Queen’s Bench was founded in 1948 as a statewide organization to provide a supportive community for female attorneys. In 1972, it started meeting on the second Tuesday of each month and has met in downtown Portland every month for more than 40 years. About a year before it became the first chapter of the newly formed Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS) in 1989, Queen’s Bench began including monthly programs with different themes focusing on women in leadership.
Today, membership in OWLS is open to anyone who supports its mission to transform the practice of law and ensure justice and equality by advancing women and minorities in the legal profession. OWLS has 12 regional chapters. In Multnomah County, Queen’s Bench promotes the professional advancement, camaraderie, and good fellowship among women in the legal profession and the community. In 2013, Queen’s Bench has had record attendance of its programs while exploring “Diversity in Leadership,” the 2013 theme selected by President Julie Lohuis. This month we interviewed Mary L. Dougherty, vice president of Queen’s Bench, to learn about the “23rd Annual Holiday Luncheon Honoring Women Judges” that will be held Tuesday, December 10, 2013.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your practice area and how you got involved in Queen’s Bench.
A: My firm, Brownstein Rask, LLP, is a general practice firm that primarily advises closely held businesses of all shapes and sizes in the various areas that impact a business from formation to litigation and everything in between. My practice emphasizes business transactions, estate and trust planning and administration, and taxation. During my clerkship with the Oregon Tax Court, Presiding Magistrate Jill Tanner encouraged me to join OWLS. I enjoyed attending OWLS events with her, so when the opportunity to become a volunteer director came along, I immediately said yes. Over the past three years, I have served as member-at-large and treasurer. I am currently vice president/president-elect of Queen’s Bench.
Q: Wow! That’s great! Tell me more about Queen’s Bench.
A: The monthly luncheons are a great opportunity to meet prominent and successful lawyers in a setting where it is easy to strike up a conversation. One of the founders of Queen’s Bench, Helen Althaus, helped create a culture of access and inclusion by sending hand-written letters to newly admitted female attorneys to welcome them to the practice of law. Queen’s Bench continues to honor that tradition by holding an annual luncheon welcoming the new Multnomah County lawyers. This year, Mariann Hyland will speak about recent Oregon State Bar diversity and inclusion initiatives at the annual New Admittee Luncheon on Tuesday, November 12, 2013.
Q: How can young lawyers get involved with OWLS and Queen’s Bench?
A: The best way to get involved is to contact a current committee chair. OWLS and Queen’s Bench have several active committees, and both organizations maintain Web sites with current information about how to join, names of the committee chairs, and calendars of upcoming events. See Oregon Women Lawyers and Queen's Bench
Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about the upcoming Holiday Luncheon?
A: This is our 23rd annual event. As part of the tradition, we are honoring women judges. It is always a festive, elegant celebration of our accomplished female judges and their increased visibility on the bench. It’s a nice opportunity to reflect on what it means to everyday people to see more women leaders in our courts. Unlike many bar events, there are no sponsored tables. Instead, we organize tables by judge and – other than reserved seats for the judges, their law clerks, and their mentees – seating is open. It’s part of our culture of access.
Other luncheon tradition’s include: a presentation to MBF for the CourtCare childcare center at the Multnomah County Courthouse; a word about the Manche Langley Scholarship Fund, which is named in honor of a Queen’s Bench Founder and a 1909 graduate of the Lewis & Clark Law School where the fund is maintained; and the announcement of the 2014 recipients of the Justice Betty Roberts Award and the Judge Mercedes Deiz Award, two awards that will be presented at the OWLS Annual Roberts-Deiz Awards Dinner (March 14, 2014, at the Nines Hotel) and are given to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to promoting women and minorities in the legal profession and the community. The Holiday Luncheon keynote will be given by Oregon Supreme Court Justice Martha Walters.
Q: Sounds like a blast! What do I need to do to attend?
A: The cost to attend is $35. If you register by November 15, 2013, you will receive a $5 discount. We also have sponsorship opportunities that subsidize the cost of individual registration. Both sponsors and individual attendees can register online through Brown Paper Tickets. Registration ends when we reach capacity or at 10 a.m. on Monday, December 2, 2013 —no tickets will be sold at the door.
Q: Can you tell me the annual theme on women in leadership you have selected for 2014?
A: I’ll tell you at the Holiday Luncheon!
So for those of you reading this article, you all know that this event is not to be missed-especially since we did your homework for you! All you need to do is go to: Brown Paper Tickets to register. Don’t delay! Hope to see you at The Governor Hotel (614 SW 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205) on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.; buffet starts at 11:40 a.m.; program from noon to 1 p.m.