Perseverance in the face of adversity and the belief that your destiny is not fixed and you can improve your skills through hard work and effort are more than just ideas. They are concepts that define MSJDN members.

According to Reda Hicks, who attended the American Bar Association‘s (ABA) February Business Meeting for the Commission on Women in the Legal Profession, the ABA is looking to expand the GRIT Toolkit and develop new scenarios to help women understand how to be successful in their professional and personal lives.

Law schools, companies and firms have already been implementing this Toolkit across the nation, providing an opportunity for women to explore ways in which they can handle challenging situations like pay parity, advancement and workplace discrimination and harassment. The ABA’s goal is to teach through role-play. By presenting a factual scenario and providing examples of what to do and not to do in a given situation, the Toolkit teaches women how to best achieve their goals..

To date, the Toolkit has been very well received, but the ABA is determined to increase the number of presentations nationwide and is actively designing metrics to the evaluation process so that participants can track improvement over time.

The ABA’s Women of Color Initiative has also developed a toolkit and is seeking reliable statistics of women of color in the professions. Individual scenarios are available online.

For people interested in advancement as a partner, the Toolkit for Gender Equity in Partner Compensation is being developed. This toolkit, which is specific to partner compensation across the country and across firms of different sizes, will focus on ways for women to achieve equality at the upper echelons of law firms. The major difficulty facing the Gender Equity in Partner Compensation Toolkit is reluctance by many firms to disclose information about salaries. Transparency is the best way to achieve equity, but the industry itself fights against it.

In an effort to reach all women and provide a guide for addressing the infinite variety of problems that may arise for them in the workplace, the ABA is actively fielding ideas for new Toolkit scenarios. Any MSJDN member with an idea for a new scenario not already covered by the Toolkits should reach out to Erin Hennessey, MSJDN’s official liaison to the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Legal Profession.

In addition to the development and use of these Toolkits, the Commission is also focused on electing more women to the Board of Directors and developing ways to engage new female members of the ABA across all levels of the profession, including expanding opportunities for members to become actively involved as writers for the ABA’s many publications, like the Perspectives magazine. The ABA is particularly concerned with reaching out to millennials, who may feel disconnected from traditional bar associations.

We urge MSJDN members to support these efforts in their local and national communities whether they be traditional brick and mortar or online. If you have a case of first impression or a new spin on an old classic, consider submitting a proposal for an article to one of the ABA’s publications. If you know of a female attorney who would be an excellent prospect for a leadership role, nominate her. Make an event of bar association meet & greets and force yourself to reach out to three new people in a meaningful way.

Attending professional development events can be time-consuming and expensive, but it is an investment in yourself. Just ask Reda Hicks!

She was asked to step in for MSJDN’s liaison at the Commission’s February Business Meeting due to a schedule conflict. During the same time period, she also represented MSJDN at the Joint Veterans Task Force Meeting, the ABA Mid-Year Conference, the National Conference of Bar Presidents meetings, and a Ms. JD event.

Active involvement in these types of events is how you achieve success with grit and growth mindset. Make grit and growth your new LBD (Or suit and tie, gentleman! We are stronger together!) and explore the Toolkits today.