NAPLES – Allison B. Christensen and Jamie B. Schwinghamer, litigation attorneys with Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP, were reappointed to the board of directors of the Collier County Women’s Bar Association (CCWBA).
Christenson was named chair of the membership committee while Schwinghamer was named chair of the special events committee.
In the 1980s, a group of female attorneys began meeting for lunch as a way to network between women lawyers in Collier County. In 1993, the women officially came together as the CCWBA. According to its website, CCWBA exists to foster relationship among women attorneys, to foster referral sources, and to provide women in different specialties of the law a chance to meet other women. Although its focus is on building the careers of women in the legal industry, men are not excluded from membership. The CCWBA is open to law students and has an affiliate membership for non-lawyers.
The CCWBA meets monthly to discuss legal topics, and it hosts many special events, including a Judicial Appreciation luncheon, a networking extravaganza, and a holiday party, which is one of its oldest traditions. It also gives back to the community through an annual grant and many CCWBA members mentor young girls through a local program called PACE (Practical Academic Cultural Education), a non-residential delinquency prevention program.
Christensen’s practice is in the areas of wills and trusts, and commercial litigation. She spoke with the Florida Record about her appointment to the board.
“I’ve always known I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was little. At one time, I wanted to be involved in sports law, but I always wanted to be in the courtroom,” she said.
Christensen graduated from Wayne State University with her J.D., cum laude, in 2009. She is also a member of The Florida Bar and the Collier County Bar Association. In 2014, she was a participant of the Growing Associates of Naples program, which is for emerging leaders and professionals in the area. She mentors with the Florida Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and is a member of the Humane Society of Naples, sitting on the annual Pet Lovers’ Gala Committee. Before coming to Florida, she served as an executive committee member and general counsel for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
The CCWBA’s mission is important, even though women have made strides in the industry. There are more female lawyers today than in the past, but “women still struggle because the partnership and leadership are mostly men,” Christensen said. “We have many women (at Hahn), and our firm is very supportive for women (who are raising a family.)”
Christensen said that her perspective has changed over the last few years. She is having her first baby soon.
“I hope that having a mom who is a lawyer will help (my daughter) see the possibilities available for her,” she said.
Schwinghamer graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with her J.D. in 2006. Her professional accomplishments include selection for the 2015 GAIN program, named to the 2009-2016 lists of Florida Rising Stars by Florida Super Lawyers and AV Preeminent Rated, the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and professional ethics.