Making a Difference—One Suit at a Time

WDC Journal Edition: Summer 2017
By: Amy F. Scholl, Coyne, Schultz, Becker & Bauer, S.C.

Professional business attire promotes confidence and self-esteem. How we dress impacts how others perceive and respond to us. Professional dress for a lawyer is part of the practice. It is the fabric of our profession and many of us have more clothing than we can wear. However, not everyone is as fortunate, and this spring, the WDC Women in the Law Committee decided to take action.

As part of the 2017 Spring Conference, the Women in the Law Committee held its first Spring Clothing Drive. A call went out to attorneys to bring gently-used professional clothing to help support and empower women in the workplace. The response was overwhelming. Gently used professional clothing arrived by the carload. Both WDC and non-WDC members donated


Women’s Clothes Closet staff member

The Women in the Law Committee had volunteers in five regions throughout the state gathering clothing. Attorney Kara Burgos of Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd., from La Crosse collected many items. The La Crosse region donations were made to The Women’s Clothes Closet—Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. The mission of The Women’s Clothes Closet is “to provide gently used clothing to low-income women, especially those who are entering or are in the workplace.” They operate Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. According to the website, the customers can choose three complete outfits and returning customers can select one outfit up to two times per month. The organization does not ask questions about income or employment status. For more information about this organization, please see www.oursaviorslutheranchurch.net.

Attorney Heather Nelson with Everson, Whitney, Everson & Brehm, S.C., headed the Green Bay area collection. Attorney Nelson collected 11 boxes and bags of clothing for the YMCA of Greater Green Bay’s Women’s Career Closet. The Green Bay region was the top contributor.


From left to right, Heather Nelson, Joan Johnson, and YMCA volunteer.

The Green Bay Women’s Career Closet was established in 1993 and “provides work-appropriate clothing for low-income women who are seeking employment, starting a new job, or going to school.” See www.ywcagreenbay.org. The goal of the organization is to prepare women for employment and boost their self-esteem by helping them “dress for success.”

In the Southeast region, Attorney Jane Howard of Crivello Carlson, S.C., made donations to the Milwaukee YWCA’s Women’s Professional Image Program, and Attorney Danielle Rousset of Jeffrey Leavell, S.C., delivered clothing to Dress for Success in Racine.

Attorneys in Dane County made generous donations to the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin (CAC). Two SUVs were loaded and items were delivered to CAC on April 28, 2017. Attorney Gesina Seiler of Axley Brynelson LLP donated a significant portion of clothing given to the CAC donation.


From left to right, Jim Schroeder, Executive Director of CAC, and WDC President Laura Lyons.

CAC was founded in 1966 and builds “on the strengths, assets and capabilities of low-income people and communities to develop solutions to poverty.” See www.cacscw.org. The Dane County Clothing Center serves over 9,000 low-income individuals and families. It provides clothing for school, work, and interviews.


Attorney Gesina Seiler of Axley Brynelson LLP.

Given the success of the 2017 event, the Women in the Law Committee plans to make the clothing drive an annual event. The Committee is made up of 25 spirited female litigators who are dedicated to addressing the issues that are specific to women. The Committee formed just over a year ago and welcomes anyone who may be interested in joining. Please contact Committee Chair and WDC President Laura Lyons of Bell, Moore & Richter, S.C. at llyons@bmrlawyers.com for more information.

The members of our organization strive daily to make a difference, not just for our clients, but also in the community. We rarely take time to recognize those who dedicate time and energy to making Wisconsin a better place to live. If you know a member making a difference, please be sure to thank them.