Association for Women Attorneys to Host Annual Banquet

By Andy Meek

In less than a month, the Association for Women Attorneys will host its annual bash that includes a silent auction, cocktail reception and an award presented to a prominent member of the legal community.

At this year’s event, which will be held Jan. 23 at the Tower Center at Clark Tower, the association also will pass the reins to a new president. Mary Morgan Whitfield, an attorney with Shea, Moskovitz & McGhee PLC, will succeed Frances Riley as the group’s 2014 president.

During the cocktail hour, which begins at 5:30 p.m., guests will be able to browse silent auction items and enjoy music from a jazz ensemble. Dinner and the program start at 6:45 p.m., and tickets are $60 for association members, $70 for nonmembers and $40 for law students.

The silent auction will include things such as gift cards to area restaurants, a luxury suite for a Memphis Redbirds game and a weekend getaway at Homewood Suites by Hilton. There’s also an assortment of gift baskets, including baskets of knitted baby clothes and beauty products, and a basket from Memphis Farmers Market.


In addition to inducting the group’s 2014 board officers and committee chairs at this year’s event, the association will present the Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award, which is given for outstanding achievement in the legal profession, to Linda Warren Seely.

Seely is the director of private attorney involvement for Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. and has served as the 2013 president of the Memphis Bar Association. She began her legal career as a staff attorney and pro bono coordinator with MALS in 1981, and during her career has been on the receiving end of numerous awards and honors. She has also helped expand access and legal assistance to MALS’ client population.

Keating Lowery, an attorney with Lawrence & Russell PLC, said the Association for Women Attorneys and its events offer a way for women to get together and support each other in practicing law and also present an opportunity for women attorneys to help the city and legal community.

“Every year we have a banquet and, along with that, an annual meeting and a silent auction,” said Lowery, who is a co-chair of the banquet. “Our silent auction – all the money raised from that will go toward our scholarship fund. The new leadership also will be approved and sworn in at the meeting, and we’re honoring Linda for her years of service within the Memphis Bar Association and her dedication to promoting the law and women in the law.”

The association’s board meets regularly, and the group’s goals include raising money for a scholarship fund and promoting certain events with the bar and the local legal community.

The 200-member association was formed in 1979 and is made up of attorneys from across the Memphis area. Its president and board members serve a one-year term, and the association’s purpose includes supporting lawyers in some of the challenges they face as women and attorneys.

That’s done through a variety of means, such as mentoring association student chapter members and promoting public service. To support aspiring attorneys, the association’s activities include conducting legal education seminars, the silent auction at its annual dinner, and a golf tournament, among other things.

Association members also are encouraged to offer pro bono service to people who can’t afford legal aid.

“We serve to raise money for our scholarship fund and then serve as mentors to women interested in entering the law, and law students, and we also serve as a support system for women in the law in the Memphis area,” Lowery said.