NAWJ Monthly Update February 2012

Written by National Association of Women Judges|February 01, 2012|Monthly Update Archive

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February 2012
In This Issue:

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you well. Here in Boston it feels a bit more like the close of a spring month rather than January!

NAWJ Committees are up and moving ahead with this year's challenges. Thank you to all who have generously agreed to offer time and expertise in support of the diverse efforts of NAWJ.

I have already had a number of occasions to seek the wise counsel from our Ethics Committee, chaired by Tam Nomoto Schumann; and to learn from our Membership Chair Jane Spencer Craney of her many initiatives regarding our ever present goal of increased membership; to work with our chairs of the Judicial Education Committee, Professors Judith Resnik and Vicki Jackson, both of whom are responsible for planning an exciting afternoon panel discussion at our Midyear Meeting in Cambridge on March 9th, Crisis in the Courts; just to name a few at this early date.

Not to exclude mention of any of the other dynamic committees or its members as each adds to the strength and flourish of our beloved organization. It is my plan to work closely with all committees this year and expand our outreach efforts and to meet our collective goals in respective areas. I will keep you informed.

As you may know, legislation was recently introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). First championed in the Committee by Vice President Biden in 1994, VAWA transformed the nation's response to domestic violence and sexual assault. Executive Director, Marie Komisar was instrumental in connecting NAWJ with Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, to determine how best we can support, as an organization, the reauthorization of VAWA. As such, a letter of our support will be forthcoming on behalf of NAWJ. From there, our chairs of the Domestic Violence Committee, Ellen Levy Siwak and Michele Christiansen are committed to advancing further efforts as it pertains to access to justice and safety issues.

Our new Tribal Outreach Committee chaired by Dana Fabe and Arline Pacht are spanning the nation to achieve inclusion of the many tribal judges to our membership. To honor Past President Brenda Loftin and the 10th year anniversary of NAWJ's treasured program, The Color of Justice, this committee will be searching for a location on or near a Native American reservation to present and celebrate the importance of this program.

Cathy Serrette and I will be chairing the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Committee and report soon as to the committee's initiatives and of its work with the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.

The 2012 Annual Conference Committee is hard at work and excitement is growing in anticipation of yet another amazing conference to be held in sunny Miami, Florida!

Through the years the NAWJ Board of Directors has strived to keep registration fees for NAWJ events as low as possible. However, the reality is that the world has become more expensive and the per person cost of food and beverage at an Annual Conference has exceeded our registration fee for several years. After much consideration, the Board has made the decision to increase the registration for the conferences (future years registration fees will be set based on the relative cost of the city where the conference is held).

This increase, while significant, still does not cover the per person food and beverage cost but it considerably closes the gap. Our appreciation goes out to Jeff Groton our Chief Operating Officer, for his thorough analysis and eye to every detail and constant vigilance. I trust you will understand the need for this increase and that you will join us in Miami!

The deadline for submissions to the Counterbalance newsletter is February 15th. Please read further in this Update for more information.

Lastly .... how's the song go? "Please come to Boston for the Springtime"... ok it's Cambridge and March 9th ... think spring weather and join us ..!

On behalf of your Board and Staff ..thank you for all you do every day.

My warmest wishes,


2012 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference
March 9 - 11, 2012

The Charles Hotel
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Room Reservations: 800-882-1818
NAWJ Rate: $239/night, plus applicable taxes

Deadline to Reserve: February 17, 2012
Midyear Meeting Registration Fees*
NAWJ Members: $195
Non-NAWJ Member Guests: $245

Register online or download the registration form to register.


Location: Harvard Law School
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: Judge Nancy Gertner (Retired), U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

NAWJ members and guests will lunch at Harvard Law School and hear Judge Gertner addressing Choice Feminism and the Revolution of Declining Expectations.

Location: Harvard Law School
Time: 1:35 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
Moderated by Dean Martha Minow, Harvard Law School

NAWJ members and guests will have the privilege of enlightening remarks and insight into life as a member of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Presentation of the NAWJ Justice Elena Kagan Scholarship Award

Location: Harvard Law School
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Moderator: NAWJ Judicial Education Committee Chairs Professor Vicki C. Jackson, Harvard Law School

Panelists: Professor Gillian K. Hadfield, Richard L. and Antoinette S. Kirtland Professor of Law, University of Southern California Law School; Hon. Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. and Professor Judith Resnik, Yale Law School, NAWJ Judicial Education Committee Co-Chair.

Location: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

NAWJ members and guests will enjoy an evening reception at one of Boston's notable venues and network with old and new friends.


Location: The Charles Hotel
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Location: The Charles Hotel
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Free time for those not attending the NAWJ Board meeting to explore Boston, Cambridge and surrounds.
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Open to NAWJ Board members and NAWJ members that wish to attend.
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Location: Schlesinger Library, Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Cambridge
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Presentation of the NAWJ Archives by Professor Nancy F. Cott, Pforzheimer Foundation, Director of the Schlesinger Library.


Location: The Charles Hotel
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Vice President of Publications Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
Calls for Submissions for the Next Issue of Counterbalance
Deadline February 15, 2012
Counterbalance informs and connects our members around the country. It features news and information which highlights NAWJ's many interesting educational programs and activities. Consider sharing news from your jurisdiction with your fellow colleagues in the newsletter. If you know of women judges in your state who have been recently appointed, or promoted or received an honor, let us know. If you have articles, announcements, book reviews, or events that you would like included in Counterbalance, please pass them along as well. NAWJ will also publish essays, and articles of interest which are in accord with our mission.

The deadline for submitting information for the next issue of Counterbalance is FEBRUARY 15, 2012. Look for the spring issue in April, 2012 after March's Midyear in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Those submitting material should do so by emailing all text and picture files to Lavinia Cousin at

The IAWJ and the UKAWJ have been working on the Conference Program. Although some presenters have already been identified and we have heard from some of you, IAWJ is issuing this Call for Presentations so that all of you have a chance to let us know if you would like to submit a proposal for one of the planned sessions.

IAWJ aims to have a diverse panel of three or four speakers for each session while also leaving time for questions and comments from the floor. The theme of the Conference is "keeping safe, keeping well" and we currently have the following topics in mind, but if you have other ideas and suggestions, please do not hesitate to mention them:

Thursday, 3 May: 9.30 - 11.00: Incarcerated Women [plenary]
Women are imprisoned all over the world by the criminal justice, mental health and immigration systems. Dame Anne Owers, formerly Chief Inspector of Prisons in the United Kingdom, has broad experience with the prison system in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. This is a subject of deep concern to IAWJ members and we are looking for a judicial perspectives from other countries.

Thursday, 3 May: 11.30 - 1.00: Trafficking [plenary]
This panel will describe the IAWJ's two projects on trafficking, in Haiti and Argentina, but opening them up to a broader discussion. In particular, we want to learn how trafficking issues are presented (or absent from) courts around the world. We would like to hear stories from our members about trafficking and related matters (such as, for example, cases involving forced marriages, adoption abuses, mistreatment of street children, etc.). What is happening in your courts?

The format of this panel will be "structured audience participation." That is, the moderator will take stories submitted by you, and weave them into an overall discussion with more speakers than can take part in a traditional "talking head" panel. We are not looking for formal presentations, but only for stories from your courts.

Thursday, 3 May: 2.00 - 3.00: Sextortion [plenary]
Sex + Extortion = Sextortion. This hidden form of corruption identified by the IAWJ is pervasive in societies. The IAWJ and its partner associations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Philippines and Tanzania have just completed a 3-year program developing this concept. They introduced and "named" sextortion for members at the IAWJ's conference in 2010. This session will share the steps now taken by thousands of rural and urban women and men - judges, law enforcement, media and others - who have joined together in multi-sectoral efforts to raise awareness and fight this form of sexual exploitation and corruption.

Friday, 4 May: 9.30 - 11.00: Judicial Health and Safety [parallel session]
We are all concerned about safeguarding the health and safety of the judiciary, but perhaps, as women judges often called upon to sit in less secure court rooms and given little protection from those who find our decisions unpalatable, we have an added interest. We would like to hear about the experiences and solutions found by IAWJ members around the world.

Friday, 4 May: 9.30 - 11.00: Women and Children as Armed Combatants [parallel session]
Child soldiers are commonly found in many conflict zones, because they are so useful to their commanders, but they are scarcely true volunteers. To what extent is the same true of women soldiers? We would like to hear about the dilemmas and the solutions found for them from IAWJ members around the world.

Friday, 4 May: 11.30 - 1.00 Services for Victims of Sexual Violence [plenary]
Sexual violence takes may different forms - including, for example, female genital cutting as well as rape and other sexual assaults. The legal system may make these acts a crime, but this may have little effect unless victims are able to come forward, and be properly examined and supported. Baroness Vivien Stern, former Secretary General of Penal Reform International and Director of the National Association for the Care and Re-settlement of Offenders, has recently looked at the handling of rape complaints in the United Kingdom. We need judicial perspective on the problems from other countries.

Friday 4 May: 2.00 - 3.00: Women, Work and Health [parallel session]
Women's participation in the workforce can be the key to economic development, not only for the individual women, but also for the whole society. Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, can speak about this from a medical point of view, but we need to hear from IAWJ members regarding their experiences of widening women's participation in the workforce.

Friday 4 May: 3.30 - 5.00: Violence and the Problem-Solving Court [parallel session]
Is judging just about resolving private disputes and punishing wrongdoers? Or is it also about finding creative and positive solutions which may help people lead better lives in future? Nowhere is this question more relevant than in the field of violence between family members, where it may not be possible for the parties simply to walk away from one another. We need to hear from IAWJ members on the solutions which they have found and how they see these solutions fitting in with their judicial role.

Saturday: 9.30 - 11.00: Reproductive health [plenary]
The current plan is to discuss a "hypothetical" case study raising many of the issues in reproductive health with a multi-disciplinary panel. We would like to hear from IAWJ members who have a particular interest in the subject.

Please contact the program committee with proposals, comments and suggestions at or email the IAWJ at:

Please note that you will need to be a registered IAWJ member and conference attendee in order to present at the IAWJ 2012 conference.

You may also see this call for Presentations online at: /uploads/files/event_406/IAWJ%202012%20CALL%20FOR%20PRESENTATIONS.pdf.

"Meet Me In Miami"
NAWJ 34th Annual Conference

November 7 - 11, 2012
Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach
Miami Beach, Florida

Register online or download the registration form to register.

Room Reservations: (800) 319-5354

NAWJ Rate: $199/night, plus applicable taxes


Judge Lisa S. Walsh Judge Myriam Lehr


Law Firm Partners Co-Chairs
Elizabeth Hernandez, Akerman Senterfitt
Linda M. Leali, White & Case LLP
Detra P. Shaw-Wilder, Koyzak Tropin & Throckmorton

Corporate Partners Chair
Mikki Canton, AsiaAmericana International LLC



This panel will address: What are the problems facing independence of the judiciary? What can we do about it, what ARE we doing about it? What are effective strategies for judicial independenc? What is happening in other countries?

What are the existing privacy laws? What are expectations of privacy? How do those existing privacy laws fit in with the current realities, cyberstalking and available remedies? How does the internet and social networking impact the judiciary and the ethics of judges or their clerks using the internet to research information about cases, jury members, lawyers, etc.?

This panel will address what judges can, do and should communicate with one another, formally and informally, regarding cross border issues or simultaneous proceedings. We will use Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code, which explicitly authorizes such communication, as a spring board for what could be used as a model in general business cases.

This panel will examine what is new and what is happening with respect to the use of Human Rights Norms in the domestic (US) context.


These panels will address the far reaching impact of the economic crisis on individuals, institutions, and the society at large.
Beyond banks and board rooms the global economic downturn is having a profound effect on the everyday lives of people around the world. Societies, too, are being tested as the engines of economic growth sputter forward. This panel will explore the less visible consequences of the financial crisis and its impact on people and communities.
Equal justice is an idea that we have long striven for in American society. But, is the economic crisis, with its strained government budgets, court cutbacks and loss of legal aid funding, turning back the clock on the progress we've made in reaching the goal of equal justice for all? Join us for this panel in which we will discuss how the financial squeeze is impacting access to justice at the individual court level and in society in general.

We will have two authors discuss books they have recently written and sign books.
(i) Judith Resnick will speak about her book "Representing Justice".
(ii) Prof. Sally Kenney will discuss her book "Gender and Judging"

This panel will discuss issues relating to bankruptcy, immigration and other laws that may or will impact criminal, family and commercial cases.

This panel will look at the challenges that women lawyers and judges are facing as the world around them changes. We have issues in the Middle and Far East as well as much closer to home - the Caribbean and Venezuela.



Someone "in the business" will share the secret (and not so secret) guidance in what it takes to write a book and get it published.

A panel of doctors from the University of Miami School of Medicine will discuss the aging woman and the physical and psychological issues about which we should be aware.

A discussion about a new method for reducing stress and making us more effective judges.

We will start our day(s) the right way with a group class each morning.

International Organization for Judicial Training Welcomes
the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa on the Initiative of Establishing the
International Academy of Judges

and in cooperation with
Brandeis University International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life presents

Summer Workshops in Haifa, Israel

July 15-August 3, 2012
NAWJ Friend Professor Leigh Swigart announces judicial training opportunities in Haifa, Israel to members of the National Association of Women Judges. They will run from 15 July to 3 August 2012. Download the brochure here which describes the program and how the courses can be credit-bearing for judges wishing to eventually gain a degree. Brandeis University will hold a short judicial colloquium as part of the program as well. Haifa is very eager to have judges from across the globe, and there are scholarships available.

If you have questions not answerable from the workshop guide, contact Leigh Swigart, Ph.D., Director of Programs in International Justice and Society International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life Brandeis University Waltham MA 02454. Phone: (781) 736-2694.

New 2012 Forster-Long State Gender Ratio Statistics
Now Available from NAWJ's website

From NAWJ's website you may now view state level gender statistics from Forster-Long's most recent publication of THE AMERICAN BENCH, an annual comprehensive publication that profiles federal and state courts. In 2008, the National Association of Women Judges joined with Forster-Long, publisher of THE AMERICAN BENCH and THE AMERICAN BAR, to share information it gathers for its publication and for NAWJ members to provide Forster-Long with biographical information and other data.

Click on the U.S. map reachable from NAWJ's homepage to find for each state: (1) the ratio of total women state court judges to total judges in that particular state (2) the ratio of women to total judges in the state's court of highest jurisdiction (3) the ratio of women to total judges in the state's intermediate appellate courts (4) the ratio of women to total judges in the state's trial courts of general jurisdiction, and (5) the ratio of women to total judges in the state's lower level trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

NAWJ District III Luncheon Meeting Registration, February 25, 2012 at Noon, in the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

18th Annual Judge Irma S. Raker Meeting of NAWJ Maryland Chapter and Women Legislators of Maryland Dinner. February 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm at the Government House in Annapolis, MD.

NAWJ's Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference will take place March 9 - 11 in Cambridge, Massachusetts at The Charles Hotel.

Pathways to the Bench. Sponsored by NAWJ and the D.C. Women's Law Initiative will take place March 17 at Catholic University Columbus School of Law, Washington, D.C.

National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary Mid-year Educational Conference in Reno, Nevada from April 1-3, 2012.

Training Women Lawyers on the Judicial Selection Process, Thursday, April 26, 2012 at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, Washington, D.C.

International Association of Women Judges 2012 Bi-Annual Conference will take place May 2 - 5 in London, United Kingdom.

NAWJ's 34th Annual Conference will take place in Miami, Florida, November 7 - 11 at the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach.

NAWJ's 35th Annual Conference will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The 2014 International Association of Women Judges Bi-Annual Conference will take place in Tanzania May 6 - 9.

Mission Statement:

The National Association of Women Judges' mission is to: Promote the judicial role of protecting the rights of individuals under the rule of law through strong, committed, diverse judicial leadership, fairness and equality in the courts, and equal access to justice.

About NAWJ:

Since its formation in 1979, NAWJ has inspired and lead the American judiciary in achieving fairness and equality for vulnerable populations. Led by two visionary women - Justice Joan Dempsey Klein and Justice Vaino Spencer - 100 brave and intrepid women judges met and formed an organization dedicated to the following ideals: ensuring equal justice and access to the courts for all including women, youth, the elderly, minorities, the underprivileged, and people with disabilities; providing judicial education on cutting-edge issues of importance; developing judicial leaders; increasing the number of women on the bench in order for the judiciary to more accurately reflect the role of women in a democratic society; and improving the administration of justice to provide gender-fair decisions for both male and female litigants.

From the day it was founded, NAWJ has been committed to diversity in our membership. Our organization welcomes both men and women. We include appellate, trial, tribal, administrative law judges, state and federal judges, and members from every state in the nation.

NAWJ takes pride in its accomplishments. We were at the forefront in the establishment and implementation of gender bias task forces in both federal and state courts. We have greatly advanced the administration of justice in areas of domestic violence, child support and child custody, and the treatment of women in the courts of America. We also are respected as a leader in educating judges on bioethics, elderly abuse, the sentencing of women offenders with substance abuse problems; improving conditions for women in prison; and the problems facing immigrants in our court system. Currently we are developing curricula on the effect of genetic advances on women and vulnerable populations, the impact of international law on state and federal courts, and cognitively disabled persons in criminal courts.

In addition to addressing these and other important issues, NAWJ provides an opportunity for judges to meet and discuss professional issues of mutual concern in a supportive atmosphere. Connecting with others with the same values, we laugh, enjoy life and mentor one another nationwide.

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