This past 2021 year has welcomed some return to normalcy while still arguably keeping us all on our toes. The pandemic may be lingering, but we have not been deterred from our mission of empowering women lawyers in the East Tennessee region. We hang tight and firm, continuing to offer our in-demand CLE as well as socializing and networking opportunities, support and sponsorship of worthwhile local organizations, and timely membership incentives, all while adapting to the new demands of this pandemic era. In fact, for our first time, we offered a hybrid virtual and in-person format at our Annual Meeting and YWCA Holiday Toiletry Drive. Led by outgoing President Allison Jackson (featured immediately below), we as an organization have continued to stay strong and involved.
Dear ETLAW members, what a year 2021 has been, but we made it here together. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our organization has persevered and grown this past year. I am humbled to have only been a small part of its continued success. Truly, our efforts were possible because of ETLAW’s dedicated and talented Board members, the generosity of our CLE presenters and the YWCA, and each and every one of YOU–our treasured members. It takes many hands to conduct the work of ETLAW, and I thank each one of you for lending yours this year.
– 2021 ETLAW President Allison Jackson
We started the 2021 year with a tribute from your ETLAW secretary, Anna Swift, to how far women have come in the legal profession, listening to the acceptance speech of our country’s first female Vice President Kamala Harris, who highlighted the significance of all of the women upon whose shoulders she has stood. In December, we ended the year with a look at employment law tips from local Knoxville attorney Caitlyn Elam. In between, we increased our awareness through presentations on lawyer mental fitness, lawyering in the new conceptual age, Internet and technology safety for lawyers, and more. We even experienced some return to normalcy when we received a legislative update in August from Historian Stephanie Coleman at our usual YWCA meeting spot. Many thanks are extended to all of our CLE presenters for donating their time and expertise in order to offer our membership at least eight CLEs for the year.
In March-April, we launched a new spotlight series in our monthly newsletter, one designed to spotlight member plants, pets, binge-worthy shows, and more. (See above photo for Alicia Teubert’s baby boy Copper, undoubtedly our ETLAW poster-child dog). We also continued to showcase members in our Member Spotlight series, starting with incoming President Kathryn Ellis and ending with member Joy Radice of UTK Law; and we shared various book recommendations in the Book Corner, including the focus of our May CLE, Daniel H. Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age.
In May, we chose to collect donations for our second year in a row for The Restoration House of East Tennessee (TRH), a local non-profit providing transitional housing and other such assistance to low-income single mothers and their children. From cutting boards to toasters to laundry baskets, we were able to provide more than 60 kitchen and laundry products to TRH through your generous support. ETLAW is grateful to support such worthy organizations.
In July, we hosted our summer social + CLE at TAPestry with local Knoxville attorney Kathryn O’Neal of Baker, O’Kane, Atkins & Thompson, who spoke to jury matters like jury composition and selection. Complete with taco bar, beverages, and welcoming fellowship, our socials can’t be beat!
In December, our board members gathered together, as with last year, to assemble toiletry care packages for beneficiaries of the YWCA’s housing project. Meeting attendees then convened at the YWCA, our cherished meeting spot, to carry out the annual meeting and to celebrate these holiday toiletry drive efforts, with much thanks from the YWCA for the 285 care packages assembled. At the meeting, member Cheryl Rice received our prestigious and annual Spirit of Justice Award for her good work in furthering women lawyers’ interests in the local East Tennessee area. Congrats, Cheryl, and everyone else who has committed to advancing our cause!
In December, at our Annual Meeting, we unanimously elected our 2022 Board of Directors. Kathryn Ellis (featured above) will serve as our 2022 president.
At the annual meeting, President Ellis, a long-time member of ETLAW, addressed the gathering and emphasized the role of adaptation for 2022, stressing that ETLAW will continue to support its members while being mindful of adaptability. Kathryn has been a member of ETLAW for approximately 11 years and was the recipient of the Spirit of Justice Award in or around 2018. She noted that the YWCA is a partner of the Knoxville Family Justice Center, where she serves as executive director. Kathryn certainly brings much valuable leadership experience to our organization!
Stay tuned for further news in upcoming newsletters and be sure to renew your membership for 2022!