Roe v. Wade attorney discusses gender discrimination at Women in Law Day

Wolf Law (Photo courtesy of Bildungsroman/Wikimedia Commons)

Female high school and undergraduate students were encouraged to go to law school at Women in Law Day on Saturday.

Women in Law Day is an annual conference held at CU Boulder that provides women interested in law careers with the opportunity to network and learn about what law school and being a lawyer entails.

Women are outnumbered by men in various law careers. In 2017, 36 percent of people in law profession were women and 64 percent were male according to the American Bar Association.

Keynote speaker Sarah Weddington served on the plaintiff’s counsel in the landmark case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.

“I’m so glad we won [Roe v. Wade] then because I don’t know what’s going to happen to the court… I don’t think we would lose Roe versus Wade in the current court, but I worry about what a future court might be and what a future court might do,” Weddington said.

Since the 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade, there have been multiple attempts to restrict access to abortions in the U.S. Roe v. Wade also does not have the support of the current administration.

At the 2018 March for Life event, Vice President Mike Pence said, “Forty-five years ago the supreme court of the United States turned its back on the inalienable right to life.”

Weddington also spoke about challenges she faced as a woman while pursuing her career in law. During an interview for a law firm, she was told that lawyers have to work late and women have to be home to cook dinner for their husbands, and she was questioned on how she would do both. She emphasized the importance of not letting challenges stop her.

“You got to look for a way around whatever it is that’s giving you trouble,” Weddington said.

Caryn Datz, a member of the attorney’s panel, is the chief trial deputy at the office of the district attorney in Boulder County and is currently supervising the sexual assault unit.

“When we talk about making real societal change, cultural change in our country, a lot of it comes from lawyers, so we need the women’s voice in that conversation,” Datz said.

Panelist Kristi Martinez is the director of the Innocence Project at CU Boulder, where CU law students assist wrongly convicted people in prison.

“I’ve never felt like my gender compromised me, but I did have some hurdles,” Martinez said.

Katarina Overberg is a senior at CU that is planning to go to law school and is a member of Phi Alpha Delta, the co-ed law fraternity at CU Boulder. She attended Women in Law Day because she did not want to miss the opportunity.

“If you think law is interesting and if you want to make a difference in some area of the legal field, you shouldn’t let your gender stand in the way,” Overberg said.

Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Shaylynne Voth at shaylynne.voth@colorado.edu.

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