NAWJ Monthly Update October 2017

Written by National Association of Women Judges|October 03, 2017|Monthly Update Archive

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October 2017

In This Issue:



We are less than two weeks away from our 39th Annual Conference - "Access to Justice: Past, Present and Future."

Our conference will begin on October 11th, birthday of the late First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), a civil rights activist and the wife of the 32nd U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Akin to our mission, First Lady Roosevelt fought for access to justice for all by speaking out against racial discrimination, as well as advocating for expanded work roles for women. She served as the first chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and played an integral role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her legacy will be remembered and utilized as a North Star to inform future generations.

I will be sworn in as the 38th President of NAWJ on Saturday, October 14, 2017. On this date 53 years ago, Dr. King, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and donated his $54,123 prize money to the civil rights movement.

As your incoming 38th President, I understand the need to recognize and honor our past in order to move forward.

I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta.



Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy
President, National Association of Women Judges

NAWJ President-Elect Judge Tamila Ipema Recognized by the California
Judges Association with its 2017 Alba Witkin Humanitarian Award

On October 8, 2017, President-Elect Judge Tamila Ipema will be presented with the 2017 Alba Witkin Humanitarian Award at the California Judges Association's Annual Conference during the Membership Luncheon at the San Francisco Grand Hyatt. The award includes a $1,000.00 donation to the charity or organization of Judge Ipema's choice and she has designated District 14 of NAWJ to receive the funds. Congratulations to you Judge Ipema for this most deserved award and sincere thanks for your support of NAWJ.

NAWJ Congratulates Resource Board Member Jamie Zysk Isani

Jamie Zysk Isani, a Resource Board Member and Partner at Hunton & Williams in Miami Florida, gave birth to a baby girl, Ava Grace Isani, on September 22, 2017. Ava arrived four weeks early and came home this past Friday. NAWJ extends its congratulations to Jamie and a warm welcome to Ava!

You Can Still Attend - REGISTER TODAY
Access to Justice: Past, Present and Future

NAWJ 39th Annual Conference
October 11-15, 2017 • Sheraton Atlanta Hotel

The 39th NAWJ Conference in Atlanta, Georgia will feature vibrant and interactive programs. Our theme, Access to Justice: Past, Present, and Future, will allow attendees to explore historical lessons about justice from the Civil Rights movement; discuss present justice changes such as criminal justice reform, and envision justice initiatives for years to come.

Click here for a complete Schedule of Events.

$645 for members who are First-Time Attendees
$745 for NAWJ Members
$845 for Non-Member Attendees

Register online here, or download and mail this registration form.
For more information, contact Yves Dinte at

The conference host hotel is the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Call (866) 716-8134 • NAWJ Rate: $199/night, plus applicable taxes, single or double occupancy.

For more information, contact: Anne Mercer,

Explore optional social activities such as a Dine Around, a civil rights tour, excursions to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and a visit to a South Fulton Municipal jail.

For more details and signup registration information, click here.

NAWJ Meets on Capitol Hill to Discuss
the Effects of Opioids on the Family

On September 7, 2017 in the Rayburn House Office Building, NAWJ met to discuss the effects of opioids on the family. Longtime NAWJ friend and former Congressional Women Caucus co-chair U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky from Illinois represented the Caucus. She reminded everyone of the importance of NAWJ meeting with the Caucus and the value of NAWJ's work in the community, having collaborated many times with NAWJ members in Illinois. U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson from Texas also greeted attendees and commended NAWJ for highlighting the opioid crisis.

The panel was moderated by the wonderful and compassionate Barbara Harrison, a journalist at NBC4 Washington and creator of the adoption outreach program "Wednesday's Child." Following an overview from NAWJ Past President Judge Amy Nechtem, NAWJ member and panelist Hon. Tara Fentress, District of Columbia Superior Court, Family, Neglect and Abuse, reminded everyone that several persons are unable to afford opioids or to access prescription drugs. Judge Fentress also stressed that while opioids captured the attention of the news media, the larger crisis of addiction to other drugs continues to challenge and disrupt communities. Towson University Professor Mary Carter shared with attendees how the opioid crisis affects the elderly and indicated that while "grandparents used to be the stabilizing force . . . they are [now] struggling with finances and addiction too." Dr. Carter further indicated that it is difficult to recognize the signs of addiction in older people as such symptoms are the same for other diseases.

An inspiring highlight of the afternoon was the presence and story of Karen Christina, who lost her daughter to foster care as a result of her drug addiction. A product of a middle class family, Karen realized the depths of her addiction when her daughter was removed from her custody. Karen overcame her addiction and regained custody of her daughter, who is now on the honor roll at her high school. Both her story and the work of Meghan Wheeler at the National Drug Court Initiative revealed the importance and need for community level assistance, networks and structure to support those to overcome their struggles with addiction.

It was an inspiring and revealing afternoon for all. Thank you to NAWJ District 4 Director Judge Heidi Pasichow, NAWJ Projects Committee Chair Judge Marcella Holland (Retired), Magistrate Tara J. Fentress, and the staff of the District of Columbia Superior Courts for their contributions to planning and identifying important resources and sources that added to our worthwhile discussions.

Board of Directors Nomination Slate

In accordance with the NAWJ Bylaws, the Nominating Committee presents the following
Nomination Slate for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors:

Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy, New York State Supreme Court, New York County
(automatically assumes office)
Hon. Tamila Ipema, Superior Court of California, San Diego County
Vice President, Districts
Hon. Orlinda Naranjo, 419th District Court of Texas
Vice President, Publications
Hon. Anita Santos, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Hon. Kathy King, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County
Hon. Bernadette D'Souza, Orleans Civil District Court, Louisiana
ABA Delegate
Hon. Toni E. Clarke, Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland
International Director
Hon. Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania

The slate will be voted on and sworn at the NAWJ Annual Business Meeting held Saturday, October 14, 2017 during NAWJ's Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Nominating Committee includes:
Chair, Hon. Lisa Walsh, 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Civil Division
Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Hon. Joan Churchill (Immigration Judge, Retired)
Hon. Bernice Donald, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Hon. Fernande R.V. Duffly, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Retired)
Hon. Dana Fabe, Alaska Supreme Court (Retired)
Hon. Julie Frantz, Multnomah County District Court, Oregon
Hon. Jennifer Gee, U.S. Department of Labor, California
Hon. Marcella A. Holland, Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland (Retired)
Hon. Gladys Kessler, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Hon. Brenda Stith Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court, Missouri (Retired)
Hon. Judith McConnell, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District
Hon. Amy L. Nechtem, Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, Massachusetts
Hon. Bea Ann Smith, Third Court of Appeals, Texas (Retired)
Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, District of Columbia Court of Appeals



The Joan Dempsey Klein Award honors a judge who brings distinction to their office and to the National Association of Woman Judges as exemplified by NAWJ co-founder California Court of Appeals Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

The Honorable Carol W. Hunstein has been an NAWJ member since 1995. She served as NAWJ District Director for the region which includes North and South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. She co-chairs this year's Annual Conference in Atlanta, after chairing NAWJ's 2008 Midyear in Buckhead. Justice Carol W. Hunstein was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in November 1992, becoming the second woman in history to serve on the Court. She served as Chief Justice from 2009-2013. Prior to her appointment to the highest court, Justice Hunstein ran for election in 1984 in DeKalb County, becoming the first woman elected as a Superior Court judge in the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit. Justice Hunstein is the former chair of the Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness, which was charged with implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Gender Bias and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias. Justice Hunstein was the first woman to serve as President of the Council of Superior Court Judges.


The award is presented annually to a nominee who is not a judge, and who has, by example or otherwise, influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women attorneys, or advanced opportunities for women within the legal profession.

Linda A. Klein is the senior managing shareholder at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz and immediate past president of the American Bar Association. As ABA President, Ms. Klein led the association's efforts to expand legal services for veterans, preserve federal funding for legal aid for the poor, and provide civics education through community Law Day events nationwide. She also promoted loan forgiveness for public-service lawyers and spurred development of ABA Blueprint, an online suite of law practice management tools for solo and small-firm lawyers. In June 1997, Ms. Klein became the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. Ms. Klein was one of the first women to lead a prominent Georgia law firm. She served as managing partner of Gambrell & Stolz beginning in 2001 and led the firm's 2007 merger with Baker Donelson, becoming a Baker Donelson board member and Georgia managing shareholder.

She served as chair of the ABA's House of Delegates, the second highest office in the organization, from 2010-2012. In 2004, the ABA honored Klein with the prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. She was an early member of the Board of Directors Network, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase diversity on corporate boards and general counsel positions.


This award honors outstanding leadership in promoting NAWJ's vision, core values and mission of NAWJ.

The Honorable Ariane D. Vuono was appointed to the Massachusetts Appeal Court in 2006. She has been a steady, dedicated member of NAWJ since then. She has held numerous leadership positions in the organization -- District Director for the region including New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico; Finance Chair; Treasurer; Secretary and Vice President of Publications. After serving a year as a law clerk to the justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court, Justice Vuono became an assistant district attorney for Hampden County, specializing in appellate work. From 1988 to 1995, she was chief of the appellate section of the District Attorney's Office for the Northwestern District (Hampshire and Franklin Counties), and argued many cases in the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court. In 1995, she became an assistant United States attorney in Springfield, where she handled a wide variety of assignments, including federal trial and appellate work.


This award recognizes a member who has gone above and beyond his or her role as member and volunteers to help make a difference in the organization and has furthered its mission.

William Robinson has led GEICO's support of NAWJ since 2014 when he joined as a Resource Board member. Throughout his career, Mr. Robinson has worked to promote fairness and equality in the legal field for people of varying socioeconomic backgrounds, and has invested his time and energy in a number of charitable organizations. In business, he has represented GEICO in complex employment and labor litigation issues, and he actively supports the company's education foundation. Mr. Robinson joined GEICO in 1999 as a senior trial attorney for the company's Silver Spring, Md., staff counsel office. In 2001, he transferred to the general counsel office at GEICO's corporate headquarters in Chevy Chase, Md. Five years later, Robinson was named corporate secretary of GEICO, a position he has held since 2007.

** The Awards Committee includes:
Chair, Hon. Amy L. Nechtem, Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, Massachusetts
Hon. Diana Becton, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Hon. Diana Eagon, Hennepin County Court, (Retired)
Hon. Dana Fabe, Alaska Supreme Court (Retired)
Hon. Brenda Stith Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court, Missouri (Retired)
Hon. Barbara Madsen, Washington State Supreme Court
Hon. Anita Santos, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Hon. Barbara Zuniga, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County

The National Judicial College
Questionable Authorities:
What Every Judge and Lawyer Needs to Know about Expert Witnesses
October 19, 2017
Law Offices of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
New York City

Please join our group of judges and attorneys for The National Judicial College experience. The National Judicial College, the nation's oldest and largest judicial education institution, invites you to participate in an interactive and practical program, followed by a cocktail reception.

NAWJ is a co-sponsor of this event.


  • When: Oct. 19, 2017. Program will be from 4:30-6 p.m. followed by a reception from 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
    51 West 52nd St., New York City
  • RSVP (advance registration period now closed)
For more information, please visit the event website.

Landmark Sponsor GEICO

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.

Calendar of Events
NAWJ 39th Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 11-15, 2017 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

NAWJ and the National Judicial College will present Questionable Authorities: What Every Judge and Lawyer Needs to Know about Expert Witnesses, followed by a reception, on Thursday, October 19, 2017 in New York City.

NAWJ will join the Michigan State Bar Association to host a Faces of Justice Program with the Lansing Public Schools. The program will be held on October 30, 2017 at the Hall of Justice. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack will participate for the second year in a row.

NAWJ Midyear Meeting, "The Emerging Legal Landscape: Navigating a Path to the Future," April 12-14, 2018, New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. For information, contact Anne Mercer by email,

NAWJ 40th Annual Conference, "Everything is Bigger in Texas," will take place in San Antonio, Texas from October 3-7, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk. For more information, contact Anne Mercer by email,

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