NAWJ Monthly Update May 2021

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

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Monthly Update

May 2021
Volume 19, Issue 5

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Thank you to those that attended our midyear meeting. The meeting was not designed to be a financial success, yet attendance for a midyear was up due to the virtual platform and the roundtables, reception and education sessions were well received. Thank you to Judge Pamela Washington and Commissioner Penny McLaughlin for helping to plan and coordinate the educational sessions. Thanks also to the committee chairs who attended the Board Meeting. It was truly inspiring to hear all of the really amazing work that is being done by our committees and District Directors.

In addition to the great work done in the committees, NAWJ members participate in a number of other capacities. There are currently several opportunities for members to serve:
  • #WeToo in the Legal Profession Advisory Group – This is a group formed as a result of an SJI grant we received in 2019. We are working with NACM to prepare educational materials regarding sexual harassment in the legal workplace. Judge Marcella Holland and Judge Sheva Sims currently serve on the advisory group and can provide additional information - 3 positions open.
  • Liaison to the ABA’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence – Judge Vivian Medinilla can provide additional information – 1 position open
  • DEI Collaborative – Judges Marcella Holland and Karen Sage currently serve and can provide additional information - 1 position
Please contact me or Laurie Denham if you are interested in representing NAWJ in any of these important roles.

Although I would much prefer to hop on a plane and travel to New Zealand, I am excited to attend the virtual conference May 6 – 8 (due to the time difference). Thank you to Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris for her extended service as our International Director. Judge Shirdan-Harris has worked diligently over the last several years to educate the board and membership about the important role and the relationship between NAWJ and IAWJ. Congratulations to incoming International Director Judge Lisa Walsh, who was elected to the position in 2019 and will soon take over the role. Congratulations as well to Judge Vanessa Ruiz, who has the distinction of being the only member to serve as president of both NAWJ and IAWJ. There is still time to register, show our appreciation for these dynamic leaders and interact with our international sister judges.

Please save the date for the IFPSD and NAWJ Day at the United Nations on June 4th. The theme is Moving Forward, Falling Behind: Achieving Full Empowerment of Women During the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Judge Lisa Walsh, Col. Linda Murnane and Salwa (Sally) Kader have planned a wonderful program which will include two educational sessions, an International Tea and Ethics session, a virtual UN tour and a reception. More details will be posted on the website soon.

For those of you who are not yet associated with a committee or involved in planning and event, please get involved!  NAWJ is an amazing organization, full of hard working, passionate members. It is an honor to be associated with all of you.
Judge Karen Donohue
King County Superior Court
NAWJ President


During the Special Business Meeting at the 2021 Midyear Meeting, members of NAWJ overwhelming passed a Resolution in Support of Judicial Security and Privacy Legislation. The resolution largely mirrors one passed by the American Bar Association at their midyear meeting earlier this year.  Click here to read the resolution.


As a reminder, NAWJ members who are registered for the IAWJ Biennial Conference, our North American Regional meeting is tomorrow, May 6th at 4:00 PM Eastern time/1:00 PM Pacific time.  This meeting will be with our Canadian counterparts.

Click here if you are not already registered for the IAWJ Biennial Conference - there is still time to join us!


Join us on June 4, 2021, as NAWJ hosts its third annual “Day at the United Nations.”
The theme for this year's virtual conference is “Moving Forward; Falling Behind: Achieving Full Empowerment of Women During a Global Pandemic.” NAWJ co-hosts Colonel Linda Murnane and Hon. Lisa Walsh are honored to once again present this conference with co-host International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development (IFPSD), founded and led by NAWJ member, supporter and friend, CEO Salwa Kader.
This year's program focuses upon women in the Middle East and Africa and on the global impact of COVID on women. Following a welcome session with prominent diplomats and dignitaries, Colonel Linda Murnane will moderate a discussion with Ms. Rachel Irura, Head of the Witness Support and Protection Unit for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. Following this session, Ms. Kader will moderate a discussion with diplomatic and political leadership in the Middle East on the effects of gender upon statelessness and women’s rights in the region. Following these sessions, NAWJ will host our popular  “Tea and Ethics,” inviting  judges from around the world, with the assistance of the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, to join us in discussion of issues affecting their home countries. Following Tea and Ethics, the IFPSD offers an optional virtual tour of the United Nations, led by a United Nations docent.
You don't want to miss this unique event.


During this free event, sponsored by JAMS, the panelists will be speaking to the impact COVID has had on how they administer justice. We have all adapted to virtual technology and working from home.  Undoubtedly, much of what we've done to adapt will continue post pandemic. The distinguished speakers will bring their unique perspective to these cutting edge issues.  Click here to register.


NAWJ 16th Annual Meeting with Congressional Women's Caucus
July 9, 2021

NAWJ 43rd Annual Conference
October 6-10, 2021

Hon. Daniel Anders, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Mrs. Clemens Bastos-Soares, St. Thomas University, Student
Hon. Rachel L. Bell, General Sessions Music City Community Court, Nashville, TN
Hon. Te'iva Johnson Bell, 339th District Court, Houston, TX
Hon. Janet E. Bostwick, U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
Hon. Megan K. Cavanagh, Michigan Supreme Court, Lansing, MI
Hon. Cory M. Chandler, D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, Washington, D.C.
Hon. Linda Dunson, 309th Family District Court, Houston, TX
Ms. Ayesha Durrani, South Texas College of Law, Houston, TX
Hon. Heather P. Ferguson, 23rd Judicial District, Roanoke, VA
Hon. Colleen Gaido, 337th District Court, Houston, TX
Hon. Jessica Giner, Renton Municipal Court, Renton, WA
Hon. Tiffany G. Gipson, General Sessions Court, Gainesboro, TN
Hon. Lucy Hebron, Wood County Court, Mineola, TX
Hon. Michelle Ialeggio, San Diego Superior Court, San Diego, CA
Hon. Claudia Isom, Florida State Courts, Tampa, FL
Hon. Kelli D. Johnson, 178th District Court, Houston, TX
Hon. Chris Ann Kelley, NYS Court of Claims, Port Jefferson, NY
Ms. Mai Pham Kelley, South Texas College of Law, Student
Hon. Judith Lieb, New York State, Bronx Criminal Division, Bronx, NY
Hon. Wanda Y. Negron, Bronx Criminal Court, Bronx, NY
Hon. Patricia Y. O'Caña-Olivarez, Hidalgo County Court at Law No. 9, Edinburg, TX
Hon. Ebony Scott, D.C. Superior Court, Washington, D.C.
Hon. Leah Shapiro, 315th District Court, Houston, TX
Hon. Clarissa Silva, Texas Thirteenth Court of Appeals, Corpus Christi, TX
Ms. Sherry Thompson-Taylor, San Diego County, Chula Vista, CA
Hon. Julie P. Verheye, St. Joseph Superior Court, South Bend, IN
Hon. Victor Villarreal, Webb County Court at Law II, Laredo, TX
Hon. Toni M. Wallace, County Court At Law Number Four, Richmond, TX
Hon. Samantha L. Ward, 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Hillsborough County, Tampa, FL
Hon. Teana V. Watson, County Court At Law #5, Richmond, TX


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 Cheryl Rios of Kansas Recognized With MANA Ring of Honor Award - District 10 Director, Hon. Cheryl Rios from the 3rd Judicial Distict Court in Kansas, received the 2021 MANA Ring of Honor Award from MANA, A National Latina Organization. In honor of Women’s History Month, MANA recognized the rapidly growing number of MANA women who have served or now serve in an elected or appointed office of public trust. Click here to read more and watch the award ceremony video.

Zenell Brown Honored with Sojourner Truth Award - NAWJ Michigan Chapter Co-Chair Zenell Brown was awarded the Sojourner Truth Award by the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women's Club, Inc. 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 11 members have been very active: participating in social hour sessions, welcoming a stream of new members, and hosting two Color of Justice programs in April.  Click here to read more details on all the recent events in District 11.


The Washington State Supreme Court Minority and Justice Commission and Gender and Justice Commission will be presenting a symposium on June 2, 2021 - Behind Bars: The Increased Incarceration of Women and Girls of ColorClick here for more information on the event.


In March, San Diego Superior Court Judge Tamila Ipema joined an esteemed virtual panel at the United Nations to address dire issues unique to single parents in the Pandemic.  The Panel, hosted by Sally Kader, President and Founder of The International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development, was part of the annual Commission on the Status of Women.  Click here to read more on the event.


You can also support NAWJ through purchases made with Robot Bunnies, including RBG and Kamala Harris masks.  Use the code NAWJ and 15% of the sale will be donated to NAWJ. Robot Bunnies is a woman-owned business that makes inspired versions of fashion & lifestyle classics with indie-artist-created patterns, the finest materials and artisanal production techniques. We infuse everything we do with style, humor and quality.  Ours are the forever items, the singular, treasured possessions that ALWAYS spark joy.


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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