Recognizing service to the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession
Since July 2013, the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession has worked to eliminate barriers that exist for women in law by opposing bias in the justice system and helping secure the full participation of women in a profession that is mostly male dominated. In recent years, many individuals have served on this task force, but three women are notable for their commitment to these goals.
Supreme Court Liaison Judge Laura Denvir Stith has been a member of the Supreme Court of Missouri since March 2001. She was elected chief justice from 2007-2009 and served as the liaison for the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession from 2013 to 2020. Stith is retiring from the Court this month.
"The retirement of Judge Laura Denvir Stith will leave a lasting impact on the Missouri legal community. As only the second woman to serve on Missouri's highest court, she has been a pioneer and role model for women lawyers,” said Amy Bender-Levy, current co-chair of the commission.
Stith was instrumental in advocating for a change to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 6.06, making it easier for women to re-enter the profession after a hiatus -- a situation that can hinder women specifically in returning to work after caring for a child or elderly parent.
Bender-Levy added, “In addition to dedicating much of her career to her constituents and to the people of Missouri, she has been instrumental through her work with the Commission on Women in the manner in which she has helped opened the doors to opportunities for women and minorities. Judge Stith's insight, compassion, and wisdom has enabled women and other minority groups to further their careers in the legal community, once unimaginable.”
In addition to Stith, notable members of the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession include Megan Phillips, who served as co-chair from 2013 to 2020, and Karen Glickstein, who was co-chair from 2016 to 2020.
“On behalf of myself, Amy [Bender-Levy], the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, and the Women in the Profession Committee, I would like to sincerely thank Megan Phillips and Karen Glickstein for their leadership and dedication to advancing the cause of women in the legal profession,” said Stephanie Wan, the commission’s current joint co-chair.
As one of the first co-chairs of the commission, Phillips was uniquely positioned to watch the group develop tangible goals for their colleagues. She has been studying issues affecting women lawyers for some time and became involved with the Women’s Lawyers Association as soon as she moved to St. Louis in 1999, later serving as president of that group.
“In their time as the co-chairs for the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, they spearheaded projects that resulted in actual, tangible improvements for the women lawyers practicing in Missouri,” Wan said.
Karen Glickstein also has impressive credentials when it comes to equity for women. For more than 25 years, she has been representing employers in discrimination, harassment, and retaliation litigation, as well as advising clients on human resources and employment issues.
Key outcomes of the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession under the leadership of Stith, Phillips, and Glickstein include modifying the annual attorney enrollment form to include a voluntary check box for gender to help identify demographic data for women’s representation in the legal profession.
The group also successfully advocated for lactation accommodation, resulting in Supreme Court Operating Rule 1.01.C.15. Among other achievements, the joint commission partnered with the Women’s Foundation to provide research and recommendations to the Supreme Court of Missouri and The Missouri Bar supporting paid parental leave for all judiciary and bar staff. Both bodies adopted policies providing six weeks of paid leave as a direct result.
“They made these significant impacts, all the while juggling their impressive careers, families, and personal lives (something every single woman can relate to),” Wan continued. “Megan and Karen were always moving forward and brainstorming on ways to improve the lives of the women of the Missouri Bar, and they will be leaving a legacy of action behind them.”
For in-depth information on the achievements of the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, click here.