TLAW Mourns the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

We are sharing NAWL - National Association of Women Lawyers 

Tribute to Justice Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived the mission of the National Association of Women Lawyers: the advancement of women in the legal profession and advocacy for the equality of women under the law.  She was one of us, and she was an inspiration to us.  In that spirit, in 2002, we honored Justice Ginsburg with NAWL’s highest honor, the Arabella Babb Mansfield award.  In 2019, NAWL celebrated the work of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, which Justice Ginsburg co-founded in 1972, granting the Mansfield award to an organization for the first time.

Ginsburg became a lawyer at a time when the legal profession was not welcoming to women.  She began her legal education at Harvard Law School in 1956, where she learned to navigate life as one of only nine women students in a class of more than 500, the only mother in the group.  She and her women counterparts were famously asked by Dean Griswold to explain why each had enrolled at the law school, taking the place of a man.  Undeterred by the male-dominated, hostile environment, she excelled academically and became the first woman member of the Harvard Law Review. 

Ginsburg’s husband of 56 years and partner in life, Martin Ginsburg, supported her as an equal in intellect, and ambition.  He was an ally, long before we had a term for it, who led by example.  After Marty was treated for testicular cancer during his third year at Harvard Law School, Justice Ginsburg requested to spend her third year of law school in New York, in order to relocate with her family.  When Harvard denied her request, she transferred to Columbia Law School, and graduated first in her class in 1959 as a member of the Columbia Law Review.

After struggling to secure legal employment as a woman, a Jew, and a mother, Justice Ginsburg clerked for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri.  She went on to teach at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia Law School, at the latter becoming the school's first woman tenured professor.  In 1972, she co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project (“WRP”).  During the 1970s, as the WRP’s first Director, she argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court, helping establish the legal groundwork for prohibitions against sex discrimination. 

Notably, in Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971), the Supreme Court extended the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to women.  Ginsburg also supported the challenge to an Oklahoma statute that set different minimum drinking ages for men and women in Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976), filing an amicus brief and sitting at counsel table in this landmark litigation that established an “intermediate scrutiny” standard for gender discrimination.  Recognizing that gender equality is in all of our interests, in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975), she represented a widower denied survivor benefits under Social Security, which permitted widows but not widowers to collect special benefits while caring for minor children - and won.

In 1978, her last case as an attorney before the Supreme Court was Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357 (1979), which challenged the validity of voluntary jury duty for women, on the ground that participation in jury duty was a citizen's vital governmental service and therefore should not be optional for women. At the end of Ginsburg's oral argument, then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist asked Ginsburg, "You won't settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?"

Justice Ginsburg was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in 1980.  In 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton.  Confirmed by the Senate in a 96-3 vote, she became the second woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.  In 1996, writing for a 7-1 court, Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), which struck down the Virginia Military Institute’s all-male admissions policy and opened the institution to women.  Holding that Virginia violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause because it failed to show "exceedingly persuasive justification" for VMI's gender-biased admissions policy, Ginsburg wrote "generalizations about 'the way women are,' estimates of what is appropriate for most women, no longer justify denying opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description."

Her colleague and friend, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, praised Ginsburg's skills as an advocate: "she became the leading (and very successful) litigator on behalf of women's rights—the Thurgood Marshall of that cause, so to speak." An advocate for gender equality in practice, she was a consensus builder on the Court.  Legal scholar Cass Sunstein characterized her as a “rational minimalist,” who sought to build on precedent rather than pushing the Constitution towards her own vision. 

After Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006, Justice Ginsburg remained as the only woman on the Supreme Court.  For the first time in her history on the Court, that year, she read multiple dissents from the bench – to demonstrate a more intense disagreement with the majority.  On the bench, Justice Ginsburg remained a staunch advocate for reproductive freedom and gender equality.  As the Court became increasingly hostile to women, and political machinations of anti-equality members of Congress more blatant, Justice Ginsburg resolved to remain on the Court as long as she was able.  News reports confirm that in her final days, Justice Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter (and an attorney), Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Indeed, NAWL will not settle.  Political opportunists have wasted no time attempting to justify a swift nomination and floor vote on a replacement for Justice Ginsburg before the end of 2020, an act directly contrary to their own behavior and public statements in 2016, when Justice Scalia died more than 8 months before an election.  We will not countenance a different result, especially with early voting having commenced in a number of states and less than 50 days to go before an election that will be a referendum on justice, the rule of law, and the future of our democracy. This nomination shall wait until 2021, after the people have spoken.  Let the people vote, and the people shall decide.

We grieve the loss of Justice Ginsburg, to the profession, to women, and to this country.  According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began last night, is a tzaddik - a person of great righteousness. The Hebrew root of tzaddik is "tzedek (צדק)" which means - "justice."  May her memory be a blessing, to us all.

Please see the notice cancelling Judge Wyrick’s Investiture Ceremony due to the ongoing pandemic

Marion Griffin Women's Symposium

When: Friday, September 20, 2019 8:00 AM, CDT
Where: Belmont University College of Law, Randall and Sadie Baskin Center, 1901 15th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212



Keynote Speaker 

Chief Justice Cheri L. Beasley,

North Caroline Supreme Court

Alumnus of the University of Tennessee

College of Law

Registration Levels:

$250 Patron's Circle

This level entitles you to special recognition in the MGWS program, your photo taken with Keynote Speaker Justice Cheri Beasley and an invitation to a reception honoring Chief Justice Beasley at the home of Judge Marietta Shipley the evening of September 19th.

$100 Early Bird Member Ticket ($125 September 1st)

$125 Early Bird Nonmember Ticket ($150 September 1st)

$75 Government and Special Interest Attorneys (Member and Nonmember)

$50 Law Student

CLE Program Descriptions** and Schedule of the day and Registration click here

National Women's Equality Day! 

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  • May 02, 2018 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    In accordance with Article XV, Section 1(b) of the Bylaws for the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women, the Nominating Committee hereby publishes its nominating report.



    2017-2018 Nominating Committee Members: 

    Karen G. Crutchfield, Chair, Nominating Committee and President; Holly Renken, President-Elect; Ramona DeSalvo, Immediate Past President; Crista Cuccaro, Corresponding Secretary; Cheryl Rice, Empowerment Conference Co-Chair & Past President 2014-2015; Psonya Hackett, West TN At Large Board Member; Heather Gavrock, LAW Anne Schneider Board Member; Amy Farrar, MTLAW Board Member; and Katie Blankenship, CLE Committee Chair.

    It is with great pleasure that the Nominating Committee recommends to the Membership the following slate of candidates to be presented for election during the annual meeting on June 15, 2018 in Memphis, Tennessee:

    Holly Renken will be sworn in as the President

    President-Elect (Middle TN Grand Division): Kim Looney

    Treasurer (One-year term): Linda Knight

    Corresponding Secretary (One-year term): Katie Blankenship

    Recording Secretary (One-year term): Kyonzte Hughes-Toombs

    Middle Tennessee Director (Two-year term): Amy Farrar 

    Pursuant to TLAW’s Bylaws, additional nominations for these positions(except for President) may be made from the floor of the Annual Meeting prior to the call to vote.  

    Please mark your calendars and plan to attend TLAW’s Annual Meeting & Breakfast on Friday, June 15, 2018, at 7:00 a.m. Central Time, at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. If you cannot attend, stay tuned for more information about voting by proxy. 

    Additionally, if you want to become involved in TLAW next year as a Committee Chair or Committee member, email President Elect Holly Renken. There's always room for leaders! 

  • April 18, 2018 9:17 AM | Anonymous

    TLAW’s new year is fast approaching. Are you interested in becoming more involved? Do you know someone who would make a good TLAW leader?  Help us continue to move TLAW and its efforts forward!  

    TLAW is seeking nominations for the following positions on the 2018-2019 Board of Directors for terms beginning on June 16, 2018.

    • President Elect; 1 year term*
    • Treasurer; 1 year term
    • Recording Secretary; 1 year term
    • Corresponding Secretary; 1 year term
    • At Large Director from Middle Tennessee; 2 year term

    Board members attend monthly board meetings conducted by phone. Board members may miss no more than two board meetings per calendar year. 

    To learn more about who's currently serving in these roles, visit this page, and to learn more about the responsibilities of each role, read our bylaws here. There are also many opportunities to become involved in TLAW committees

     All nominees must be current TLAW members. Not a member? Join here

    The deadline to submit nominations is April 26, 2018. 

    Nominations may be sent to our Nominating Committee at the following email addresses: Holly.Renken@TN and

    The Nominating Committee will present its report and recommendations to the President and Recording Secretary on or before May 15, 2018. 

    *Please note that nominees for President-Elect must be from one of the following counties in the Middle Grand Division of Tennessee: 

    Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson

    The President Elect becomes the President of TLAW in FY 2019-2020.

  • March 02, 2018 8:26 AM | Anonymous

    The National Conference of Women’s Bar Association (NCWBA) has chosen the Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (TLAW) as the recipient of the NCWBA’s 2018 Outstanding Member Program Award for TLAW’s groundbreaking work on its Empowerment Conferences. 

    Several years ago, the TLAW Board of Directors recognized that the position of women in the legal profession has advanced since TLAW was founded, but the same concerns that gave rise to TLAW still exist today. Moving a greater percentage of women into elective office, the judiciary, chief corporate counsel, and law firm leadership is still challenging, with obstacles such as bias and the leaky pipeline keeping women from achieving their full potential.

    The Conference was created as a way to address the need for further progress of women in the profession and to serve as a catalyst for continued efforts by women across Tennessee to increase female presence at the highest levels of the profession in the public and private sectors. The inaugural Conference was held in 2016. The 2017 Conference was held in conjunction with a national judicial conference. The evening before each Conference, there is a networking event for speakers and attendees.

    The caliber of speakers at the Empowerment Conference is unmatched in Tennessee. Accomplished attorneys and judges provided insight about running for elected office, leadership at law firms, ethical considerations for in-house attorneys, retention in the legal practice, the path to partnership and more. This program is the first of its kind in Tennessee and has been duplicated in a shorter form by women's bar organizations in Nashville and Memphis.

    The NCWBA Award recognizes innovative projects, programs, and services for organization members or the bar. TLAW is proud to be recognized for the Conference, which provides invaluable opportunities for women lawyers in Tennessee. The Award will be presented to TLAW at the NCWBA’s national Women’s Bar Leadership Summit, which will be held on Friday, August 3, 2018 in Chicago. 

    If you want to attend TLAW’s award-winning Empowerment Conference, registration is now open for this year’s Conference, themed Right Time, Right Now! More information and registration are available here.

    Empowerment Conference Co-Chair Kyonzte Hughes-Toombs moderates a panel at the Empowerment Conference 2017: Women Who Win!

  • November 01, 2017 8:57 AM | Anonymous

    THE NASHVILLE CHAPTER OF THE FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION in Conjunction With The Nashville Bar Association Invites You to Attend a Program Featuring William H. Manning, Robins Kaplan, LLP, Minneapolis


    When: Thursday, November 9, 2017- 12:00 Noon – 1:00 P.M. - Program

    Where: Waller, Suite 2700, 511 Union St, Nashville, TN 37219

    There may be parking in the garage underneath the building or in the surface lot immediately south of the building on 6thAve., North. Otherwise, there are garages and parking lots nearby.

    CLE Credit: 1 hour


    $0 | Attendance Only (No CLE Credit)
    $0 | CLE Credit for NBA Easy Passholders
    $35 | FBA and NBA Members
    $89 | Non-Members

    Waller will provide lunch!

    This program will explore many aspects of Nelson Mandela's biography, with particular emphasis on his training and development as a lawyer. It will also describe how President Mandela practiced the skills of lawyering throughout his entire life. The talk will also focus on the deep spiritual life that Nelson Mandela developed, and how this inner life continually impacted his lawyering skills as well as who he was as one of the greatest individuals of the 20th Century.

    Lawyers can be humanitarians in addition to being advocates. To be an effective lawyer, one must stand in the shoes of the client and understand what is important to them. A lawyer's overarching duty to the client, court, and public requires a burning commitment to the moral underpinnings of the legal profession, and consciousness of the economic, social, and political factors that shape the world.

    The program will connect Nelson Mandela’s life with today’s Rules of Professional Conduct, to show how they are relevant to each of us.

    Bill Manning practices business litigation, intellectual property litigation and personal injury litigation, concentrating in the manufacturing and technology industries. Among many professional accomplishments, he has been appointed Chair of a Magistrate Selection Committee, three times to a Federal Court Magistrate Selection Committee and twice to a Magistrate Reappointment Committee. He was previously appointed to the Minnesota Federal Court Federal Practice Committee.

    Register here or Call 615-242-9272. If you prefer a physical registration form, you may download one here to submit with payment to the NBA. 

  • June 12, 2017 1:31 PM | Anonymous

    Even if you can't make it to the 2017 TLAW Annual Meeting & Breakfast, you can still vote! Here's what you need to know:

    • The proposed slate: Last month, TLAW announced the slate of officers for the upcoming 2017-2018 TLAW year. You can review the slate here
    • How to vote by proxy: You will need to choose a proxy to cast your vote. You may choose any other TLAW member by filling out this form. You may also choose President Ramona P. DeSalvo as your proxy by filling out this form. Please email completed forms to Sonia Boss at
  • May 10, 2017 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    TLAW’s new year is fast approaching. Are you interested in becoming more involved? Do you know someone who would make a good TLAW leader?  Help us continue to move TLAW and its efforts forward!  

    TLAW is seeking nominations for the following positions on the 2017-2018 Board of Directors for terms beginning on June 16, 2017.

    • President Elect; 1 year term*
    • Recording Secretary; 1 year term
    • Corresponding Secretary; 1 year term
    • Treasurer; 1 year term
    • At Large Director from West Tennessee; 2 year term

    Board members attend monthly board meetings conducted by phone. Board members may miss no more than two board meetings per calendar year. To learn more about who's currently serving in these roles, visit this page, and to learn more about the responsibilities of each role, read our bylaws here. All nominees must be current TLAW members. Not a member? Join here

    The deadline to submit nominations is May 10, 2017. 

    Nominations may be sent to our 2017 Nominating Committee, made up of Ramona P. DeSalvo, Holly Renken, Karen Crutchfield, and Connie Chadwick. Please email the Nominating Committee at the following email addresses: rdesalvo@desalvonashville.comHolly.Renken@TN;;

    The Nominating Committee will present its report and recommendations to the President and Recording Secretary on or before May 15, 2017. 

    *Please note that nominees for President-Elect must be from one of the following counties: Benton, Carroll,Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNary, Obion, Shelby, Tipton, or Weakley. The President Elect becomes the President of TLAW in FY 2018-2019.

  • August 03, 2016 4:28 PM | Anonymous

    In April 2016, TLAW hosted an Empowerment Conference with the theme Great Expectations. Women from across the state participated in the Conference. Thank you to all of the attendees, speakers, and sponsors of this fantastic event. TLAW extends a special thanks to keynote speaker, Gwen K. Young, of the Wilson Center's Women in Public Service Project.  

    The Conference provided attendees with education and valuable insights presented by members of the legislature, judiciary, and other governmental representatives on how to prepare oneself for an elected or appointed position. The Conference also included a panel of attorneys in general counsel positions providing the perspective of the “in house” attorney and advice for “outside counsel” working with corporate counsel and a panel of experienced attorneys presenting on leadership in various contexts. You can view the full schedule of the conference here

    CLE materials from the conference are available here

    Pictured above (L to R): TN Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby, Jackie Dixon, TN Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, and Administrative Office of the Courts Director Debi Taylor Tate.

    Pictured above (L to R): Wendy Longmire, Linda Seely, Keynote Speaker Gwen Young with Wilson Center, Trish Patterson, and Cheryl Rice

    Pictured above: Conference Attendees 

  • November 12, 2015 4:50 PM | Anonymous

    Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark was the keynote speaker at the Vision 2020’s Conference when the group met recently in Nashville for their Vision 2020 Fifth National Congress. Vision 2020 was founded at Drexel University and is a national coalition of organizations and individuals united in their commitment to achieve women’s economic and social equality.  The group’s goal is to accelerate the pace of women's progress toward full equality by the year 2020, when the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of women's voting rights. 

    Justice Clark noted that she was “energized and uplifted by the goals of the organization and the collective power of the women from around the country who are leading it."

    A large portion of the conference in Nashville was devoted to the women’s suffrage movement. “The choice of Nashville as Vision 2020's mid-decade site demonstrated our respect for the historic contribution Tennessee suffragists achieved when their state became the 36th and last state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920,” said Lynn H. Yeakel, founder and executive director of Vision 2020.

    Justice Cornelia A. Clark receives the Pioneer Award from Lynn H. Yeakel, founder and executive director of Vision 2020.

  • October 01, 2015 5:27 PM | Anonymous

    Women & Work: Breaking Barriers for Career Success" is the theme of this year's Economic Summit for Women, which will be held at the Nashville Airport Marriott on October 25th & 26th.  This Summit is Tennessee's premier networking and education experience featuring dynamic speakers, inspiring stories and exceptional opportunities.  Additionally, eight outstanding women will be inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame. Of those eight, one is TLAW member, Justice Janice Holder (retired) of the Tennessee Supreme Court.  Justice Holder will join the ranks of others, including Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, Jane G. Eskind, and Pat Head Summit.  We hope you'll be able to attend this fabulous event! For more information, please visit

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