“Be Justicia: be a goddess and do well.” Those were the closing remarks of Hon. Jeannine Turgeon at the December 8, 2010, alumnae/W.I.E. luncheon. Her presentation, “Tips for Attorneys: A Woman’s View from the Bench,” included seven tips with her attentive audience. Four tips were specific to women in the profession and three were applicable to all attorneys, regardless of gender.
The Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas judge encouraged women to embrace other women in the profession. She recommended creating a strong group of women friends in the legal field and seeking out mentors. Judge Turgeon stated that it is important for female attorneys to create a network of women practitioners as a professional support system.
Judge Turgeon also stressed the use of proper speech and grammar during depositions, meetings, and in the courtroom. She has recently observed a tendency to become casual in the courtroom with language, but notes that attorneys should always remain professional. “Remember,” she said, “you are on stage.” She encouraged the group to speak slowly and passionately when addressing the bench. Another recommendation was to always remember to provide an introduction in the courtroom. For example, greet the judge and state your name, summarize why you are there, list what was filed, share who you are representing and provide a sixty second review of the facts of the case. Not only does it provide the judge with a thorough overview, but also give the attorney a chance to get her or his “sea legs.” Civility was another key component of the guest speaker’s presentation. She advised the attorneys not to be rude to one another and not to tolerate it from others. Finally, she advised that all attorneys should guard their reputation. She added an anecdote to this comment from her personal life, sharing what someone once told her: “You will not be remembered by how many cases you win or lose, but by how you practice law.”
The judge’s address of serious topics was infused with humor which kept her audience’s attention throughout the entire luncheon – and kept them laughing. After sharing her tips, Judge Turgeon opened the floor for questions and asked for women to share their own personal stories. Several women took advantage of the opportunity to present their inquiries and personal anecdotes to the Hon. Jeannine Turgeon and to fellow female practitioners prior to the event’s conclusion at 1:30 p.m.
This event was sponsored in partnership with the Women’s Initiative at Eckert at the Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, Harrisburg office. Widener Law thanks the W.I.E. for its generosity, and thanks LaToya Winfield ’05, an associate at the firm, for her role in arranging the luncheon.
The next alumnae event in Harrisburg will take place this spring. Contact Ashley Barton at 717-541-3974 for more information on this affinity group.