Three Generations of Strong Women in Law and JCC Tennis

Ann DeLaney, Kathleen DeLaney and Emma Strenski are three of the fiercest women you’ll ever meet. As grandmother, mother and daughter who are all lawyers, they continue to break new ground: Ann was the first woman to be nominated for Indiana lieutenant governor in 1984; she and Kathleen founded DeLaney and DeLaney, one of the first mother-daughter law firms in the state, in 2002; and when Emma graduated from law school in 2022, they became the first three generations of women from the same family to graduate from the Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, which has been in existence for over 200 years. And they’re just getting started.

When Ann and Kathleen started DeLaney and DeLaney more than 20 years ago, they were very intentional about creating a place where women could thrive, with regard to both the clients they represented and their employees. They became certified as a Women Business Enterprise, and while they don’t practice family law, they have represented women in many gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment cases (in cases like these, women often prefer to be represented by women, for the same reasons many women prefer to see a female doctor). Ann had previously been a sex offense prosecutor and Executive Director of the Julian Center, a domestic violence shelter, so those issues had always been top of mind. And as mothers themselves (Emma was eight when the firm was founded), they added something to DeLaney and DeLaney that’s unique for a law firm: a playroom.

“[DeLaney and DeLaney] has always tried to have flexibility for people with children,” Ann said. “I think that makes it a big selling point for women who bear the brunt of all the family crises come up. If a firm is run purely as a male enterprise, because they don’t bear the brunt of it, they don’t think of it. They’re not repudiating it, they’re just not aware of it in the way women would be.” Ann is now a standing trustee in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, which also has a playroom. “My employees bring their kids in on spring break or if they have a sore throat or something where they can’t go to school. As a consequence, I don’t lose very many employees,” she said.

JCC Tennis Love

Ann, Kathleen and Emma are powerhouses on the JCC tennis court, too. Kathleen began playing tennis at the J about 20 years ago, then got tennis lessons for Ann as a Mother’s Day present. Ann enjoyed the lessons so much that she began participating in clinics alongside her daughter and now plays on JCC teams competing in U.S. Tennis Association tournaments, and Kathleen has recently increased her JCC tennis involvement by taking Cardio Tennis classes on weekday mornings (“I can come from 8-9 am, then get to work and I’ve already got my exercise done, so that’s a nice way to start the day,” she said).

Ann and Kathleen (third and fourth from right) at a tennis mixer in 2021
Emma (top right) with tennis camp, summer 2016

While Emma doesn’t (yet) participate in the regular clinics that her mother and grandmother attend, she has fond memories of teaching tennis at the J all across the age spectrum. As a tennis camp counselor, she loved getting to know the kids and introducing them to the sport she loves. One summer, she also taught adult clinics on an emergency basis when the usual instructor, JCC Director of Racquet Sports Kim Shippy, was unexpectedly unavailable. “I came early and taught a clinic, went from the clinic to camp, and then from camp to an afternoon clinic. I really understood how hard [Kimmy] works; they were big shoes to fill, so I appreciated the amount of hours it takes to run a program like this!” Emma said.

Ann, Kathleen and Emma enjoy the JCC for other reasons too (Ann has attended art gallery receptions and film screenings, and Emma cited the outdoor pool), but in the end it all comes down to tennis. “We’ve stayed because it’s a good program, it’s a good facility, and people are very welcoming here,” Ann said.

Learn more about the JCC’s tennis programs at,, and