In Their Own Words


The Impact of the Harvard Women’s Law Association


The WLA was the best part of my 1L year–it gave me a sense of community that I was unable to find elsewhere at HLS. I always leave events and board meetings feeling motivated, grateful, and confident in my decision to go to law school.

- Ellen Sise ’14

I love the Harvard Women’s Law Association. It has been the cornerstone of my first-year experience. We are a community of female law students at Harvard, but we are also a group of women poised to change the world, and we are collectively empowered by our relationships with one another.

Caitlin Pratt ’13

Being a 1L Section Rep for the WLA this year has been one of my most positive and rewarding experiences so far at HLS. I have been proud to be a part of what I feel is the strongest group on campus that puts on the most diverse and interesting programming.

Stephanie Berger ’13

Every time I leave a WLA event or board meeting I have such a sense of excitement and purpose.

- Jenna Hayes ’13

The Women’s Law Association has put me among a unique and humbling community of female scholars in which to further my studies. I feel empowered by the ambition and tenacity of the women I have met at HLS. It is evident that the culture of the WLA encourages activism as much as it encourages academic excellence.

Shelley Rosenberg ’13

I have found the WLA to be the best source of advice in terms of professional development, a wonderful network of like-minded women who are passionate about the same issues as I am, and a thriving resource for interesting events and thought-provoking discussion.

Caitlin Fitzpatrick ’13

The WLA is one of the most active and influential groups on campus.

Rachna Shah ‘13

Through the WLA I have met many talented and successful women who I look to as role models.  I have learned how to present myself in a manner that will increase my chances of success and I have learned how to be an advocate for women generally.   The network that the WLA provides is truly unique and helped me tremendously throughout law school.

- Tracy Branding ’13

The Women’s Law Association has been an integral part of my 1L experience. From meeting my Big Sis during the first week of classes to attending WLA panels on women’s issues and leadership, I have found a nurturing community here.

Emily Aubert ’13

I have regularly enjoyed WLA events on campus for almost two years now. They rank amongst the most interesting, diverse, and well-organized opportunities available in the Harvard community.

Lillian Langford ’13

I feel extremely lucky to have been involved with the WLA as a 1L rep during my first year at HLS. The WLA has been an important source of community for me and has had a significant impact on my experience at HLS so far.

Amy Chmielewski ’13

In undergrad, I was always someone who contributed frequently in class. I was always confident that my opinions and thoughts were relevant and was not shy about speaking up and answering questions. The first semester of my 1L year was very different; I rarely spoke when not called on by the professor, and felt intimidated and afraid what I had to say was wrong.

I joined the WLA interested in contributing and finding a community of women, but the most important thing I took from WLA was that my experience as a first year woman was far from uncommon. All too many confident, intelligent women found themselves second-guessing themselves and censoring their voices. Attending events about women in classrooms and the legal profession made me re-evaluate why I was letting myself be silenced. I made an effort to change my class participation in the second semester, and wound up being more engaged in class overall to the point of feeling comfortable volunteering for class discussions regularly. The change in perspective helped me academically, but it also made me much more confident and certain my voice deserved to be heard.

- Catherine Hoge ’14

I view the Women’s Law Association as a place to learn from my peers, a means by which to educate and advocate for issues important to women, and a way to find support amongst my peers.

Roxana Rahmani ’13

I am passionate about its mission and have personally found my involvement with the WLA as being fundamental to my happiness as a 1L.

- Lindsay Kosan ’13

I attended the WLA conference this semester and was impressed by the depth of the discussions and talks, and I feel empowered by the presence of such a strong community of women on campus.

HLS 1L ’13

As a 1L, I’ve found it incredibly valuable to have access to the female perspective on a number of issues I struggle with as a law student, especially because the unique position of women in law is not often addressed.

Amanda Vaughn ’13

As part of the WLA, I have seen first-hand the importance of actual women supporting other actual women, through community building and mentoring. The WLA has been an invaluable support network for me.

Joanne Caceres ’13

I particularly appreciated WLA’s work on classroom instructions on Rape, and its efforts in incorporating feminist thought as an underlying principle in Harvard’s curricula.

Esther Lim ’13

Participating in the WLA offers women a crucial opportunity to advocate for our collective empowerment, to discuss problems unique to women at Harvard with colleagues and mentors, and to serve my community in a substantive way.

Meg McDermott ’13

WLA has had a huge impact on my 1L law school experience. Throughout this year I have turned to WLA events and fellow WLA members for guidance and support in my law career and life choices. The sheer breadth of events–from course selection, to legal issues affecting women, to discussions on the HLS curriculum–makes this organization a key part of life at HLS.

Maurene Comey ’13