Our History

GRAWA had its first meeting in October 1981 at the invitation of Marilyn Hoffman, Sherri Wood, and then Family Court Judge Donald Corbett, Jr.  Of the only 150 women attorneys admitted to practice in Rochester, 50 answered the call.  A steering committee was formed, and it worked to shape the organization and guide its future.  

A major decision was to select a name that included lawyers from all over the area and of all genders--this led leading to the selection of the word “for” as opposed to “of.”  With that, the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys, nicknamed GRAWA, was born!

GRAWA officially formed in 1983 -- its first bylaws, drafted by Catherine Foerster, were enacted; Trudy Nowak was elected as the first president; and it became a chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”).

In addition to serving its membership, GRAWA works hard to advance the status of women in society and the profession.  It raises money for and provides speakers to women’s and children’s organizations and lobby for changes in law and policy. GRAWA’s members contribute content to bar association publications and the local media and  have written books.  GRAWA mentors new lawyers and vets judicial candidates. It raises money and awareness for women’s health issues and organizations addressing these issues and its leaders and members also serve on and chair statewide WBASNY committees and as its officers.

GRAWA is living proof of the adage: “When you want something done, ask a busy woman.”