MBA Spotlight: Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle

MBA Spotlight
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A Q&A with MAMA SEATTLE PRESIDENT AMY KLOSTERMAN

Q. How and when did your MBA get started?

The Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle (MAMA Seattle) was founded in 2006 to empower attorney mothers and encourage professional success while celebrating our roles as attorneys and mothers. We are devoted to furthering the interests of mother attorneys in the Seattle area, in Washington, and throughout the nation.

Our founders Rachel Black and Lorraine Lewis Phillips met at a Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS) group in 2005 and bonded immediately. Both were litigators and they supported each other in returning to their demanding careers while parenting newborns—and realized it was crucial to create this type of support for other mother attorneys. Rachel, Lorraine, and a core group of women worked hard to form MAMA Seattle. Word spread quickly and the organization soon boasted more than 700 members.

Q. What are some of the core goals and/or purposes of your MBA?

MAMA Seattle offers support to mother attorneys with their careers and with their roles as parents. Our programming provides opportunities to expand their professional networks and grow their practices through continuing legal education courses, networking events (with and without children), leadership training, and mentorship opportunities. We serve mother attorneys who are solos, in house, in firms, in government, and those who may be taking a break from the practice of law but want to stay connected to the legal community.

Q. What need does your MBA fill that is unmet elsewhere?

One of our most impactful programs is the MAMA Seattle/Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) Ladder Down program, a year-long program for members and non-members that provides training and career development from a combination of coaches, sponsors, and participants to empower women lawyers in three critical areas: leadership, business development, and mentoring. Applications for the 2023 program are due by Nov. 14, and are available on our website: https://mamaseattle.org/programs/ladder-down/.

MAMA Seattle has regular family-friendly networking events so members can engage in professional activities while including their families—the yearly pumpkin patch trip is always a big hit as is our summer picnic. It’s a great feeling to include our families in professional networking and to meet our colleagues’ families as well. We offer CLEs and lunch seminars on timely legal topics and on topics of interest to parents, such as saving for college and talking to your kids about drugs. Our fall banquet is one of the largest bar-related events in the state. At our 16th annual banquet in October, we awarded King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea Galván our Betty Binns Fletcher Leadership and Justice Award.

Q. What are a few of the opportunities or benefits that your members receive?

Members receive access to our varied programming and opportunities for engagement, along with an active online forum for referrals and relevant topics. Most importantly, we are uplifted by the moral support and compassion we provide to each other.

Q. Does your MBA offer any mentorship or scholarship opportunities? If so, please describe.

Mentorship is one of our specialties as an MBA. We pair new mother attorneys and law students with experienced mentors. The Ladder Down program, which started in 2016, has a large and active support and referral community composed of the graduates from all classes. We also offer scholarships to law student mother attorneys, and Ladder Down tuition scholarships for practicing attorneys.

Q. What is a recent MBA accomplishment, current project, or event that you are excited about?

Along with our consultants, we are finalizing the results of a survey we sent out to King County attorneys on the impact of parenthood on lawyers in private practice. We had more than 1,000 responses from local attorneys! We’re excited to see what recommendations take shape so that our legal community can ensure that working parents and their legal practices thrive.

Additionally, in June, MAMA Seattle was honored to receive the “Friend of the Legal Profession” award from the King County Bar Association.

Q. How can WSBA members support the work of your MBA?

If you are a mother attorney, please join us; and if not, please send any mother attorneys our way. We appreciate the continued support and sponsorship from our legal community, which allows us to provide quality programming and events for our membership.

Q. Is there anything else you would like WSBA members to know about your MBA?

MAMA Seattle is accepting applications for Board members to join us in 2023. If you are interested in joining the Board, please reach out to our incoming President Kasey Huebner (khuebner@gordontilden.com) for an application. Applications are due by Nov. 15.


MORE ONLINE > To learn more about Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle, visit their website: mamaseattle.org.

About the author

Amy Klosterman is the owner of Amy Klosterman Law PLLC. She provides independent investigations, training, and consulting for schools and workplaces. Klosterman also works as a hearing officer and expert witness. From 2007-2018, she served as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.


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