Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Kimberly Woods, a senior associate at Boyd & Jenerette, to discuss her election to president-elect of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association. She will take her turn at the head of the organization during the next term.
AALM: What are your goals for your term as president of JWLA?
KJW: My primary focus is going to be giving back and working closely with organizations like Three Rivers and JALA to serve those who do not have access to legal resources. I would also love to continue to increase our membership, foster the community that is created with JWLA, and help facilitate the continued diversification of the legal profession.
AALM: What does it mean to you to be the first African American woman elected president of JWLA?
KJW: When I was putting in for president-elect (and president), I had no idea that there was never an African American president. I remember talking with Kayla Herrin and she told me that I was, and I was shocked.
To me, to be the first African American woman to serve as president of JWLA means the world. I have an opportunity to set an example for others. One of my biggest goals is to show my daughter that she can do anything and be anything.
AALM: What are some lessons you’ve learned from past leaders within the JWLA?
KJW: I’ve learned about resilience and flying in the face of adversity, having watched past presidents deal with challenges unique to our times, such as COVID. I remember sitting and watching Kelli Lueckert create programming that was respectful to those who were still very afraid to join in big events while having events for those who were getting stir-crazy.
AALM: What issues do you think will be most pressing for the legal industry in the coming years? And for the JWLA specifically?
KJW: We have 11 law schools in Florida, and many of their graduates are coming out of school, without any direction or guidance. This is something that we are seeing in JWLA as well. I know The Florida Bar has an initiative to try to pair new lawyers with seasoned mentors because it is recognized that navigating our practice is difficult. It is not just the daily “lawyering” but also balancing your work with your personal life and other commitments.
AALM: What advice do you have for young female attorneys or aspiring female attorneys?
KJW: Find your people. Find the people that make you feel like you can do anything, because those people will continue to do that for you throughout your career. When the times get hard, they will remind you what you are capable of. I found my people during law school, at work and in organizations like D.W. Perkins and JWLA. They are my sounding board and since most of us are lawyers or in the legal profession, we bounce ideas off each other.
AALM: How do you think female attorneys can better support other women in the industry?
KJW: I think we need to celebrate each other’s victories and accomplishments. I love seeing other women rise, grow and develop. It makes me genuinely excited. I do not share too much on social media or LinkedIn but when I see other female attorneys opening their own firms, attaining board certification, getting a promotion, getting a great verdict, etc., I love to share those stories.
AALM: What goals do you still hope to accomplish within your career? What’s the next milestone for you?
KJW: I want to make partner at Boyd & Jenerette. I love my job, the people I work with, and the work that we do. I want to continue to grow and develop within my firm.