I am honored to be the 31st President of the DuPage Association of Women Lawyers. As I reflect today on the impact of female leaders in the DuPage County community, it seems unbelievable that my experience as a female attorney is so vastly different from that of many of our Past Presidents. Our founder, Judge Helen C. Kinney, was admitted to practice in the State of Illinois 50 years before my bar admission and truly was a “glass ceiling buster” becoming the first DuPage County female state’s attorney in 1962, being appointed as the first female associate judge in DuPage County in 1972, and being the first female elected to the 18th Judicial Circuit in 1976. Today, women comprise more than 47% of law school graduates and more than 1/3 of the lawyer population. DuPage County presently has nine female judges, four of whom are Circuit Judges. In the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois four of the nine Justices are women and Justice Rita B. Garman is the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.
D.A.W.L. has thrived thanks to the support of our entire membership and the DuPage County community. While our founders and mentors have laid the groundwork to provide opportunities for women in the law, we each have the responsbility to become the leaders that they knew we could be and to work together to give back to our legal community.
As I said in June, it is, in part, the way that we undeniably celebrate with and support our colleagues that makes this organization one that I am proud to lead. This year, we hope you will celebrate with us at our fall Networking Event, Holiday Party, and Judges Reception and support our endeavors to give back to our members and to the new classes of female attorneys by participating in our MCLE and drives to benefit the Honorable Helen C. Kinney Scholarship Fund.
Though we have made great progress in 31 years, our mission remains to promote and foster the interests of women lawyers, encourage a spirit of friendship and helpfulness, and to maintain the honor and dignity of the legal profession. We hope that you will allow D.A.W.L. to be a part of your professional journey by joining our organization or renewing your membership. The Officers and Board of Directors will work tirelessly to ensure that our organization is making a difference, carrying out its mission, and helping you to build relationships within the DuPage County community and beyond.
Kiley M. Whitty
31st President of D.A.W.L.