NAWJ Monthly Update February 2016

Written by National Association of Women Judges|February 01, 2016|Monthly Update Archive

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February 2016

In This Issue:

National Association of Women Judges
The Honorable Lisa Walsh
NAWJ President

Greetings from NAWJ! This February marks Black History Month. The theme for this year's Black History Month, "Hallowed Grounds - Sites of African American Memories," creates opportunities for each of us to explore our communities to discover the places that mark history. For example, in my home town of Miami, just steps from my courthouse lies the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum, where Miami's first Black police officers patrolled the streets in the pre-civil rights era. Having received no access to justice in Miami's courts, the Black community created a parallel system until our police departments were unified in 1963. Today, meaningful access to justice, our theme under Past-President Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, remains a live concern that affects many populations, but especially the indigent. Many of our courthouses laudably celebrate Black History Month. For ideas and templates for presentations that you may wish to use, please click here.

So much is happening this month in NAWJ.

IAWJ Biennial Conference May 26-29, 2016 - Register Now!

Over 300 judges from 34 countries have already registered for the 2016 Biennial Conference to be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel May 26-29, 2016. We expect to top 600 judges from all over the world. We are so honored and grateful to have the participation and support of our Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. We will welcome many Supreme Court Justices from around the world, and Justices Lady Brenda Hale, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Justice Elena I. Highton-Nolasco, Supreme Court of Argentina, current IAWJ President, Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Supreme Court of the Philippines, and Justice Irene Mambilima, Chief Justice of Zambia, will be participating in a speakers panel with Justice Sotomayor, led by Professor Judith Resnik of Yale Law School.

As the host country and chapter, the United States should have a strong showing at the Biennial in order to showcase our exceptional judiciary, NAWJ and our country. We have registered approximately 100 NAWJ members to attend the IAWJ Conference. We should at the very least double that number for an event that will not recur again in our country for many years to come. Please register online by clicking here.

Kickoff Receptions for Seattle Conference 2016

On January 21 and 22, I attended NAWJ kickoff receptions in Seattle and Spokane, Washington for the 2016 Seattle Conference. The receptions were held at the law firms of Perkins Coie in Seattle and Winston Cashatt in Spokane and were hosted by our Friends Committee Co-Chairs, Ellen Dial and Nancy Isserlis. We are so grateful for the generosity of our hosts and the law firms of Perkins Coie and Winston Cashatt in supporting our important work to be carried to fruition in Seattle. Our conference Chair and Co-Chairs, Justice Susan Owens, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, Justice Mary Fairhurst, Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Justice Debra Stephens, Judge Marilyn Paja, Judge Karen Donohue, and Judge Maggie Ross attended with many judges and lawyers present. NAWJ and the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) awarded Equal Justice scholarships to two law students from Gonzaga Law School, Angela Jones and Stephanie Faust.

Our education program for the Seattle Conference is robust. In addition to our many programs and initiatives we have historically presented, we will be presenting on topics including access to justice, elder law and aging populations, sexual abuse on campuses and quasi-judicial systems, and many more. For more information and to register for the Seattle Conference, please click here.

Scenes from Annual Kick-Off from Spokane

Conference of Chief Justices January 30, 2016

(L-R: Hon. Jennifer Bailey, ABA President Paulette Brown, Hon. Tani Cantil-Sakauye.)

January 30 through February 3, 2016, I attended the Conference of Chief Justices in Monterey, California on behalf of NAWJ. NAWJ proudly counts many Chief Justices among our members, including Chief Justice Barbara Madsen of Washington, co-chair of our Seattle Conference to be held in October, Past-President Dana Fabe of Alaska, Chief Justice Sharon Lee of Tennessee, and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of California. We are so grateful to Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, who has just agreed to serve as the Co-Chair of our Informed Voters Project. Many of our nation's Chief Justices were interested and aware of NAWJ's programs, projects and conferences and we hope to welcome many to the IAWJ Biennial Conference and our Annual Conference in Seattle.

ABA Midyear Conference February 3-6, 2016, Burnham "Hod" Greeley Award

On February 3-8, 2016, I attended the ABA Midyear Conference held in San Diego, California. Many of our members attended and volunteered in the Judicial Division Clerkship program, where they worked side by side with participating law students on research and writing projects over the span of several days. In addition to working with the students, our ABA Liaison, Judge Toni Clarke, participated on a panel presented to the law students, judges and lawyers in attendance.

I attended the meeting for the Commission on Women in the Profession, in place of our delegate, Past-President Anna Blackburne-Rigsby. The Commission discussed a plethora of issues including implementation of a program for young women associates, as well as pending ABA Resolutions addressing employment discrimination. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby provided a comprehensive report to the CWP on all NAWJ's programming and activities directed toward the advancement of women.

On February 5, 2016, NAWJ received the 2016 Burnham "Hod" Greeley Award. The award is given to individuals or organizations for making a significant, positive impact on public understanding of the role of the judiciary. NAWJ was nominated by Judge Cara Lee Neville, Past-President of NAWJ, Judge Diana Eagon, NAWJ District 5 Director, and Judge Renee Worke, NAWJ member. While NAWJ was nominated for its many programs and initiatives, the Informed Voters Project, created in 2013, made a particular positive impact upon the public's understanding of the rule of the judiciary. In view of the enormous impact of the IVP, I invited Justice Joan Irion to join me in accepting the award. Judge Irion spoke to a large audience of judges and lawyers about the importance of educating the public about the role of the judiciary and the importance that the judiciary remain free of political influence. Mr. Greeley's daughter, attorney Kimberly Ann Greeley, placed gorgeous leis from Hawai'i on Justice Irion and me. NAWJ should be so proud of the impact it has had upon the bench and bar, an impact which is recognized throughout the ABA and around the country.

IVP Symposium at Florida State University - A Conversation with Justices

On February 3rd, Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson, and Washington Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens, participated in a Symposium at Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida. Entitled, "Preserving a Fair and Impartial Judiciary: A Conversation with State Supreme Court Justices," the Justices spoke with a room full of law students, lawyers and judges, exploring the principle that judges must be evaluated on their integrity, competence, and ethics, and not politics. This principle is a pillar of our judicial system, and education on this principle is the keystone of IVP. A full write-up about the symposium, photos and materials is included in this monthly Newsletter. Next month, please check your Newsletter for links to materials as well as an IVP "Conference in a Box," so that NAWJ Members can easily replicate symposia in their communities.

Resource Board Initiatives

Welcome to new Resource Board Member Chris Poole from JAMS! JAMS is a natural partner with NAWJ, given the close relationship between judges and alternative dispute resolution. We look forward to a long and happy relationship.

With the assistance of Resource Board Co-Chair, Harriet Wesig, we have received responses from a survey sent to all Resource Board members on ways they wish to become more involved with the working of NAWJ. Many members may not realize that our Resource Board members assist the organization in more ways than securing funding. For example, the Orrick Firm, and attorneys Christina Sarchio, Amisha Patel and Emily Luken, have provided NAWJ with many pro bono hours per year of work on NAWJ contracts and legal issues that arise from time to time. Elizabeth Hernandez, of the Akerman LLP firm, and Linda Leali, of Linda Leali P.A., have taken on the additional roles as Miami Friends Chairs, supporting the IAWJ Biennial and the NAWJ Annual Conference in Seattle. Cathy Winter and CourtCall have brainstormed on our sustainability initiative, assisted NAWJ in obtaining conference vendors, and in securing additional Resource Board members.

Atlanta 2017 Annual Conference

The Atlanta Conference, led by Co-Chairs Justice Carol Hunstein and Judge Sara Doyle, have already begun meetings and planning.

San Antonio Annual Conference

Our 2018 Annual Conference in San Antonio is in its initial stages. Conference Chair Justice Rebeca Martinez met with our contract conference staff visiting potential sites for the 2018 conference. We have contracted with the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio.


Our Website Project Manager, Hon. Karen Donohue has been working daily with Efelle, in developing our website, soon to launch. Production is in the stage in which content is being added to all pages and subpages. This vital part of the process will take several weeks to complete. Efelle, Judge Donohue and NAWJ staff are working together for a smooth transition to the new platform. We encourage members to email testimonials about their involvement in NAWJ for use on the web pages to

Future Funding Strategies and Sustainability Committee

To begin to tackle how to ensure our sustainability as an organization, NAWJ has convened the "Sustainability Committee," chaired by Past President Hon. Amy Nechtem, which will begin meeting this month. The two issues we must address are organization income and responsible financial planning of the money we do secure to ensure liquidity into the future. Current highlights include retaining a grant writer and introducing paying conference vendors which are compatible with our conferences.

New Program Development

Always on the cutting edge of education and programming, NAWJ is currently exploring new areas for program development. In addition to Strength in Diversity, directed at increasing diversity in the judiciary, we are developing programming in the areas of Access to Justice, Sexual Assault on campuses, retirement and elder law, and a possible in-depth reentry program. Kudos to Hon. Karen Donohue, Education Chair of the Seattle Annual Conference and Website Project Manager, for introducing several of these new areas of programming and education in the Seattle Conference!

NAWJ Staff and Infrastructure

Marie Komisar and her staff tirelessly work to streamline the management of NAWJ and to develop its funding stream. In particular, Marie Komisar has had a stellar month focusing upon raising funds for the Biennial Conference. Together with Mary-Kathleen Todd, Lavinia Cousin, Sharon de Castro and the many support vendors of NAWJ, she leads a team of hard working dedicated women and men to move NAWJ toward a strong and positive future.

Have a wonderful February, and I look forward to seeing you all the Biennial May 26-29, 2016.

Sincerely yours,

Lisa Walsh, President
11th Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade, Florida

January 30-February 3 - Conference of Chief Justices in Monterrey, California

February 3 - February 6 - ABA Midyear Meeting Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, California

IAWJ's 13th Biennial International Conference
"Women Judges and the Rule of Law: Assessing the Past, Anticipating the Future"
Hosted by the National Association of Women Judges
Washington DC, USA
May 26-29, 2016

(Click here)

$895 for IAWJ Members* ($850 Early bird rate until December 31, 2015)
$500 Guest Rate I and $250 Guest Rate II
More information and registration here:

Omni Shoreham Hotel (202) 234-0700 • Conference Rate: $189/night, plus 14.5% tax

For More Information Contact:
Conference Chairs: Hon. Carolyn Temin at, or Hon. Jane Craney at

Informed Voters Project Panel at FSU College of Law A Great Success!

On February 3, 2016 Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson, and Washington Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens, participated in a symposium at Florida State University (FSU) College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida. Justices Hudson and Stephens met with students earlier in the day to discuss working in the courts, and they joined Justice Pariente and Justice Quince for a panel discussion moderated by FSU Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Janeia Ingram entitled "Preserving a Fair and Impartial Judiciary: A Conversation with State Supreme Court Justices." The panel was presented in partnership with FSU School of Law and NAWJ's Informed Voters Fair Judges Project (IVP), with support from the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, Tallahassee Women Lawyers, and American Board of Trial Advocates.

The principle that judges must be evaluated on their integrity, competence, and ethics, and not politics, is a pillar of our judicial system, and education on this principle is the keystone of IVP. The esteemed panel of state supreme court justices addressed a full room of law students, attorneys, and judges on this topic. Each explained the system of judicial selection in their jurisdiction-ranging from partisan election of judges at all levels to non-partisan appointment and merit-retention-and demonstrated the negative influence of special interests when judges appear on the ballot, regardless of the selection system. Each Justice showed vitriolic ads, political cartoons, and social media posts targeting them for what might be deemed "unpopular" decisions by special interests, and then educated the audience about how those attacks, funded by "dark money," illustrate a fundamental misunderstanding of our system. It is the duty of judges and lawyers in all jurisdictions to educate voters and promote public understanding of the role of judges to dispense justice without fear or favor. This panel presentation hopes to encourage more judges and lawyers to outreach into their communities and make IVP presentations. View the related PowerPoint presentation here. Learn more at

Co-Chairs of the Judicial Independence Committee Justice Barbara Pariente and Justice Robin Hudson (Supreme Court of North Carolina), IVP Chair attorney Linda Leali, Florida Law Related Education Association Executive Director Annette Boyd Pitts, and FSU Assistant Dean Ingram are recognized for their efforts in organizing this successful IVP event!

Alternative Sentencing Key-Stakeholder Summit
Georgetown University Law Center
March 7-8, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

(Click here to visit the Summit's website.)

NAWJ President Lisa Walsh received an invitation from Judge Charles Renfrew (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California) to the Alternative Sentencing Key-Stakeholder Summit (ASKS) taking place at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. from March 7-8, 2016. Summit partners include the Women's Prison Association, ABA Criminal Justice Section, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Brennan Center for Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers amongst others.

Current confirmed speakers include NAWJ Members Judge Bernice Donald, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells, United States District Court for the District of Utah.

Complete program information and registration forms may be found in The Summit's website here ( RSVP or make inquiries by email to

The Alternative Sentencing Key-Stakeholder Summit (ASKS) brings together all key stakeholders in criminal justice to explore the application of alternative sentencing programs for reducing both incarceration and recidivism. Panelists and attendees will share perspectives on the issues and identify priorities regarding extending the use of alternative sentencing measures in practice and mitigating concerns over their broadened use. We hope to present all sides, from efficacy to societal impact and practical application. The ASKS Summit is outcomes oriented. Beyond sharing case studies, ASKS aims to identify priorities for broadening the use of such programs including priorities for alleviating present concerns of their use.

Much reform is already happening through current judicial and prosecutorial discretion as well as through data-driven, forward-thinking corrections programs that are implementing alternative sentencing practices. These efforts are continually evolving to find better ways to see justice done, punishment delivered and rehabilitation realized. ASKS hopes to encourage continued discussion among those who are currently implementing alternatives as well as those who wish to expand and implement new programs.

Judicial Symposium on the Economics and Law
of Public Pension Reform
March 20 to 22, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina

Program Description
The Judicial Symposium on the Economics and Law of Public Pension Reform will discuss the looming financial and structural crisis facing state pensions systems across the nation. With several dozen states adopting modest to major reforms, the economic impact on plan beneficiaries will be substantial, and at least twenty-five jurisdictions are facing lawsuits due to the reforms adopted.

This symposium will comprehensively outline the underlying structure of pension systems, address the differences between public and private pensions, and detail the unfunded liabilities and potential bankruptcy issues arising from this crisis. It also will discuss the legal challenges to reform efforts under state constitutions citing both the contracts clause and the takings clause. The symposium is structured to allow ample time for participant dialogue with speakers and panelists.

Click here to visit the Symposium's webpage.

For more information, contact: Mason Judicial Education Program, 703.993.8008,

Landmark Sponsor GEICO

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Calendar of Programs and Events

The Alaska Court System presents 2016 Color of Justice programs for high schools students, February 25-26, 2016 at the Cook Inlet Region Incorporated and Boney Courthouses in Anchorage.

The International Association of Women Judges Biennial will be hosted in the United States by the National Association of Women Judges in Washington D.C. from May 26-29, 2016.

NAWJ San Diego will host its first Success Inside & Out Program for women nearing release from prison in June.

NAWJ 37th Annual Conference will take place in Seattle, Washington from October 5-9, 2016 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

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