MRWBA News Update           October 2023

From the President

Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,

Our bar year, back to school, sports seasons, etc. are all in full swing.  There are so many events in October it is hard to know where to start.

October is Pro Bono Awareness month.  Crista Gantz, Virginia State Bar Director of Access to Legal Services, discussed opportunities for pro bono participation with the Free Legal Answers program during the Pro Bono minute at our September luncheon. I encourage members to reach out to Crista to volunteer and learn more: or alternatively volunteer for another worthy pro bono activity this month.

October is also Hispanic Heritage Month.  This is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latino and Hispanic communities.  MRWBA recognizes and supports our Latino and Hispanic members and hopes you had an opportunity to participate in one or more events throughout the month, such as ┬íVirginia Fiesta!, or Restaurante Week, which was sponsored by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber.

October is also the Virginia State Bar CLE credit deadline. I am happy to report MRWBA did our part by offering CLE credit at our October Luncheon: Attorney Mental Health & Wellness

Keep up to speed on our great slate of programs and events being offered this bar year from luncheon programs, mentorship events and membership events.  Our events calendar is live and we will continue to update, so mark your calendars now.

Happy Fall!

Mary Hunt
MRWBA President 


Fall Mentorship Social on November 8th

Make plans to join MRWBA for our upcoming Fall Mentorship Social with RWL! 

All current mentors and mentees are welcome.

Date: Wednesday, November 8th
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: New York Deli, 2920 W Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23221

RSVP Today.

Pictured above, participants at the 2021 Fall Mentorship Social.


Welcome New (& Returning) Members!

  • LaTonya Hucks-Watkins, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • My'chael Jefferson-Reese, Chesterfield County Public Defender Office
  • Karen Smigrodzki
  • Claire Stickley, Virginia Estate & Trust Law, PLC
  • Rachel Yates, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control


    Not a Member of MRWBA?

    Join Now!

    Student memberships are complimentary!


    Volunteers Needed!

    The Legislative Committee is seeking MRWBA members to serve on the committee. Volunteers will help identify legislative issues of interest to MRWBA members, track legislation of interest as it is introduced and considered by the House and Senate, prepare legislative summaries for distribution to members and inclusion in CLE materials for the annual legislative breakfast, and assist in planning and hosting the annual legislative breakfast. If you are willing to participate actively on the Committee in some capacity, please contact Legislative Co-chairs, Tara Brown  ( and Rebecca Imholt ( and indicate how you would like to serve.


    Submit Your Nominations!

    Nominations for the YWCA's 2024 Outstanding Women Award are open. Nominees are recognized as a proponent of social justice, an advocate for fairness and equality, or a builder of bridges between the private and public sectors. This woman may be a law professional, elected official, lobbyist, advocate, or government employee who contributes to the betterment of legal and/or government entities. Send your nominations to MRWBA Awards Chair Casey Coleman ( no later than October 20thPlease provide as much information as possible about your nominee. The Awards Committee will follow up with additional requests.

    And it's still not too late to submit you nominations for Virginia Lawyers Weekly's Influential Women of Law class of 2024. Nominate your colleagues, friends, mentors! The event honors women lawyers who are leaders in their firms and communities, and who devote time and effort to pro bono work and mentoring new lawyers. Send your nominations to MRWBA Awards Chair Casey Coleman (  no later than November 1st. Please provide as much information as possible about your nominee. The Awards Committee will follow up with additional requests.

    Now is also a good time to add your resume to your member profile. Simply login at, go to your member profile and upload your resume. The Awards Committee will use the information to submit award nominations on behalf of our members.


    MRWBA Seeks Sponsors!

    MRWBA’s events are possible thanks to the generosity of our sponsors. These sponsorships provide an opportunity to promote your brand to a demographic of well-educated, professional women with an average salary of $101,126 per year. Register for a sponsorship now, or e-mail with questions.


    Join Us for the Holiday Luncheon!

    Join us on December 7, 2023, for MRWBA’s Holiday Luncheon!

    We encourage you to come ready to mingle with your fellow members as we all prepare for the holiday season. Registration will begin at noon, with the luncheon going from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please feel free to bring a colleague with you to join in the festivities! Click here for complete details or to register.


    Jingle Bell Ethics Planned

    Makes plans to join John Marshall Inn of Court & MRWBA for Jingle Bell Ethics on December 12 at the Jepson Center! This is going to be a very festive and fun event with the added bonus of CLE credit! Registration will start at starting at 5:30 with the program from 6:00 p.m. – 7 p.m. Food will be provided. Keep an eye out for more details to come!


    Member Spotlight

    This month’s spotlighted MRWBA member is Catherine Mullins of the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She currently serves as Treasurer of the MRWBA.     

    Tell us a little about yourself.  Spouse? Children? Pets?

    I grew up in Chesterfield and am a graduate of Manchester High School. I went to VCU on a full academic scholarship and later moved to Pittsburgh and attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

    I am happily married to my husband, Jim, and have a daughter who is a senior in high school and two adult step-children who are currently in college.  We have two large dogs – a Lab/Shephard mix and a Great Pyrenees mix. I volunteer at the Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue and have been fostering shy dogs who need a lot of love and special attention.  We also have 5 cats, but I maintain I am a perfectly sane cat lady!

    What type of law do you practice?

    After moving back to Virginia after law school, I began a career as a trial and appellate attorney at the Richmond Public Defender’s Office. After about 14 years of criminal defense work, I transitioned to the Office of the Attorney General in the Health, Education, and Social Services Division where I represent the Division of Child Support Enforcement.

    What have you enjoyed most about your time in MRWBA?

    I have always enjoyed the continuing education seminars, the lunches with excellent and insightful speakers, and the opportunity to meet other lawyers, judges, and law students. The MRWBA recognizes leaders in the legal community and seeks to promote women in the legal field, which is very important to me.

    What was your first job?

    My dad owned a pet store, so I started working for him when I was 12. Working retail taught me a great deal about working with the public and serving the community and helped me develop a strong work ethic.

    What book is currently on your bedside table?

    I am reading The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone, a book written by a local attorney, Audrey Burges

    What advice would you give to someone who just passed the bar?

    Find a mentor! I am the first person in my family to go to college, so when I graduated from law school, I had no connections with lawyers and very little knowledge or experience with the legal profession. I learned very early on that I needed a mentor, and I was blessed to meet many attorneys who were willing to help me along the way. In my over 18 years of practice, I have never once met an attorney who was unwilling to answer a question or provide guidance when needed. Mentorship is the greatest gift we can give and receive as attorneys. As you become more experienced, you should also give back and pay it forward for other young lawyers who can benefit from your knowledge and experience. This is the way we continue to build a strong legal profession and community.


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