson has passed the bar exam in Arizona, California, and Utah and now specializes in accident, injury, and medical malpractice litigation. She has initiated and implemented many ideas and methods of transitioning to the electronic age of legal practice at her firm and has widely and generously shared those ideas.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Meet Angel Zimmerman

Angel Zimmerman is an attorney and mother of four in Topeka, Kansas.  She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Women in Law Committee for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and as a leader of several other professional organizations.  Angel is the Managing Partner of Zimmerman & Zimmerman, P.A., a collections law firm.  She received her J.D. from Washburn School of Law in 2006 and her B.S. in Public Administration from Emporia State University in 1991. 


What have you done since law school and where do you work now? I bought out the senior partner at my law firm and now have my own firm with my husband.  We have 12 staff and all four kids on payroll.  Well, one is coming off to serve a mission. 

I have grown to really love being a part of organizations – especially those for women. 

I have been or am currently involved with the following organizations: Women Attorney Association of Topeka, Past-President; Kansas Women Attorneys Association, Past-President; National Conference of Women Bar Associations, board member; chair-elect for Minority and Women Business Development Council for Topeka; KBA – Law Practice Management (LPM -inaugural section president); Washburn School of Law Board of Governors (6 years) – now Adjunct Professor for LPM at Washburn Law school; etc.


What do you enjoy most about what you do? I love helping money get returned back to the economy.  I love helping creditors and I love even more working with debtors. 


Has your path in law differed from your original expectations?  If so, in what way?  Yes, I wanted to go on a mission and then law school but Larry (my husband) showed up in high school; he joined the church 6 years later so marriage and motherhood came first. 


What are your future professional goals?  Make my law firm productive and profitable and be able to bring on more associates and help more lawyers. 


How do you juggle your personal and professional lives?  I firmly believe in putting everything in the same pot.  My kids are part of my office and have been since they were little.  Church and seminary and organizations and work all know that I talk about all my activities and family as part of my entire whole.   You get me – you get all of me. 


Tell us about your family. THEY ARE AMAZING.  My kids are each other’s best friends. Weird, yes, but awesome.  I became a missionary mom on December 31, 2014.  My son will serve his mission in the Georgia Atlanta Mission.  My oldest, has been accepted to a study abroad program in Austria and will leave in February for 5 months; she loves to travel and in 2014 went to Estonia, Latvia and Cuba.  My two younger girls are a freshmen (swimmer) and junior (link crew leader) in high school. 


What advice would you give to other women either interested or already working in the law?


DO IT!!!!  The law is a demanding mistress – so no better master of it than a WOMAN.  The law can be molded to meet any need or family arrangement and the skills learned help you in everything aspect of life.  Go and Do, Don’t Sit and Stew – John Bytheway AND W.I.N – Do (w)hat’s (i)mportant (n)ow.  That changes throughout your life, let law help you with all those transitions.