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Recognizing staff for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month provides an opportunity each March to acknowledge the contributions of women in American history. This year, we recognize two Adult Representation Services staff members whose contributions to clients and our department embody our mission and vision of holistic advocacy. They also highlight the strength and resilience of women in public service.

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Fighting for dignity and justice

Bernadette “Bernie” Casey has been with Adult Representation Services since 2019. As a legal services specialist supervisor, she leads a team of individuals who provide critical supportive legal services to our clients and attorneys. Casey sets an example of how to be both compassionate and strategic in her approach to working with clients and alongside attorneys.

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, Casey said she draws inspiration from her female-identifying clients. “The strength and bravery that they exhibit fighting for dignity and justice in systems that have historically and currently oppress them motivates my advocacy. Seeing women with less privilege than I hold, and who carry so much more trauma than my body does, continue to fight for their families and themselves is powerfully motivating.”

Casey considers herself fortunate to have many intelligent and strong female coworkers and leaders within the agencies she has worked. “Seeing them struggle to be heard and not backing down against patriarchal ideas and practices inspires me to do the same.”

A tireless advocate for social justice, Casey works to address systems of oppression and finds hope in the unlikeliest of places. She encourages others to find passion in their work, much as she has. “I feel fulfilled when I can help and support other people. My career in public service gives me ample opportunity to satisfy this desire.”

photo of women standing inside

Embracing your identity

Attorney Nicole Gronnenberg joined Adult Representation Services in 2022. She works in the Parent Representation division and is a fierce advocate for clients’ rights in these cases, drawing on her legal expertise and knowledge of the systems that marginalize the clients we serve.

When asked from where she draws inspiration in her work, Gronnenberg shared, “I have had the privilege and honor of being surrounded by incredible women my entire life, both personally and professionally. Although my mother will always be the most influential of these, I have been truly blessed with a constellation of grandmothers, coworkers, bosses and friends who have guided me and inspired me throughout my life.”

Gronnenberg said she is keenly aware of the disparities that exist for women in the law. Though women have been practicing law since 1869, they still make up less than 40% of the profession. Gronnenberg credits an undergraduate course on the psychology of women for opening her eyes to the stereotypes, beliefs, and biases that face women, especially in professions where masculine-labeled traits such as “confidence” are critical for success.

In thinking about the many girls and women who are just starting to think about their careers, she offered some advice. “Embrace the complexity of who [you] are. Embrace your identity. You will likely have experiences where you are initially viewed as less competent simply because you are a woman. I have found that if you unapologetically embrace your female identity along with your competence, eventually people will get it.”