Welcome to the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association!

 

I am honored to serve as the President of the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association. I am grateful for the role this organization has played in both my personal and professional life. My relationship with MRWBA began when I was in law school, and requested a MRWBA mentor. My mentor invested her time in me, by giving me advice and guidance. I even obtained my first legal internship as a result of our relationship! At the time, I likely didn’t fully appreciate the full value of the MRWBA mentorship program. But looking back, I realize that one of the most important benefits was that my mentor demonstrated to me in a concrete way how I could achieve both personal and professional success.  I was emboldened by her success, and carried that confidence forward in my own career.

Following law school and a brief stint in West Virginia as a law clerk, I returned to Richmond and the MRWBA as a baby lawyer. In addition to enjoying the engaging program, I was warmly welcomed by each of the women at my table. I was hooked.  MRWBA checked both boxes for me, in that I was intellectually stimulated and felt I was furthering my career, but I also enjoined the people.  I have been fortunate to meet and develop relationships with a strong, creative, diverse, caring and smart women. Each event and each member has inspired me in different ways: to do better, think harder, and care more.

My theme for the bar year is “Finding & Fostering Success.” Defining success is challenging.  Merriam-Webster defines it as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame,” but I reject that definition as too narrow and turn instead to Google.  The founder of Huffington post, Arianna Huffington, accepts that money and power contribute to success, but argues that those goals must be paired with “well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.” Thomas Edison famously described how to obtain success (especially for many lawyers) as 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. But Maya Angelou might get it the best: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Women in the law have not pursued success in isolation, rather we have a long tradition of supporting each other. We have and continue to face unique challenges, but I believe those challenges have promoted one of our best assets, our shared ability to foster others. To “foster” is to “encourage or promote the development of something good, to care for, to nurture.” MRWBA’s mission statement to “support and enhance the professional development of women in the legal profession” articulates this core value. We use this asset every day, with our colleagues, opposing counsel, clients, and the community.

This year, my goal is to help you find your success. We hope to focus on the things that are important to you: networking, business development, education, and career management. We will also continue the long tradition of this organization of supporting and fostering growth in each other, as well as our clients and women outside the legal profession through our community service, pro bono work and publication of the Domestic Relations Pamphlet.

Luckily, success is not pie, there is plenty to go around! I thank the MRWBA Board for 2016-2017 for their service. They truly have continued the tradition of supporting and encouraging our membership. I look forward to our journey together in the next bar year in finding and fostering success in each other!

Elizabeth W. Hanes, Esquire

President 2017-2018

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