NAWJ Monthly Update April 2021

Written by National Association of Women Judges|April 05, 2021|Monthly Update Archive

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Monthly Update

April 2021
Volume 19, Issue 4

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The virtual Midyear Meeting is nearly upon us. I hope all of you have it on your calendars and are planning on attending. In addition to the excellent programming detailed below, we are holding a special business meeting for members only. Two resolutions of significance are on the agenda and I urge all of you to attend.

We will begin the midyear meeting on Thursday, April 15th with a series of roundtable discussions, each hosted by a member of the Resource Board and a judicial officer. This will be followed by a welcome reception, at which mixologist Adam Marans will introduce specially crafted NAWJ cocktails and a mocktail. He will provide us with the ingredient list, instructions on how to mix our own and answer questions. Adam has created cocktail menus and cocktails for restaurants in Brooklyn and Baltimore and has had some of his work featured in Town & Country, GQ and the New York Post.

On Friday, April 16th we have two outstanding education sessions. The first will feature personal discussions on racial inequities from three African American Justices; the second will focus on our own well-being as we continue the difficult work we do in the midst of the pandemic. The speakers for each session are dynamic and engaging and I know that you will enjoy their presentations.  Special thanks to Judge Pamela Washington and Commissioner Pennie McLaughlin for your help in putting these sessions together!

Our special Business Meeting will follow. A resolution regarding the safety and security of judicial officers, based on Daniel’s Law and the tragic circumstances surrounding Judge Esther Salas’ family will be presented first.  An additional resolution regarding barring certain sites as future conference locations will be presented by the LGBTQ Committee. Thank you to Resource Board member Donna Melby, who has graciously agreed to serve as Parliamentarian for the meeting. Even if you are unable to attend the rest of the midyear meeting, I ask that you consider attending this portion of the meeting. A separate link will be provided to all those that request one. Please contact for information on how to participate.

The Board meeting, which all are welcome to attend, is scheduled for Friday afternoon. It will be an opportunity to hear from Committee Chairs, District Directors and Board members about upcoming projects and all of the amazing work they are doing for NAWJ.

Finally, in order to be transparent, the Executive Director Hiring Committee has opened the application process for a permanent Executive Director. Laurie Denham, who has done a fabulous job as interim ED over the last couple of years, has been encouraged to apply. Applications are due April 8 and interviews will take place in mid-May.
I hope that all of you are vaccinated, or in line to be vaccinated soon. Stay healthy. I look forward to seeing each of you virtually in mid-April and in person in October.
Warm regards,
Judge Karen Donohue
King County Superior Court
NAWJ President


The NAWJ 2021 Midyear Meeting will be held virtually, starting the evening of Thursday, April 15th with an interactive welcome reception.  There will be four breakout sessions, each led by a NAWJ Judge Member and NAWJ Resource Board member, followed by the reception with mixologist Adam Marans making specialty NAWJ cocktails and mocktails.

On Friday, April 16th, the day begins with two educational sessions in the morning, Racial Inequities as a Judicial Officer: The Personal Stories of Three African-American Justices and Thriving as a Judge and as a Person During and After the Pandemic (CLE pending for both sessions).  Education sessions will be followed by a member meeting and board meeting in the afternoon.  

Registration is now open.  Click here to view the full agenda and reserve your spot today!


The NAWJ Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Committee recently approved an updated committee description:

This committee’s mission is to ensure that NAWJ is well-informed about court initiatives that improve the lives of children and families and increase access to justice in a fair, equitable, effective and timely manner; provide information on standards, practices, and efficacy of the nation’s juvenile courts; explore, develop, and present educational programs related to the wide range of child welfare and  juvenile justice issues in courts and communities; and provide NAWJ members with information from other national associations that address child welfare and  juvenile justice initiatives including continuing education, data and research, publications, and technical assistance information.

A full list of NAWJ committees, including descriptions and members, can be found on the Committee page of the NAWJ website.

Ms. Danielle Anderson, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Southfield, MI
Hon. Linda L. Anderson, Henrico Co Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, Henrico, VA
Hon. Dania Ayoubi, Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, Silver Spring, MD
Hon. Amy Baggio, Multnomah County, Portland, OR
Hon. H. Yvonne Coleman, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, IL
Hon. Amy C. Coppola, 8th Judicial District of Kansas, Junction City, KS
Hon. Natalia Cornelio, 351st District Court, Houston, TX
Ms. Samantha Coulter, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Detroit, MI
Hon. Lora C. Cubbage, North Carolina Superior Court, Greensboro, NC
Hon. Cole Dalton, Office of Administrative Hearings, Pasadena, CA
Hon. Yolaine Dauphin, City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings, Chicago, IL
Hon. Anita Sue Earls, North Carolina Supreme Court, Raleigh, NC
Ms. Jocelyn Flemons, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Detroit, MI
Hon. Melissa W. Friedman, Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, Roanoke, VA
Hon. Alyson Adams Grine, North Carolina District 15B, Hillsborough, NC
Hon. Christina Hale, Court of Common Pleas, Pottsville, PA
Hon. Vivian Henderson, Virginia Beach General District Court, Virginia Beach, VA
Hon. Tracy H. Hewett, State of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC
Hon. Claudine R. James, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Houston, TX
Hon. Rickye McKoy-Mitchell, 26th Judicial District Court, Charlotte, NC
Hon. Kimberly Merrifield, Butte County Superior Court, Oroville, CA
Hon. Nora J. Miller, Mecklenburg Co. Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, Boydton, VA
Mrs. Bayyinah M. Norbi, Barry University School of Law, Oviedo, FL
Hon. Nancy E. Parrish, Kansas State District Court, Topeka, KS
Hon. Theresa J. Royall, Amelia Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, Amelia, VA
Hon. Michelle D. Szambelan, Spokane County Superior Court, Spokane, WA
Hon. Lynn Tepper, 6th Circuit Court, Florida, Dade City, FL
Hon. Chimere Chisolm Trimble, City of Fort Valley Municipal Court, Ft. Valley, GA
Hon. Cindy G. Vanlandingham, Bosque County, Kopperl, TX
Hon. Teresa H. Vincent, State of North Carolina, Summerfield, NC
Hon. Adrienne Wooten, 7th Circuit of Hinds County, Jackson, MS
Ms. Carey Young, University College London, London, UK


This section recognizes those in our NAWJ community, and keeps our members apprised of notable news going on around the country. Please share any news from your district, yourself, or a member within the NAWJ community on this form so we can include in upcoming NAWJ communications. 

The Honorable Deborah Henderson Receives Public Service Award - On March 12, 2021, Shelby County General Sessions Civil Court Judge Deborah Henderson was recognized by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and honored with the Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators. Judge Henderson single-handedly established the Shelby County General Sessions Court's mediation program. Click here to read more.

Cori E. Barkman Appointed to 29th Circuit Court of Clinton and Gratiot Counties - Ms. Cori Barkman was appointed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the 29th Circuit Court of Clinton and Gratiot Counties on March 19, 2021.  Currently Ms. Barkman serves as the First Assistant Attorney General in the Michigan Department of Corrections Division of the Attorney General's Office. Click here to read more.
NAWJ is grateful for the 2021 Resource Board Members and Landmark Sponsors who generously supported our organization.

Resource Board Members
Nicole Erb, Esq. (Co-Chair), White & Case LLP
Sarah London, Esq. (Co-Chair), Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Elizabeth Cabraser, Esq., Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Kelly Dermody, Esq., Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Robert Kaufman, Esq., Proskauer Rose LLP
Heather McDevitt, Esq., White & Case LLP
Diane McGimsey, Esq., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Linda Leali, Esq., Linda Leali, P.A.
Thomas Leighton, Thomson Reuters
The Honorable Mary Becnel, Retired
Ron DaLessio, CourtCall
Dawn Jayma, The Killino Firm, PC
Afsoon McClellan, LexisNexis
Donna Melby, Esq., Paul Hastings
Elaine Metlin, Esq., Retired
Christopher Poole, JAMS
Cathy Winter-Palmer, Retired
Landmark Sponsors
The Honorable Mary Becnel
Robert Kaufman
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Thomson Reuters Corporation
White & Case LLP

JAMS, Inc.


Did you know you can support NAWJ when you are shopping through Amazon?  AmazonSmile is a way for you to support a charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.  AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to NAWJ when you select us as your charitable organization of choice.  Get started today by enrolling as an AmazonSmile customer or selecting NAWJ as your organization of choice if you are already enrolled.


District 8 is planning a MentorJet program for April 12 and co-sponsoring a NAWJ Human Trafficking Program in July.  District 8 also participated in the Commission's ABA Midyear Meeting in February, as well as the ABA Judicial Division Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary.  Click here to read more on District 8 happenings.


District 11 has a number of Color of Justice programs in the works for the coming months, including the Austin program that was postponed due to the winter storm in February.  Click here to read more on District Director Hon. Maria Salas-Mendoza's update on District 11.


The NAWJ Fairness and Access Committee has been revitalized behind the incredible work of Judges Tamila Ipema, Terrie Roberts and Commissioner Nadia Keilani, all colleagues on the San Diego Superior Court.  They have attracted a large committee of judicial officers from around the country and have actively presented relevant and dynamic webinars on Racial Disparities in the Justice System, the causes behind them, and what to do about it.  Click here to read more on their recent work.


Since its formation in 1979, NAWJ has inspired and led the American judiciary in achieving fairness and equality for vulnerable populations. 

NAWJ’s 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.

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