NAWL INITIATIVES & ADVOCACY
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (ERA)
On March 6, 2020 the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) approved a resolution affirming NAWL’s steadfast support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution.
The ERA states simply that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Aiding in the passage of the ERA directly serves NAWL’s mission of providing leadership, a collective voice, and essential resources to advance women in the legal profession and advocating for the equality of women under the law. More Information>>>
On July 1, 2020, NAWL joined the Women’s Movement Amicus Brief in Support of the Equal Rights Amendment with 52 Women’s and Social Justice Groups including the ERA Coalition, the Feminist Majority, TIME’S UP, YWCA, NOW, Black Women’s Roundtable, Voto Latino, League of Women Voters, Legal Momentum, Hadassah, Union Theological Seminary, and others. Read the brief>>>
Over 150 years have passed since our civil war and the end of slavery, yet this country has yet to fulfill the hard-won promise of civil liberties and equality under the law. As a nation we must all come together and demand that those charged with enforcing our Constitution and laws be the standard bearers of that promise. Only when every American feels safe and that they have the same rights to live in dignity and equality will that promise be realized.
Heeding the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that it is “not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around,” NAWL renews our commitment to advocate for justice and equality for all. NAWL stands unified with other organizations supporting the principle of equal justice for all and the uniform application of the rule of law regardless of color, gender, race, religious or political affiliation. We call upon our leaders to ensure that states and localities fulfill the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of due process and equal protection for all. We call upon our members and the legal profession to join us and employ the knowledge, skills, and values we have as lawyers to implement strategies that will eradicate systemic racial injustice.
NAWL's Statement and Call to Action in Response to the Murder of George FloydJune 1, 2020: We write to you with heavy hearts as our nation has once again been shocked by the senseless killing of another Black person at the hands of the police. The murder of George Floyd is a reminder of the grim inequities that run rampant in our society. We are not witnessing a tear in the fabric of our democracy, but further evidence that our democracy was never fully fabricated – it has and continues to elude and exclude those who have historically been marginalized based on race, gender, or sex. These inequities are reflected in victims like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black women and men, as well as the disproportionate health and unemployment impacts of COVID-19 on the Black community. This country is at an inflection point from which we can and must collectively move forward in recognition that an injustice against one community is an affront to all of our communities. We must support one another to fight institutional racism and bigotry. Read more>>
NAWL Joins NAPABA in Denouncing Racism as We Focus on the Challenges of the CoronavirusApril 2, 2020: Seven national bar associations released a joint statement denouncing the rising number of incidents involving anti-Asian discrimination and racist remarks related to COVID-19. Calling for unity in these challenging times are the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Associations of Women Lawyers (NAWL), the National LGBT Bar (LGBT Bar), the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA North America). Learn more>>
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION
The mission of the National Association of Women Lawyers is to provide leadership, a collective voice, and essential resources to advance women in the legal profession and advocate for the equality of women under the law.
NAWL Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit for Turbulent TimesThis is a stressful time for law firms. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected firm revenues, many firms have their lawyers working remotely, and furloughs and layoffs of lawyers seem to have begun in earnest. It is essential that during these uncertain and turbulent times law firms do not make decisions that disproportionately and inappropriately affect women and people of color (POC), which has been the case in past economic downturns. This toolkit is designed to assist law firms in implementing processes and procedures that will assure their personnel decisions during these difficult times are all free of unjustified and discriminatory consequences. Read the D&I Toolkit here.
NAWL Stands with NNABA and Calls for Inclusion of Native Americans in the Legal ProfessionOn June 26th, 2020, the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) wrote The Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation in critical response to the ‘exclusion of Native American Women Law Students from “Women in Color - Law School Experiences” Study’. The issues raised in NNABA’s letter have stirred the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) to reflect and take action. Read the open letter here.
NAWL Signs Open Letter to Federal Judiciary Supporting Diversity & InclusionNAWL joined 15 leading companies and bar associations signed an open letter to the federal judiciary offering positive encouragement to members of the Judiciary to keep diversity and inclusion efforts in mind as we move into an extended period of remote work for many. Read the open letter here.
The Amicus Committee reviews requests for participation as amicus curiae in cases of interest to NAWL members. The Committee recommends appropriate cases to the NAWL President for consideration. The Committee reviews amicus briefs drafted by other organizations and considers the appropriateness of NAWL's signing on to the brief. In other cases, NAWL drafts its own amicus brief and sometimes solicits other organizations' joining NAWL in its amicus brief. Issues on which NAWL has provided amicus support includes enforcement of Title IX, employment discrimination, women's health, and domestic violence issues. More information>>
PAY EQUITY TASKFORCE
NAWL convened its Pay Equity Task Force to provide resources on the key issues that entities in the legal profession must consider as they work to identify and close any pay gaps that exist between their male and female attorneys.
ONE-THIRD BY 2020 CHALLENGE
On March 15, 2016, NAWL announced its One-Third by 2020 Challenge, calling for an increase in the representation of women across five different areas of the law. NAWL challenges the legal profession to meet the following goals by the year 2020:
• Fortune 1000 General Counsels are at least one-third women;
• Each class of new law firm equity partners is at least one-third women;
• Annual law firm lateral hires (both partners and associates) are at least one-third women;
• Law school Deans are at least one-third women; and
• Diverse female attorneys (including women of color and LBTQI attorneys) increase in every segment of the legal profession by at least one-third.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2015 the U.S. legal profession is 33% women, yet women are not represented at the top levels of practice in the same percentages.
• Women comprise only 18% of AmLaw 200 law firm equity partners. (NAWL’s Ninth Annual Survey onRetention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, October 2015.)
• Women comprise 24% of Fortune 500 General Counsel and 21.5% of the Fortune 1000. (Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 16th Annual General Counsel Survey, December 2015.)
• Women comprise 30% of deans of ABA accredited law schools. (“Female Deans Taking Charge,” National Law Journal, June 22, 2015.)
For the past 10 years, NAWL has tracked the professional progress of women in law firms and in this past year’s survey found the numbers to be virtually the same as they were a decade ago. This new challenge calls for dramatic change because if the pace is not quickened, women equity partners will not even reach the 2006 goal of 30% until the year 2181. (NAWL’s Ninth Annual Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, October 2015).