I am honored and excited to be the president of this incredible organization. It’s especially meaningful to me to be the president of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia because I am a DC native, and I love this city with all my heart.

Having grown up surrounded by lawyers in my neighborhood and in my house, my experience of DC is inextricably tied to the law. And I know that DC is the best place to be a lawyer in part because of the incredible communities that have been built by the voluntary bar associations here.

This power of community is something that the founders of WBA understood very well. In 1917, DC bar associations did not allow women lawyers to join the bar and benefit from that community. Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett founded WBA to provide that community to women lawyers in DC.

The WBA founders knew that bringing women and their allies together creates a strong community. And they knew that a strong community creates strong careers.

Accordingly, our theme for this bar year is “Strong Communities, Strong Careers.” This theme recognizes the pivotal role professional communities like the WBA play in developing meaningful, fulfilling, and successful careers.

WBA is a community with the shared goal of advancing women in the legal profession. We do that through programming, networking opportunities and advocacy for the advancement of women in the profession and society.

In our post-pandemic work world, building community is more important than ever. This bar year, we will focus on three aspects of building our WBA community.

First, we will support more in-person programming and networking opportunities. While many of us benefit from remote work, and we have held some wonderful virtual programming, making face-to-face connections within our community is something that can’t be replaced. As I’ve attended more in-person events over the past year, I keep hearing from our members how nice it is to get out and meet people in person. We will be sure to provide those opportunities to women lawyers in the DC area.

Second, we will foster connections that directly support the career growth of our members. We will be bringing back our popular and successful mentorship program, which will provide benefits not only for those seeking mentorship, but those looking for community and camaraderie with other women in the legal profession (and their allies!).

Finally, we want WBA to continue its contributions to the larger DC community and beyond. We will continue our advocacy in support of advancing women in the legal profession and the administration of justice, as well as our support of the WBA Foundation. We will look for opportunities for WBA to contribute to the other vibrant communities that make up the city’s legal profession and support access to justice.

In this year of community building, I want to invite anyone looking for their place in the law to join WBA – whether as a full member or at our events. WBA membership is not limited to women, nor is it limited to practicing attorneys. If you are part of the legal community, support our mission and want to be part of our efforts during this Bar year, please join us!

We will celebrate each other, help each other reach our goals, and enjoy the spirit of friendship that has made WBA a meaningful community for so many.

I look forward to working with you this year!

Mary Blatch
WBA President, 2024-2025