On March 18th, 2016, CAUSE hosted Women in Power: Leadership in Law & Justice at Omni Los Angeles Hotel. Over 200 people attended to learn from the prestigious panel featuring some of California’s top legal leaders.
The Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California, Supreme Court of California, the first Asian-Filipina American and the second woman to serve as the state’s Chief Justice
The Honorable Jackie Lacey, District Attorney, County of Los Angeles, the first woman and first African-American to serve as the LA County District Attorney
The Honorable Holly J. Fujie, Superior Court Judge, County of Los Angeles, served as the moderator for the program.
While half of the law school graduates are women, women are still largely underrepresented both in private law firms and public legal professions. The National Association of Women Lawyers reported that only 8% of equity partners are women. Additionally, the percentages of women and minorities in judgeship and the public prosecutorial professions are also not proportionate with the diversity of our communities.
Each of the panelists shared their motivations, pivotal moments, as well as the challenges they had endured.
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and District Attorney Lacey shared what it was like for them when they first started off as young lawyers. While they agreed it was a challenging time to be a woman of color in the field of law and justice, they also strongly believed that the experience has greatly contributed to their excellence, endurance and their sense of humor.
District Attorney Lacey vividly recounted what it was like when people were surprised to find out the Los Angeles County District Attorney was her- a minority woman. “We love it,” commented District Attorney Lacey when recalling the moments when she and her team broke that stereotype.
Besides their common experience as women of minority navigating the justice system, Judge Fujie also noted that they are both in happy and long-standing marriages with wonderful children. When asked how young women can achieve success in law as well as motherhood, the Chief Justice encouraged, “bring your children with you! You will empower other women and men to be relaxed about the fact that, yes, we all have families and we know it is our first priority.”
When providing advice to aspiring leaders, both the Chief Justice and the District Attorney encouraged young professionals to attend programs like Women in Power to connect with like-minded individuals and expand their professional networks.
Here are some of the discussion highlights:
“It is great to be a first, I celebrate firsts and admire firsts. But make no mistake about it, the Chief Justice and I also want to be the BEST that there is ever been,” – The Honorable Jackie Lacey, District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
“Be bold and don’t be afraid to fail. The only things I would change is to do things sooner, be braver and be able to laugh about it sooner,” – The Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California, Supreme Court of California
The audience enjoyed the heartfelt personal accounts and stories that these leaders shared. CAUSE is proud to continue the Women in Power program’s tradition of inspiring and empowering the next generation of women leaders rise to positions of power.
This program was made possible due to the generous support of:
Supporting sponsors included:
Daniel H. Deng, Paul R. Kiesel, Brian Sun, Luan Tran, and Debra Wong Yang