The Orange County Women Lawyers Association (OCWLA) started in 1975 with five members. The original name was the Women and Individual Rights section of the Orange County Bar Association. The organization wanted to protect civil rights, not only of women, but of all groups that experience discrimination. The founding members formed the group to advance the interests of women in the legal profession, and support diversity on the bench and in law firm partnerships. OCWLA is an affiliate of California Women Lawyers.
We hold our regular meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at Grand Catered Events in Orange. Our monthly programs provide Continuing Legal Education credit. They are also a fun networking forum for judges, attorneys, law students, and other professionals. We also have a popular cocktail mixer in February for Mardi Gras.
OCWLA promotes various charities. Through our annual fundraiser gala, we raise funds to support law student bar study stipends, diversity stipends, the Public Law Center, El Viento (a program for at-risk youth,) and the Collaborative Courts of the Orange County Superior Court.
We collect dry pasta donations at our meetings that we supply to Catarina's Club in Anaheim. The owner of the Anaheim White House restaurant, Bruno Serato, uses this pasta to serve dinner every night to the children living in the motels of Anaheim. We also collect sample sized toiletries at our meetings. We provide these to the Collaborative Courts. The toiletries are distributed to people who are in the Homeless Court and Drug Court programs.
Each year, we honor one deserving judge and one deserving lawyer with the Judge of the Year and Attorney of the Year awards at our annual gala. We honor our members with Everyday Hero awards when they achieve noteworthy accomplishments, such as community service activities, making partner at their firm, or winning a trial. We also award stipends twice annually to worthy law students for purposes of studying for the bar exam.
For more information, please visit our website at ocwla.org.