Attorney at Law Magazine Dallas publisher PJ Hines sat down with Krisi Kastl to discuss Texas Women Lawyers Association and their mission.
AALM: What is the main mission of Texas Women Lawyers (TWL)?
Kastl: TWL is committed to the empowerment of women attorneys. Through our network we advocate the interests of women in the justice system and society. We accomplish this mission by working with local women organizations throughout the state of Texas and on a national level.
AALM: As the president, what is your main focus in the coming year?
Kastl: We would like to encourage membership in areas not historically involved. Specifically, this year our main emphasis is on Fort Worth, Corpus Christi and the Valley. I’m focused on quadrupling our membership and creating network opportunities for our members locally, statewide and nationally. We are co-hosting events for other women organizations. For example, the National Association of Women Lawyers hosted its Dallas conference May 3, 2018, and TWL, along with NAWJ, NAWL and Kastl Law P.C. hosted a welcome reception at the Highland Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
AALM: If someone wanted to move into a leadership role, what is your first word of advice?
Kastl: Ninety percent of success is showing up! Leadership opportunities are open to those willing to work and put forth the effort.
AALM: Tell us about the Pathfinder Award and the Brenda Tso Rising Young Lawyer Award.
Kastl: These are our two annual awards. This year, nominations are due by Sept. 15, 2018. The Pathfinder Award is presented to an individual that champions promoting the advancement of women in the law and who exemplifies professionalism, leadership and commitment to the public interest. The Brenda Tso Rising Young Lawyer Award is given to a woman attorney that has 10 or less years of legal practice. This individual also promotes and supports women along with carrying the mission of the TWL.
The mission the honorees must reflect is the promotion and protection of the interests of women attorneys. She must seek to achieve their full participation in all the rights, privileges and benefits of the legal profession, to advance the opportunities for women attorneys and to improve access to positions of merit and responsibility, to promote and assist in the organization and growth of local women’s bar associations, to serve as a vehicle for the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas among women’s bar associations, to promote CLE and to promote the advancement of women in society and in the administration of justice.
If any woman attorney sees these attributes in a fellow attorney, then they are advised to please nominate that individual for the award.
AALM: As more students graduate, how is the association helping to integrate them into the legal community?
Kastl: Texas Women Lawyers is working with local women lawyers’ organizations and law schools to facilitate networking between law students and practitioners. Texas Women Lawyers as well as some of our other members offer scholarships to our annual CLE for law students. There is a rigorous application process.
AALM: Are there any changes that the association wants to see in the legal community?
Kastl: We would like to see more opportunities for women to advance to partnership status within their firms. So many women are qualified for bigger and better positions and work so hard to get there and we would like them to be recognized for all of that hard work.
AALM: As a member of the association’s leadership, what changes are you trying to put into effect?
Kastl: I want to see involvement from most, if not all, women lawyers, in the state of Texas to become active members in Texas Women Lawyers.
AALM: What are some exciting events coming up?
Kastl: On July 19, 2018, the National Association of Women Lawyers will host their 2018 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon at the Grand Hyatt in New York, New York.
On August 8, 2018, Texas Women Lawyers will partner with the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Dallas Women Lawyers Association, Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, Texas Young Lawyers Association, Tarrant County Bar Association Women Lawyers and Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association and present a program titled, “Women in Power: Shattering Glass Ceilings.” This will be an interactive discussion among judges, lawyers and law students about struggles, challenges and successes of women who have made it in the legal profession.
Texas Women Lawyers is excited to promote and have our members attend the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) 40th Annual Conference on October 3, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.
Our annual event, CLE will be held in Corpus Christi on March 1, 2019. We will have a special 25th Anniversary dinner the night before our CLE, on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. During the dinner, we will be honoring past TWL presidents.