INTERVIEW OF JUDGE LISA S. WALSH
Taken by: Ingrid P. Benson-Villegas
Q. How did you become involved with MDFAWL?
A. My friend, Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola (who was at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida) recruited me. I was on the Board of Directors beginning around 2001 and, at that time, MDFAWL did not have as robust of a membership. Jacki [Scola] recruited me and I started learning how to put on and develop substantive events. I became President of MDFAWL in 2007.
Q. What is your best memory from your years in MDFAWL?
A. I don’t have a single best memory. My best memories involve the experience of companionship and collaboration with smart and talented women. Miami-Dade FAWL has always had a culture of supportive collaboration. I also have great memories of founding the MDFAWL Sunny Yahr Scholarship Fund. Sunny Yahr was President of MDFAWL in 1998 and she passed away too soon. I remained friends with her son, who has sadly passed away as well, and we developed the MDFAWL Sunny Yahr Scholarship Fund together.
Q. What is the one piece of advice you wish someone told you when you were a junior attorney just starting out?
A. Don’t spend so much time asking for permission to do things or worrying whether you are good enough.
Q. What is your favorite MDFAWL program?
A. My favorite MDFAWL program is the Women Making History event. I believe this event showcases the best among us and I enjoy the more casual and social format.
Q. Who inspires you?
A. I am inspired by my mother, my daughter, and Golda Meir, who was the Prime Minister of Israel in 1969-1974 and the first and only woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of Israel. I believe Golda Meir was a brave woman who led the country during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. She held a position of leadership at a time when her country was threatened with possible destruction which I think is one of the most courageous examples of leadership.
Q. What do you think is the biggest issue facing women in the law today?
A. I believe the biggest issue facing women in the law today is the pernicious sense that women are not given the same opportunities as men. It may be true or not true, but it is a commonly-held belief. That belief can fuel discouragement and exit from the law by some great, talented lawyers. In my opinion, the mass exodus from the law by women in their prime is a great loss for the profession.
Q. What are you doing now?
A. Currently, I am a circuit court judge handling two divisions: appeals and international arbitration. I am also on the Board of the National Association of Women Judges (“NAWJ”), as International Director. Through NAWJ, I am coordinating a program with women chief justices from Michigan, Iowa, California, and Washington, D.C. on how rural and urban jurisdictions are handling the pandemic and what their projections are.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?
A. It is my opinion that bar organizations such as MDFAWL are important for attorneys at any stage of their career, not just at the beginning of their careers.