When our company launched this award in 1999, women were certainly making inroads into the profession.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981, but it would be another 12 years before another woman — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined the bench.
But while the glass ceiling was cracked, it remained in place, particularly in the boardroom.
So in the past 24 years we have celebrated each step toward parity in a profession once significantly dominated by men.
Today, with the confirmation of Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson, four of the five Supreme Court justices are women.
In fact, today women now hold more jobs in the U.S workforce than men.
In 2010, less than one-third of all lawyers were women. Eleven years later, in 2021, the percentage stood at 37 percent.
Women now significantly outnumber men in U.S. law school, and the gap is widening. In 2020, there were 9,610 more female students than male students.
More women than ever are also leading U.S. law schools. In 2000, only 10 percent of law school deans were women. As of 2021, 41 percent of all law school deans were women. Those ranks include Dean Nancy Staudt at Washington University, Dean Lyrissa Lydsky at Mizzou and Dean Barbara Glesner Fines at UMKC.
The number of female federal judges has increased dramatically. The first woman was appointed to the federal judiciary in 1928, when 217 men held that position. By 1950, there were still only three female federal judges. That rose to 46 in 1980. And by Jan. 1, 2021, 381 women were on the federal bench — roughly 1 in 4 of all federal judges.
Even in the boardroom, there’s positive movement. Slow movement, but positive.
About 21 percent of all equity partners were female in 2020, according to the National Association of Women Lawyers. That’s up 15 percent from 2012.
And so, 24 years after the first WJA recognition program, we continue to honor women attorneys in what has become an institution of tradition in the Missouri legal community.
Our panel of distinguished members of the 2022 selection committee reviewed scores of nominations that included women from every spectrum of the profession and throughout the state. They judged these nominations based on the core principals of leadership, professionalism, accomplishment and passion for making a difference.
It is my honor, my privilege, to present these women to you today with this special Missouri Lawyers Media publication.
We appreciate their contributions, and we marvel at their success. It has come, after all, with a level of gender disparity that makes each of their roads a little more difficult.
Missouri Lawyers Media proudly salutes these remarkable women.
Liz Irwin, Publisher, Missouri Lawyers Media
Woman of the Year
This woman truly stands out in making an extraordinary difference to improve the quality of justice or exemplify the highest ideals of the legal profession.
Lisa White Hardwick, Missouri Court of Appeals Western District Judge
These women serve as general or in-house counsel, advising businesses on complex legal matters.
Tamar Hodges, Mallinckrodt
Sara Reid, BJC HealthCare
Ashley Schuette, Andy’s Frozen Custard
Kimberley Spies, Rouse Frets White Goss Gentile Rhodes
Danielle Uy, Saint Louis University
General Practitioner Award
These are the women who, as attorneys, do it all. They handle multiple practice areas with skill.
Joy Tomkins Ferguson, Hackworth, Ferguson & Thompson
Emily Woodward Guffey, Williams, Robinson, Rigler & Buschjost
Beverly Weber, Armstrong Teasdale
Innovation & Technology Award
These women advise companies, startups and entrepreneurs with legal issues regarding intellectual property, technology and other aspects of their business.
Danielle Merrick, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Saraann Parker, Armstrong Teasdale
Melissa Powers, Lewis Rice
Leaders of Tomorrow Award
These law students demonstrate leadership, professionalism and a passion for making a difference in the justice system or legal profession.
Sara Hubaishi, Washington University
Susan Juhl, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Emma Mitchell, Saint Louis University
Emily Miller, University of Missouri
Litigation Practitioner Award
These litigators have made their careers in the courtroom — criminal or civil, representing plaintiff or defense.
Rosemarie Blasé, Dowd Bennett
Sarah Burns, Simmons Hanly Conroy
Karrie Clinkinbeard, Armstrong Teasdale
Kelle Burmeister Gilmore, Burmeister Gilmore
Laura Greene, Husch Blackwell
Brette Hart, Harris & Hart
Amy Rebecca Johnson, Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal
Dawn M. Johnson, Greensfelder Hemker & Gale
Crystal Cook Leftridge, Stueve Siegel Hanson
Sonette Magnus, Thompson Coburn
Michelle Marvel, Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader
Tracy Beckham Phipps, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard
Chelsea McClain Pierce, Humphrey, Farrington & McClain
Dana Tucker Redwing, Bi-State Development General Counsel
Danielle Rogers, Langdon & Emison
Ashlea Schwarz, Paul LLP
Joan Sheridan, Franke Schultz & Mullen
Erica Slater, The Simon Law Firm
Lynn Ann Vogel, Vogel Law Firm
Pro Bono Award
These awards honor the women attorneys who have contributed significant effort and time to pro bono work.
Sophia Bond, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
Public Service Award
These women work on behalf of a nonprofit organization, government agency or the judiciary; or have made their mark in education.
Andrea Bough, City Council, City of Kansas City
Shirley Padmore Mensah, U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Megan McCullough, City of Republic
Elizabeth Rohrs, Polk County Circuit Court
Rachel Bringer Shepherd, 10th Judicial Circuit
Kristen Tuohy, Christian County Prosecutor’s Office
Hope Whitehead, St. Louis County Circuit Court
Gillian Ruddy Wilcox, ACLU
Tiffany Yarnell, Taney County Circuit Court
Transactional Practitioner Award
These women counsel companies, individuals and organizations on the legal issues generated by their business dealings or financial matters.
Jane Arnold, Polsinelli
Ebonie Davis, Armstrong Teasdale
Margaret Hesse, Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan & Jackstadt
Mary Jane Judy, Polsinelli
Lindsay Wuller Aggarwal, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner