WLC New Year’s Letter 2023

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Dear Member of the IBA Women Lawyers' Committee (WLC),

I hope that the year of 2022 was prosperous for you and that the new year is off to a great start!

This is certainly the case for the WLC as we reflect on all of the incredible experiences and projects that last year comprised, including hosting the 9th World Women Lawyers' Conference in Copenhagen (with around 200 participants!), hosting a lovely lunch and leading 3 insightful panels during the IBA Annual Conference in Miami, launching and promoting the very well-received Mentorship Toolkit [IBA Women Lawyers’ Committee Mentorship Toolkit launched to close gender gap in the legal profession | International Bar Association (ibanet.org)], launching our virtual WLC Networking Cafés [we hope you receive our invites from IBA Divisions], growing a large LinkedIn-group [Please write to Lucy.Leal@int-bar.org to join], and much more while already having several new initiatives in pipeline for this year. Some of which might come as a hopefully positive surprises …


Top (left to right): The 9th World Women Lawyers' Conference: Women in Leadership in Copenhagen (Sept 2022). Bottom (left to right) WLC-lead panel and lunch at the IBA Annual Conference in Miami (Oct/Nov 2022).

As Chair of WLC, I would on behalf of the entire committee really like to thank you for being one of our highly valued members and for supporting the cause, and not least the mission, vision, and goals of WLC while networking with fellow members – you are all instrumental in sustaining and developing the platform that IBA and WLC offers and views as crucial in the pursuit of levelling the gender playing field in the legal profession and inspiring leaders to work to achieve gender parity.

I would also like to express how thrilled WLC is about Almudena Arpón de Mendívil being announced as the new President of the IBA as the first woman to hold this office in 20 years and only the second in the Association’s history! We view this as a very important step on the organization's way to achieve gender equality which is strongly supported by its D&I Council.

In the following, I will provide an overview of the 2023 WLC officer changes and projects.

Firstly, I would like to introduce a new addition to the WLC senior officers (called Ex. Comm.) consisting of Vice Chair Jennifer Bishop, Co-Vice Chair Clara-Ann Gordon, and newly appointed Co-Vice Chair Masako Banno, and myself. We will continue to work intensively on spearheading the officers' united efforts to bring our committee's visions to life.

I also wish to warmly welcome our new officers Adeola Sunmola who is appointed African Region-al Forum Liaison Officer, Anne Toupenay-Schueller as European Regional Forum Liaison Officer, Akila Agrawal as Asia Pacific Regional Forum Liaison Officer, and Erika Levin as North American Regional Forum Liaison Officer. With these brilliant additional officers, the WLC continues to fulfill its strong wish to be represented globally and engage worldwide.

Lastly, I warmly thank our outgoing officers Dominika Stepinska-Duch, Gabriela Roca, and Inosi M. Nyatta for their efforts. Dominika will be heading the WLC Advisory Board going forward to ensure that its fantastic knowledge and expertise continuously serve the committee's endeavors.

This year, we will continue to work on levelling the playing field in the legal profession, inspiring leaders to achieve gender equality, and facilitating an efficient global network for women lawyers to connect and develop business and expertise. To this end, we will be developing a Sponsorship Best Practices Toolkit to be presented at the IBA 2023 Annual Conference in Paris, hosting more online Networking Cafés (we hope to see you at the next one on 2), developing a Business Case for Gender Equality and much more.

In addition, we are excited to share that the WLC will be a part of the 67th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women by setting up virtual panel (March 13), spearheaded by WLC Advisory Board member Olufunmi Oluyede. The theme of this panel is innovation and technological change, education in the digital age for achieving gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Let me end this letter by again thanking you for your commitment to WLC. We look forward to engaging with you virtually at the WLC Networking Cafés and hopefully in person at the IBA Latin American Regional Forum conference (March 22 - 24) and IBA Global Entrepreneurship Conference in Zurich (May 22-23) where WLC host a breakfast event and at the IBA 2023 Annual Conference in Paris (29 October - 3 November) where we will as usually host our WLC Monday lunch, at least 3 WLC-led panels, and a physical IBA mentoring event.

We will be in touch on 8th March (International Women's Day).

Warmest regards,

Lise Lotte Hjerrild

Chair, IBA Women Lawyers’ Committee