Torree Breen leads Women Lawyers, Mid-Michigan Chapter

By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

Mid-Michigan Chapter of Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) plans more networking opportunities for members this coming year. "We are planning mixers for every other month," said Torree Breen, new President of the Mid-Michigan Chapter

"We want to include more people in the organization, both men and women," she said.

The group is planning their first annual holiday party this year with the proceeds of the event being donated to a local charity. Educational workshops are being considered including a session on dress for success for women lawyers. These events will be in addition to the Stell Reception in October where scholarships are granted and the Annual Party in May.

The first mixer of the new season is scheduled to be June 28, the location to be announced. For more information, please contact Breen at (517) 351-6200 or Lindsay Dangle at (517) 351-2020.

The Mid-Michigan chapter is a member of the larger organization, WLAM. The organization was formed in 1919 and, according to its website, has more than 700 member lawyers, judges and law students. WLAM and the Mid-Michigan Chapter both work to secure the rights women in society by meeting its mission to advance the interest of women members of the legal profession, to promote improvements in the administration of justice, and to promote equality and social justice for all people.

The state organization is divided into seven regions including:

* Great Lakes Bay Region

* Macomb

* Mid-Michigan

* Oakland Women's Bar Association

* Washtenaw

* Wayne

* Western

Breen attended Alma College, graduating in 1997, having majored in political science and history. She went on to MSU College of Law, graduating in 2000. Her law school class was the first to attend Detroit College of Law on the MSU campus for all three years. After law school she clerked for the Kalamazoo Circuit Court. It was there she learned the "practice" of law as she reviewed files, researched, and wrote opinions for the court, skills she took with her to Willingham and Coté where she currently practices law.

Breen and her husband, Scott, have two children Katlyn, three, and Jarred, five, that take up the majority of her free time.

Women lawyers today:

A national report on women lawyers, published in April, 2012, compiling information from reports from many organizations including the American Bar Association, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that, in 2011, 31.9% of the lawyers in the US are women.

However, there is still a difference between women and men at the highest levels in law firms. According to a recent survey of law firms, 11% of the largest law firms in the U.S. have no women on their governing committees, and women partners constituted only 16% of those partners receiving credit for having $500,000 worth of business or more.

A recent study revealed that no state has ever achieved equality of women and the men in federal or state judgeships. Only 23% of all federal judgeships and 27% of state judgeships are held by women. In one study of law school faculty, only 20.6% of law school deans were women.

Women lawyers made 86.6% of men lawyers' salaries in 2011.

The best law firms for women have made strides in work-life policies such as reduced hour policies, written flex time, full-time telecommuting and backup childcare at a facility. Most (94%) allow their reduced-hour lawyers to be eligible for equity partnership.

For more information of WLAM and the local chapter, please contact Breen at (517) 351-6200.

Published: Mon, Jun 18, 2012