Report of the Second Feasibility Meeting of the Barnard Lawyers' Committee, November 16, 1971
REPORT OF THE SECOND FEASIBILITY MEETING or T111? BARNARD LAWYERS‘ COMMITTEE 16 NOVEMBER 1971 Margrit Bernstein and Helene Kaplan chaired the meeting which began shortly before 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 16th, at the Columbia Club. Margrit Bernstein opened the meeting by explaining the background of the Women's Center and the plans for a Lawyers’ ComMittee. She gave a brief sumMary of the First Feasibility Meeting. She then summarized the important points to be covered at this meeting: 1 - Does the lawyers‘ committee want to exist? 2 - What should its constituency be? 3 - What services should it provide? 1 - The first question was answered clearly by the enthusiasm of the group assembled for this meeting. 2 - Several among the group were concerned that since the Women's Center is located at Barnard and since the first group of attorneys gathered are primarily Barnard College alumnae, the constituency (clients) would be limited to Barnard students, alumnae, and faculty. The problems of having limited resources with which to provide services had made some feel that! some kind of arbitrary limitation was necessary in order to avoid over- extending the Committee. However, the group felt quite strongly that whatever services were provided by the Committee, they must be available to any woman regardless of her connection or lack of one with Barnard. It was generally felt that some other means must be found of limiting the activities of the Committee within its capabilities. This led directly to the consideration of the services to be provided. 3 - Several members of the group felt that practical limitation could be achieved, not by limiting the constituency, but by limiting the services. It was suggested that the Committee begin by taking referrals only in one, easily identifiable, justiciable area, e.g. employment discrimination cases under Title VII. This area was agreed as being particularly suitable for the Committee because of Barnard's existing experience in placement and in plans of the Women's Center to reach into the high schools to influence vocational guidance. It was further suggested that the Women's Center obtain from the EEOC several packages of materials on Title VII suits for the attorneys on the committee. It was also suggested that Susan Diller Ross, an attorney in the Washington Office of the FEOC, might be willing to speak to a briefing session on Title VII suits. It should be noted, however, that this plan in no way precludes members of the committee from taking other cases which they feel are pertinent, and which, if they take them in the name of the Committee, they have first cleared with the committee.
Lawyers‘ Committee Report page 2 Other points which were raised and discussed included the services presently available from other sources. Although there are theoretically resources for legal services for women, in practice the organizations providing them are swamped, and there is certainly no danger of our duplicating services already available elsewhere. After the meeting was formally closed, several people expressed an interest in the production of a handbook of women's legal status in the fifty states. This is a large undertaking which will utilize Barnard alumnae resources across the country. It is a project which will serve to make available general legal information to women who would not other- wise have access to it. ~i ms