What: 7th Annual Young Women in Law Charity Gala
Where: Omni King Edward Hotel, Toronto
When: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
“I come here, as all young women in law do, wearing several hats,” said Laura Nirider in her keynote speech at the Young Women in Law (YWL) Charity Gala in early April.
The mother of two is the project director with the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth and a clinical assistant professor of law at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. She has also been practising law for nine years.
Nirider is best known as the lawyer for Brendan Dassey, whose coerced confession to murder was featured on the Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer. It’s an experience Nirider cannot forget. She told the crowd that Steve Drizin, a law professor, gave her the videotaped confession to study while she was in school.
“I brought it home, sat down on my couch and I watched something that made my stomach turn,” she recalled, adding that she sat through the entire three-and-a-half-hour tape. “I felt outrage and heartbreak and from that day on I threw myself into Brendan’s case.”
Nirider spearheaded the case with her former professor, who became her mentor. “Brendan’s case became the vehicle he was using to shape my career,” she said. Nirider later quit her job in commercial litigation to join Drizin at the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. Throughout her talk, she emphasized the importance of mentorship.
The event raised $26,500 for the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. The Frank S. and Julia M. Ladner Family Foundation matched every dollar raised, bringing the total to $53,000. “This event brings together our members and supporters and allows us to contribute to a worthy cause,” said Mariana Fonar, president of YWL. “Laura is truly inspiring and a role model for all. We are thrilled with the success of this year’s Gala and are already looking forward to next year.”
Young Women in Law is a non-for profit organization for women lawyers in their early stages of practice. It strives to provide support for women to connect, enhance their skills, and give back to their community. To learn more about Young Women in Law, visit the YWL website.