OCWLA started in 1975 with five members. It was originally called the Women and Individual Rights section of the Orange County Bar Association. In 1979, OCWLA became an affiliate organization of the Orange County Bar Association.
Over the past forty-two years, OCWLA has been dedicated to advancing women in the legal profession. We support the continued growth and development of OCWLA and its members by providing an exceptional professional network, raising awareness of discrimination and bias, and supporting worthy charitable organizations.
In addition to helping women in the legal community, OCWLA is dedicated to donating money from its fundraising efforts to Orange County women and children in need. After a successful 41st Anniversary fundraising gala last year, this year OCWLA is in a position to make donations of over $20,000 to several important local groups this year, including Laura’s House, Legal Aid, the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Protection Clinic, CASA of Orange County, Collaborative Courts Foundation, Human Options, Project Access Grant Application 2017, Project Military Sexual Trauma at Veterans Legal Institute, and the UCI Law Domestic Violence Clinic. The Annual Gala is our primary fundraising event and sole source of our charitable giving.
Currently, our Board of Directors is hard at work planning our Annual Fundraising Gala. We are pleased to announce that this year we will be honoring our 2017 Judge of the Year to the Honorable Maria Hernandez, Juvenile Panel-Presiding Judge/Boys Court. We are also pleased to announce Mary Christine “MC” Sungaila, partner at Haynes & Boone, as our 2017 Attorney of the Year. These awards will be presented at our Annual Gala Dinner in September at the Resort at Pelican Hill. We will also be presenting our charitable awards to Laura’s House and Legal Aid at this event.
Moreover, OCWLA uses money raised through its fundraising efforts to award bar stipends and diversity bar stipends twice annually to law school graduates who are studying for the California Bar Examination. We also provide financial support to organizations such as the Public Law Center and California Women Lawyers, of which OCWLA is an affiliate.
As a membership benefit, the OCWLA has regular MCLE lunch meetings at Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails, a non-profit restaurant in Irvine, on the second Friday of every month. Our meetings offer quality Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs at very reasonable prices featuring those from the bench and bar. We also hold several evening programs throughout the year, and plan to hold additional social events at affordable pricing to encourage attendance of all attorneys, including those new to the bar. OCWLA is also looking to collaborate with other affiliate bar associations to hold joint programs, and wish to continue building our relationships with our peers. We also held our annual Women Judges Reception at Whittier Law School in April to honor our many female federal and state judges.
Exciting and new to this year, OCWLA is also looking to create an In-House Counsel Committee to our organization—dedicated to providing programs and events to In-House Counsel in our community. We hope to hold our inaugural event later this year.
OCWLA welcomes both men and women to our organization who join us in our mission statement, and we are excited for another successful year!
For more information about OCWLA, please contact us at www.ocwla.org, or 949.440.6700, ext. 259.
For more information about upcoming events, visit www.ocwla.org.