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Women’s Law Caucus Honors Women in the Law at 2017 Annual Spring Luncheon

March 13, 2017

The University of Kentucky College of Law Women’s Law Caucus hosted its annual Spring Luncheon on Wednesday, February 22, at the Hilary J. Boone Center to recognize the Hon. Karen K. Caldwell and Prof. Sarah N. Welling for their outstanding contributions as women in the law.

Karen K. Caldwell, a 1980 graduate of the College of Law, is the Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky. After seven years with State Farm Insurance, she became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Kentucky, and within five years, was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky where she was widely recognized for her role in combating public corruption. Prior to her appointment to the bench in 2001, she was a partner in the law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP. Judge Caldwell’s graduating class included one of the largest percentages of female graduates at that point in the law school’s history.

“It's always wonderful to see a female UK Law graduate holding such a place of prominence in the legal field,” said Brittany Crouch, president of the Women’s Law Caucus. “As Chief Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Judge Caldwell continually shines a positive light on UK Law to the wider legal community. She is a strong but exceedingly fair judge, and she is an inspiration to all current and future attorneys that have the pleasure of meeting her.”

Sarah N. Welling, a 1978 graduate of the College of Law and Ashland-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law, teaches Criminal Law, Federal Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure. Her primary research interest is federal criminal law, particularly money laundering. She has spoken on federal criminal law in Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. On money laundering, she has consulted with Congress and the CIA, served as a team leader in a RAND exercise, and been quoted by the New York Times. Prof. Welling’s most recent books are Wright & Welling, Federal Practice and Procedure, Volumes 3 and 3A (4th ed. 2010) covering Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 31-42. She has also been the Reporter for the Sixth Circuit Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions since 1999. Prof. Welling joined the faculty in 1981 after clerking for then-District Court Judge Eugene E. Siler, Jr. and practicing for two years at a large firm in Chicago.

“Prof. Welling is a wonderful embodiment of a talented, intelligent woman working in the legal field, who encourages and inspires the best from all of her students,” said Catherine Stone, current second-year law student and co-chair of this year’s WLC luncheon. “It is so nice that she has been able to share her knowledge and love for the law with so many students at her alma mater. She is a wonderful representative of both the school and legal profession.”

Judge Caldwell gave an unforgettable keynote address to approximately 100 guests in attendance. Welling was unable to attend due to illness.

“You’re lawyers, you’re special people – don’t ever forget that,” said Judge Caldwell as she ended her remarks.

The annual celebration of the contributions of women in the legal field is one of the organization’s largest, most successful events of the year.

“The Spring Luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate all women in the legal profession – including UK Law students. We typically honor one alumna and one professor at the luncheon, but this year was particularly special as we honored two alumni who continue to inspire and support the law school and its students,” said third-year law student Crouch. “These two ladies show that there are no bounds for determined UK Law graduates.”

The Women's Law Caucus is a student organization at the UK Law devoted to celebrating and fostering the contributions of women in the legal field. They lead a mentorship program with area attorneys, bring awareness to domestic and sexual violence, provide opportunities for personal and professional development, and host social and networking events in Lexington.