Elon Law student group honors women lawyers

The Women's Law Association recognized Manisha Patel L'11 and Karen McKeithen Schaede at its annual Professionalism Dinner on April 18, 2018, an evening that included a judges panel featuring women who serve on North Carolina's Court of Appeals and with the state's superior and district courts.

Elon Law’s Women’s Law Association welcomed five current and former judges to campus on April 18, 2018, for an annual forum and banquet that recognized the contributions of women to the legal profession while offering students an opportunity to learn from female leaders about their own careers.

The association’s afternoon Women Judges Forum featured remarks from:

  • Chief Judge Linda McGee of the North Carolina Court of Appeals
  • Judge Susan Bray of the Superior Court of North Carolina
  • Judge Susan Burch of the District Court of North Carolina
  • Judge Carrie Vickery L’09 of the District Court of North Carolina
  • Former Judge Avery Crump, who resigned from the bench in February to campaign for district attorney in Guilford County

Throughout the forum, the five panelists urged female students to seek out positions of leadership. Eleven of Guilford County’s 14 district court judges are women, but elsewhere in the state, such representation is not as strong.

Also be prepared to encounter sexism, they said. Panelists cautioned that while the legal profession is making strides, there are still obstacles for women that will slowly be dismantled as more female lawyers achieve career success.

And take advantage of the doors that unexpectedly open throughout a career. “Be ready,” McGee told students. “No matter what happens, you will be surprised at the opportunities you have. Be ready for them!”

The Judges Forum in Elon Law’s Tobee and Leonard Kaplan Classroom was followed by the WLA’s annual Professionalism Dinner in the law library. The WLA honored Manisha Patel L’11, president-elect of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, with its 2018 Young Alumna Award. 

Karen McKeithen Schaede, an attorney with Connors Morgan PLLC and a longtime Elon Law preceptor who was co-honored in 2011 with the school’s inaugural Leadership in the Law Award, was recognized with the association’s 2018 Outstanding Woman in the Profession Award.