NAWJ Monthly Update March 2019

Written by National Association of Women Judges|March 05, 2019|District 1

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March 2019

In This Issue:


Happy International Women's Day!

Since 1911, International Women's Day has been celebrated across the world on March 8th. In 1975, the United Nations formally recognized that date as International Women's Day. It is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and girls. It is also a day to mark civil awareness, anti-sexism, and anti-discrimination.

NAWJ's theme this year is "Global Judicial Leadership." As members of NAWJ, we celebrate International Women's Day, and strive to provide equal access to justice for all, including women, children, and all vulnerable members of our society, on a daily basis. We continue to encourage all Governors across the country to appoint more women and women of color to the bench to diversify our bench. We further encourage the President to appoint more women to the Federal bench. Our hope is to have an equal ratio of female to male judges appointed to the various courts across this great country in order to provide a more accurate representation of our citizens and to be role models to other judges and governments in developing countries.

This year, I am thrilled and honored to attend the United Nations' Commission on Status of Women Conference (CSW63) that is held each year in March in New York City. Hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the globe, dedicated to advancing and protecting women and children's rights, will also attend. On the occasion of International Women's Day, they all come together to share ideas and find solutions to problems that plague women across the world. We all suffer when even one woman suffers human rights violations, and we all share in the need to stand up and educate the world for better equal treatment of women. Organizations that have "delegate status" may send representatives to the CSW63 conference directly, and while NAWJ does not currently have delegate status, we are working on it, and plan to apply for 2020. It is NAWJ's hope to be able to invite twenty (20) NAWJ members to attend this amazing conference in 2020. So please stay tuned!

On March 15, 2019, Judge Tandra Dawson (NAWJ District 2, NY), and NAWJ President-Elect, Judge Bernadette D'Souza (District 6, New Orleans), will be on a panel at the UN, speaking on domestic violence issues in family courts in collaboration with the ABA and the UN Women. Keep your eyes open for further details on this conference in our next monthly update.

On this International Women's Day, we encourage all members to go into their communities and take a lead in educating the citizens on the importance of diversity in our justice system, on gender equality, on pay equality, and on access to equal justice for all women and children. Together, we can make a huge difference.

As a reminder, please do not forget to renew your membership, and join our campaign to bring in a new member this year, or to give the special and thoughtful gift of a NAWJ membership to a new judge on your bench.

Tamila E. Ipema
Hon. Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema
Judge of California Superior Court, San Diego County

NAWJ Board Leadership Summit
San Diego, California | April 24-26, 2019

The National Association of Women Judges' Board of Directors will conduct a Leadership Summit convening current board members and former presidents of the organization. The Summit will allow the gathering to brainstorm and discuss issues related to furthering NAWJ's mission and to continue strategic planning for a sustainable future. San Diego's Hall of Justice will host the Leadership Summit, the first session of which will run Wednesday, April 24th from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and continue Thursday, April 25th from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

NAWJ's Board of Directors will hold its annual midyear meeting on Friday, April 26th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, also at the Hall of Justice.

A Keynote Luncheon will follow the board's midyear meeting from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the U.S. Grant Hotel. The Keynote Speaker will be Justice Martin J. Jenkins (Ret.), Judicial Appointments Secretary for California Governor Gavin Newsom. The Luncheon is open to everyone - members, local jurists, commissioners, law clerks, students, and attorneys. Download the Save-the-Date here. Stay tuned for registration information. Contact for assistance and questions.

There are no educational sessions planned for this year's midyear events. The event will adjourn after the Luncheon.


On April 12, 2019, NAWJ members Commissioner Pennie McLaughlin and Judge Michael Washington will head up a new project for college students that combines civic education elements found in NAWJ's Informed Voter-Fair Judges Project with real-world knowledge from the unique perspective of judges available in the best mentoring programs. Commissioner McLaughlin and Judge Washington are working closely with a professor from a local college, where a new program, Pathway to Law School Initiative, has been developed. This program is spearheaded by the State Bar's Council on Access and Fairness with the mission of increasing the diversity of the legal profession.

This is a new program we are unfolding in San Diego, and one which we would like to grow throughout the districts. Specifically, we will host 75 local community college students that have an interest in the law or the justice system and are a part of the Pathway to Law initiative. The program will begin with the showing of the videos from the Informed Voter Project that emphasize the importance of maintaining an independent judiciary. Following that, there will be two fifteen-minute mentoring sessions with groups of six students and one judge. Justice Judith McConnell, one of NAWJ's founding members, will also be on hand to welcome the students and to talk to them about the importance of an independent judiciary. A final aspect of the program will be a discussion on how to improve our justice system.

The Pathway to Law programs are implemented through the nonprofit California Law. They aim to create a clear pathway to California's top law schools for traditionally underrepresented students. Participating students take designated transferable courses that help develop "legal thinking" skills and receive early exposure to the law school experience and legal profession. Additionally, participating schools offer individual advising and support about and along the pathway to law school: transferring to a four-year school, taking the LSAT, navigating financial aid, creating a strong law school application, and potential legal careers. Once the time to apply to law school has arrived, Cal-Law Scholars will benefit from waived application fees at participating California law schools (currently 8 participating). The Initiative held its first the annual California Law Pathway Summit February 22-23, 2019 at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.



On February 22, 2019, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a public briefing to evaluate the civil rights of women in prison. NAWJ members and friends, as reported in last month's Monthly Update, spoke at the briefing.

Panel topics included: 1) Overview of Women in Prison: Statistics, Constitutional Protections, Classification, and Family Disruption; 2) An Analysis of Women's Health, Personal Dignity, and Sexual Abuse in the U.S. Prison System; 3) Review of Treatment of Women Offenders While Incarcerated; and 4) Rehabilitative Opportunities for Women in Prison & Life After Prison. The Commission heard from state and federal corrections officials, women who have experienced incarceration, academic and legal experts, and advocates. Find out more about the panelists here. View briefing panels 1 and 2, panels 3 and 4, and the public comment session here, here, and here.

You can download briefing materials from this portal here. The Commission is still accepting written materials for consideration as they prepare their reports. If you would like to offer materials, please submit them no later than March 25, 2019 to or by mail to: OCRE/Public Comments, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425.

Again, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is evaluating civil rights of women in prison, including deprivations of medical needs; implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act; and sufficiency of programs to prepare women for life after release. According to the Liman Center's statement to the Commission, the number of women in state and federal prisons has increased dramatically during the past 40 years, far outpacing those of men. Investigations have shown that women in U.S. prisons suffer different experiences and deprivations than men, and are housed in facilities and incarceration systems not designed for them.


As many NAWJ members already know, and as mentioned at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Briefing in Washington, D.C. last month, incarcerated women hunger for substantial programs to support a sustainable life beyond bars. In keeping with the leadership of NAWJ members, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson has directed NAWJ District Six Director Judge Sheva M. Sims to lead the Women in Prison Initiative in District 6. The premise of the program is to partner judges, attorneys and facility officials with the Southern University Law Center, Bossier Parish Community College, Delta State Community College, Southern University of Shreveport and the Louisiana Board of Cosmetology to offer incarcerated women training in a wide variety of trades and fields of study.

Sheriff Steve Prator of the Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport, Louisiana and Warden Phil Bickham of the Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, Tallulah, Louisiana have agreed to participate and give their full support of the program.

Southern University Law Center, Southern University of Shreveport, Bossier Parish Community College and Delta Community College have all agreed to support this initiative. This partnership will allow the women to work toward obtaining an Associate Degree while they are incarcerated.

Below you will find a list of programs of which the women have expressed an interest:

Child Care Education
Culinary Arts
Criminal Justice
Dietary Manager
Graphic Arts
Income Tax
Interior Design
Job Placement
Marketing/ Public Relations
Performing Arts
Social Worker

Please contact Judge Sims at if you have any questions or want to reach out in assistance.


On Feb. 20, 2019, NAWJ Past President and Chief Justice Amy Nechtem (Massachusetts Juvenile Court) shared her expertise with ambassadors, country representatives, and international students at the United Nations in New York. Speaking on the topic of "Law and Literacy; the Correlation of Peace and Sustainable Development," she discussed the pathways to educational equality and social inclusion for children and youth involved in the court system.

The day's events were organized by NAWJ member Mrs. Sally Kader, President of the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development (FPSD). She also moderated a panel centered on the correlation between the rule of law and peace and sustainability. Chief Justice Nechtem joined a panel of fellow NAWJ members Judge Kathy J. King (New York County Supreme Court), Judge Michelle Capers Hollar-Gregory (New Jersey Superior Court, Retired) and Immigration Judge Elizabeth Lamb (United States Department of Justice) who spoke about the challenges of inequality and seclusion on the disabled, youth, and aging populations.

In her remarks, Chief Justice Nechtem underscored the importance of community collaboration in strengthening families, and rehabilitating juveniles. She stressed the value of a positive frame, shifting the focus from what a young person lacks to what he or she can contribute, in developing youth development strategies to promote positive outcomes for system-involved children. She added, "we as a community have a shared responsibility to empower our children to be successful in school and to thrive in life. We must continually educate ourselves on the vulnerabilities children face so we can equip children with the tools and resources they need to transition successfully into adulthood."

"Speaking at the UN and sharing our approach in Massachusetts with a global audience was an amazing experience," the Chief Justice said. "You feel like a citizen of the world. And you hope that the lessons you share will reverberate to countries around the world."


On January 18, 2019, judges and bar leaders from around California gathered at the Orrick Law Firm in San Francisco to celebrate the milestone of 100 Asian Pacific American judges. This special event was co-hosted by Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA), California Asian-Pacific American Judges Association (CAPAJA), and the California Asian Pacific American Bar Association (CAPABA). The night featured remembrances and remarks from CAPAJA President-Elect Judge Roberta Hayashi, NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi, AABA founder Dale Minami, and a special recognition from Assembly member David Chiu.

California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chen capped off the evening by reflecting on his career. He stated that when he applied to the judiciary, he wrote in his application that he would be most proud when it is no longer unusual for Asian Americans to hold the kind of positions that it had been his privilege to hold. Justice Chen then proclaimed, "I am happy that that has now come to pass." He described himself as a "bookend" because he was part of the first Asian Americans to be appointed to the bench and now his son, Jason, was appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court last November.


Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson will be honored by the National Bar Association (NBA) with its prestigious Gertrude E. Rush Award. The award is presented annually at the NBA's Gertrude E. Rush Awards Gala in celebration of Gertrude Rush, the first African-American woman lawyer in Iowa who was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1918. Attorney Rush helped found the NBA in 1925.

This year's Gala will take place during the NBA's Midyear Conference in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

Chief Justice Johnson, who serves as the first African-American Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, was one of the first African-American women to attend and earn a Juris Doctorate degree from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in 1969. Chief Justice Johnson's judicial career began in 1984 when she was the first woman elected to serve on the Civil District Court of New Orleans. In 1994, her colleagues elected her Chief Judge. She was then elected to serve on the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1994 and was re-elected without opposition in 2000 and 2010. As the senior justice on the Court, she was sworn in as Chief Justice on February 1, 2013.

As a young lawyer, she became the Managing Attorney of the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation (NOLAC), where she provided legal services to clients in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods. She practiced in federal, state, and juvenile courts, advancing the rights of children, the poor, the elderly, and the disenfranchised. Chief Justice Johnson has served on the National Campaign on Best Practices in the area of Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts as well as championed many successful initiatives, including the training and certification of the Limited English Proficiency Interpreters in the courts and the implementation of an electronic filing system for the Louisiana Supreme Court.

In October of 2013, Chief Justice Johnson received NAWJ's Joan Dempsey Klein Award.

The National Bar Association, founded in 1925, is the nation's oldest and largest association of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges.

Deadline: March 28

Members and District Directors, what is happening in your districts? Have you and/or your fellow district members sponsored an NAWJ program recently? Are you active duty military or a military veteran? Are you traveling to a foreign jurisdiction to teach about the rule of law? Are you a new member? Have any women judges in your state been recently appointed, elected or honored? Have you run your fourth – or your first - marathon? Have you experienced any issues in court as a new mother?

We want to hear all this, and more, from you!

Counterbalance informs and connects our members around the country by featuring news and information that highlight NAWJ's activities and members' accomplishments. Our conferences are always packed with cutting edge legal education. Our publications should be as well. This year, Counterbalance will be published in May and November. We will include some new features along with essays and articles which are in accord with our mission.

If you have articles, ideas for articles, announcements, book reviews or events that you would like included in Counterbalance, please pass them along. The deadline for submitting information for the next issue of Counterbalance is MARCH 28.

Please email text and picture files to Lavinia Cousin at and to Judge Donohue at



Are you stumped by emojis? Do you want to know more on how to assess technology evidence? The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) are excited to announce that registration is now open for our free Cyberviolence Judicial Workshop for judges and judicial officers.

This first ever workshop offers hands-on, highly interactive judicial education on understanding and assessing technology-facilitated domestic violence cases. Topics will include:
• Technology Foundations in the Context of Domestic Violence
• Technology Misuse Dynamics
• Electronic Discovery and Evidence
• Technology Responsive Dispositions and Enforcement
• Judicial Ethics and Leadership in Cyberviolence Cases

Using hypothetical case problems, role-play exercises, small group discussions, and faculty demonstrations will enable judges from different jurisdictions and levels of experience to learn from one another. This training is appropriate for new and experienced state, tribal, and territorial judges and judicial officers to enhance their skills in handling civil and criminal cases involving cyberviolence. Because this is a pilot workshop, participants will also have the opportunity to provide input on the training for future workshops.

Register here. Space is limited. Registration will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis, so act fast!

The Cyberviolence Judicial Workshop is free to attend. However, participants are responsible for their own lodging, travel, and meals. For more information on the workshop contact the registrar, Heather Hull, at (775) 507-4780 or


March ¬16, 2019 | 10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST
(Download flyer here.)

Autonomous vehicles are on the road, and widespread adoption of this technology may not be far away. Criminal and civil cases involving these vehicles and the data they collect are certain to follow. How will you handle these issues when they appear in your courtroom? Tune in for a discussion with Gail Gottehrer, a litigator whose practice focuses on legal issues arising from emerging technologies, and an expert on autonomous vehicles.

After this presentation, you will be able to:
1) Identify the data collected by autonomous vehicles;
2) Anticipate how parties may seek to use that data in criminal and civil cases; and
3) Analyze the potential liability, data privacy, and Constitutional issues associated with these vehicles.

This webcast's faculty will be Gail Gottehrer, Esq. Her practice focuses on technology-related litigation and counseling, including autonomous vehicle regulation, data privacy, and cybersecurity. She also teaches Law for Knowledge Innovation & Practices at Columbia University, and is a fellow at the Center for Legal Innovation at Vermont Law School.

Visit this page for a complete description, and to register.

Take advantage of early bird registration today!
Don't miss out!

(Developing, as of March 1)

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
Linda Greenhouse
Urban Issues
Elder Abuse
Sexual Harassment in the MeToo Era
Restorative Justice
Challenges to the Independence of the Administrative law Judiciary
Innocence Project
"Sister in Law", a play
Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project

Registration fees include educational sessions, receptions, meals, transportation to events listed in the program and use of the hospitality suite. Three days of cutting edge CLE are included in the registration fee.


(through 7/16/2019)  


(after 9/16/2019)

NAWJ Member








Registrants may cancel until September 15, 2019. All cancellations are subject to a $50 processing fee. Requests for cancellation on or after September 16, 2019 will not receive a refund. All third-party payments are subject to the same policy.

Click here to register online. Or, download and complete this registration form and email to Mail completed form to:

National Association of Women Judges
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036


The partnership between NAWJ and GEICO provides insurance discounts to NAWJ members. Contact GEICO for a free quote on auto insurance to see how much you could be saving. Remember to mention your NAWJ affiliation since you could qualify for an exclusive member savings opportunity. Visit (special portal here) or call 1-800-368-2734 for your free rate quote. GEICO also can help you find great rates on homeowners, renters, motorcycle insurance, and more.


Many of you may remember the beautiful jewelry ornament (pictured below) that was available for sale at NAWJ's 2013 Annual Conference in New Orleans. Conference Chair Judge Mary Becnel (Retired) designed the pin, and she recently learned from the jeweler who created them, Dominique Giordano, that pins are available. Ten percent of each sale is donated to NAWJ.

Click the image below for more information, or email

March 8, 2019. Welcome New Judges Reception at the Union Oyster House at 5:30 pm in Boston.

March 8, 2019. Women and the Law Symposium and Portrait Unveiling of NAWJ member Judge Denise Langford Morris at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. Register here for the Symposium. Register here for the Portrait Unveiling.

March 8, 2019. International Women’s Day marked by NAWJ California at Contra Costa Community College. Speakers include NAWJ President Tamila E. Ipema, Judge Anita Santos, and NAWJ Past President Diana Becton. More here.

March 8, 2019. NAWJ partners with Ingham County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan’s Mid-Michigan Chapter to host a film screening of “The Judge” at the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in Lansing. More here.

March 11, 2019. Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, Federal Bar Association and Fordham University School of Law Celebrates International Women’s Day from 6:00 pm to 8:00. Speakers include Justice Tanya R. Kennedy, Judge Lisette-Shirdan-Harris, and Judge Cenceria P. Edwards. More here.

March 13, 2019. Washington Supreme Court Gender and Justice Commission, Washington State Women’s Commission, and Washington Women Lawyers will present “Women in Law: Past, Present and Future - Second Annual Women's History Month” in Seattle. Join NAWJ members Judge Marilyn Paja, Justice Debra Stephens and Justice Cheryl Gordon McCloud remotely, or in person, for a half-day program to honor Women’s History Month. More here

March 20-22, 2019. District Six Conference. Visionary Women: Champions of Perseverance, Persistence and Progress in Shreveport, Louisiana. Contact NAWJ District 6 Director Judge Sheva Sims Tel: (318) 673-5878 and Conference Chairperson Judge Aisha Clark Tel: (318) 329-2580 for more information. Conference agenda here. Register here.

March 21, 2019. NAWJ “WETOO in the Legal Workplace” meeting with the California Women’s Legislative Caucus in Sacramento. Speakers include Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Senate Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Judge Wendy McGuire Coats, and attorneys Kelly Dermody and Jerrilyn T. Malana. More here.

March 27, 2019. NAWJ California will hold a Welcome Reception for newly appointed and elected judges from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at a private residence. Contact District 14 Director Judge Elizabeth White

March 28, 2019. Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society presents “Women in Law: Going First and Going Forward” in Seattle. Speakers include Judge M. Margaret McKeown. More here.

April 8, 2019. Texas Women Judges Day at the State Capitol: meeting, recognition in the Senate, group photo on the Capitol steps, reception in the Judicial Conference room. RSVP to Megan LaVoie at

April 9, 2019. Impact of Parental Incarceration On Children workshop at 1:30 pm, a program on the agenda of the ABA National Conference on Access to Justice for Children and Families in Tyson Corners, Virginia. Speakers include Judge Cathy Hollenberg Serrette. More here.

April 12, 2019. NAWJ San Diego present Color of Justice at the North County Regional Center in Vista from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

April 24-26, 2019. NAWJ Board Leadership Summit (closed) from Wednesday, April 24 to Thursday, April 25; NAWJ Board Meeting (closed) on April 26; and Keynote Luncheon (open to all) on April 26.

May 5-12, 2019. NAWJ Cruise on the Danube for seven nights from Budapest to Nuremberg on the AmaCerto with Amawaterways Cruise Line.

May 14, 2019: NAWJ collaborates with White & Case LLP to present Color of Justice for seventh and eighth grade student at the Washington School for Girls in Washington, D.C.

August 2, 2019. San Diego will conduct women in prison program, Success Inside and Out at the Las Colinas Women's Detention Facility in San Diego. Chairs include San Diego Commissioner Terrie Roberts and San Diego Superior Court Research Attorney Nadia Keilani.

October 15-19, 2019. NAWJ 41st Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California at the Omni at California Plaza. Conference Chair Judge Anne Elizabeth White contact

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