WBA 2023-2026 Strategic Plan


The WBA: Empowering and Advancing Women Lawyers in the Nation’s Capital and Beyond since 1917

Maintaining the honor and integrity of the profession; promoting the administration of justice; advancing and protecting the interests of women
lawyers; promoting their mutual improvement; and encouraging a spirit of friendship among our members.

The Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia is a welcoming community of lawyers that provides steadfast support to members throughout their careers. WBA illuminates and celebrates women lawyers’ diverse perspectives and career paths; encourages members to bring their authentic selves and creates a meaningful sense of belonging; and leads with energy and consistency to shift power in the profession and bring equity and opportunity to all.


  • An environment that fosters community, strong connections and meaningful friendships
  • Our national reputation, especially as it relates to our advocacy role
  • Excellence in our programming, including personal and professional development
  • The ease with which one can get involved, implement ideas, and serve in a leadership position
  • Diversity of thought and experience among members and at all levels of leadership


This three-year strategic plan serves as a guide for the organization’s efforts to advance its mission by developing leaders, building a sustainable development strategy, and improving our membership experience. It was developed with consulting support from ABA’s Division of Bar Services, reviewed by a strategic planning committee, and approved by the WBA Board in June 2023.

Current supporting activities: Issues-focused programming (e.g., reproductive rights, rule of law), network-building opportunities, referral network, advocacy activities, DEIA focus throughout

Success benchmarks: increase in women enjoying their lives in practice; decrease in women leaving the profession because they didn’t find a path that worked for them; increase in women in organizational leadership/managing partners, especially from traditionally underrepresented groups; member agreement that WBA cultivates inclusion and belonging; # of people seeking our endorsement

Strategy 1: Strengthen the WBA’s career and business development programming

  1. Create consistent career and business development curriculum tracks that seek to demystify practice and help members be more savvy. Sessions are calendared and repeated each year. Possible topics/approaches:
  • Firm economics; “Finding your place in the law;” “IHTA” program; “Understanding How to Get Ahead” in various work environments; how to use the mentorship program; partner with ACC on panel for in-house about law firms and vice versa
  • Continue to ensure that DEIA principles are threaded throughout
  • Provide program ideas in advance of co-chairs meeting; engage past leadership and make specific asks for their involvement; survey mentors to ID needs from mentee conversations
  1. Increase opportunities for WBA members in private practice to build their book of business
  • Emphasize the WBA as referral network in bar communications
  • Keep directory updated with practice areas
  • Consider charging for nonmember listing

Strategy 2: Raise the visibility of women in the profession and promote their elevation to positions of leadership

  1. Continue to raise women’s visibility through WBA award recognition
  2. Continue to strengthen the endorsement process
  • Promote endorsement availability to the community
  • Increase social media outreach in this area to raise awareness

Current supporting activities: All connection and community-building activities

Success benchmarks: increase retention rate (baseline + increase over time); increase in successful recruitment; diversity of practice area and practice level; increase % of members that attend at least 1 program per year OR involvement in some other opportunity (e.g., survey: WBA allows me to be meaningfully engaged); responsiveness of members to inquiries and surveys

Strategy 1: Better understand WBA members’ needs to effectively retain and recruit a diverse membership

  1. Examine WBA member data to better understand:
  • Where are members in their career trajectory?
  • What is the profile of members we’re losing? How should that inform our strategy?
  • How can we articulate the value of firms paying for WBA dues?

Strategy 2: Create a variety of opportunities for members to meaningfully engage with the WBA and each other

  1. Create committees with members (see also Goal 4, Strategy 1)
  2. Engage in targeted follow up with new members to ensure a sense of connectedness and belonging
  3. Increase engagement on existing social media platforms
  4. Bolster the mentoring program

Strategy 3: Support and develop emerging WBA leaders

  1. Create more consistency and support for co-chairs (see also Goal 4, Strategy 1)
  • Provide practical, hands-on co-chair training that includes topics such as “how best to juggle so you can execute” and how to manage the program marketing process
  • Create an annual sponsorship structure which will eliminate/decrease the need for individual program organizers to fundraise (see Goal 4, Strategy 2)

2. Continue to be intentional about DEIA in the development of WBA’s leadership pipeline

Strategy 4: Highlight the power of WBA connections on individual members’ careers and lives

Demonstrate the value of connections made through testimonials of members at varying points in their career

Current supporting activities: Advocacy Committee activities; Amicus Committee and amicus brief sign-ons; drafting of original amicus briefs; drafting timely and relevant issues statements

Success benchmarks: increase # of amicus; increase # of times we get requests to participate/support advocacy efforts; media coverage (traditional and social media reach); member satisfaction with advocacy efforts

Strategy 1: Institutionalize advocacy structures and processes to maximize continuity, responsiveness and flexibility

  • Memorialize the structure of the Advocacy Committee and its goals and objectives.
  • Provide the committee with guidance on in what situations to issue statements
  • Periodic review of statements
  • Engage members who have policy backgrounds in this work
  • Connect Advocacy Committee with program (liaison)

Strategy 2: Partner with other bar and community organizations to increase the impact and reach of advocacy efforts

Continue to strengthen relationships with local affinity organizations and seek opportunities to collaborate

Current supporting activities: WBA governance and operational processes

Success benchmarks: The lift is easier for planners; our structure is helping us develop the leadership pipeline; we have a streamlined, consistent pricing structure for programs; fewer cancelled programs

Strategy 1: Streamline the committee structure to increase accessibility of engagement and leadership opportunities

  • Differentiate content generating vs non content generating entities; vehicles where members connect/discuss topics of interest
  • Streamline committees and forums and make some subcommittees
  • Consider making some entities ad hoc (no permanent co-chairs)
  • More effectively define expectations of co-chairs
  • Consider scheduling co-chairs meetings monthly but don’t meet in full every month; use some sessions as committee work times instead

Strategy 2: Diversify the WBA’s revenue streams

  1. Create a streamlined pricing structure for programming
  • Membership combined with program registration

2. Create a streamlined sponsorship structure to ensure there’s a coordinated ask of firms and employers

3. Consider other non-dues revenue opportunities. Initial supporting ideas:

  • Offer an intermediate/advanced level DEI training for firms (for a cost or part of sponsorship)
  • Professional Development Consortium, WALRA (human resources organizations) outreach

Strategy 3: Ensure the WBA’s governance and staffing reflect the organization’s evolving priorities

  1. Consider a review/revision of WBA mission statement
  2. Increase social media consultant contract