NAWJ Monthly Update October 2020

Written by National Association of Women Judges|October 01, 2020|Monthly Update Archive

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Monthly Update

October 2020
Volume 18, Issue 9

Dear Members of NAWJ:

The year of my Presidency has been one with great challenges.  I took my presidential oath at the 40th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Women Judges in Los Angeles and charted a course for the work I was to embark on. The theme for my presidential year is “Innovative Efforts to Improve Access to Justice through Global Judicial Leadership”. The unprecedented pandemic of COVID-19 shaped our vision to go beyond what I planned for my year of presidency.  When I took my oath, I could not fathom NAWJ would soon be engaged in developing real time innovations to address access to justice and our courts. Now more than ever we have equipped ourselves with the ability to lead our organization through the uncharted territory. 

With the dawn of new challenges due to the pandemic, NAWJ shifted its role of planning programs district wide and nationally.  In April, I appointed Judge Lisa Walsh as the Chair of Technology and formed a Taskforce on COVID-19 with Judges Elizabeth White and Elizabeth Lee as co-chairs of the Taskforce.  Click here for a brief summary of the webinars the Taskforce organized.

NAWJ Annual Meetings of the past were full of wonderful times that we all shared. I am so sorry that this year we will not see each other in-person at the NAWJ Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. I will miss those wonderful hugs.
There are no words adequate to express my deep gratitude to the Conference Chair, Judge Barbara Holmes for an outstanding job in putting together plans for the Annual Meeting, which is postponed to October of 2021.  Judge Holmes has however, planned a teaser in anticipation of the full conference next year. NAWJ will host a Virtual Conference from October 14-16, 2020 beginning with NAWJ Day at the United Nations. NAWJ member and a dear friend, Mrs. Sally Kader, President of the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development to the United Nations, has graciously partnered with NAWJ to plan a program to address Access to Justice and Gender Equality. The day will end with a virtual tour of the United Nations and a wine tasting reception.
I would be remiss if I did not thank each of you for your kind and generous contributions to NAWJ during our financial crisis.  I wish to specially thank Judge Orlinda Naranjo for her generous matching gift.   
As my year as President of our beloved organization comes to an end, I look back and I am reminded that none of this would have been possible without the wonderful work of the Board of Directors and Staff in making this year the most successful year despite the many challenges we all faced.
With warmest regards,

Hon. Bernadette D’Souza
Judge, Orleans Civil District Court
NAWJ President

OCTOBER 14-16, 2020

The 42nd NAWJ Annual Conference will take place online October 14-16, 2020. We have an excellent program including NAWJ Day at the United Nations Work to Be Done: Access to Justice and Gender Equality in partnership with the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development, a virtual wine tasting, networking opportunities, education sessions with CLE credits, awards, and sponsor recognition. The NAWJ Annual Business Meeting and swearing in ceremony will be held Friday, October 16th, 2020 at 10:30AM EDT.
We hope those of you who have been unable to attend the NAWJ Annual Conference will take this opportunity to join your colleagues online. Detailed information and registration can be found on the 2020 NAWJ Annual Conference website.

We are thankful to the current 2020/2021 Conference Sponsors for their continued support during this unprecedented time.
Wednesday, October 14
  • Welcome and Opening Remarks by Mrs. Salwa “Sally” Kader, Founder, President and Permanent Representative of the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development to the United Nations and NAWJ President The Honorable Bernadette D’Souza
  • Access to Justice at the United Nations – United Nations and International Dignitaries
  • United Nations Peacekeeping Challenges by Ms. Junie Joseph
  • Harassment and the Practice of Law - CLE Credit
    A discussion of advancements made since allegations of misconduct against U.S. Federal Judge Alex Kozinski and other issues related to harassment in the practice of law.
    • Moderator:
    • Speakers: 
      • Judge J. Michelle Childs, U.S. District Court, South Carolina; Incoming Chair, American Bar Association Judicial Division
      • Dahlia Lithwick, Writer and Journalist
      • Judge Toni Clarke, Circuit Court of Prince George's County, Maryland; Outgoing Chair, American Bar Association Judicial Division
      • Donna Melby, Esq., Partner, Paul Hastings LLP
  • Virtual Tour of the United Nations - Recording is NOT permitted
  • Evening Reception and Argentinian Wine Tasting with Sommelier Amanda Page, DWS 
Register here for the "Day at the United Nations" program and wine tasting only.

Thursday, October 15
  • Education Sessions:
    • The 19th Amendment - A conversation with author Elaine Weiss
    • Supreme Court Update - CLE Credit - Erwin Chemerinksy, Dean, Berkley School of Law
  • NAWJ District Meetings
  • NAWJ Committee Meetings
  • NAWJ Resource Board Meeting
  • NAWJ 2019-20 Board of Directors Meeting
  • Topical Breakout Rooms
  • Awards Presentation
  • Past President's Reception
 Friday, October 16
  • Annual NAWJ Business Meeting and Investiture of New Officers
  • NAWJ 2020-21 Board of Directors Meeting
  • District Director Orientation
Register for any or all of these events here.

For any questions with registration, please contact Janelle Mihoc,


Attend the 2020 NAWJ Annual Membership Meeting on Friday, October 16th at 10:30 AM EDT and vote for the 2020-2021 NAWJ Officers.  Register for the Annual Membership Meeting here.


Add a tribute to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the NAWJ website. Click here to submit your own tribute to Justice Ginsburg.  Please try to keep your tribute under 500 words. You can read tributes shared by your fellow NAWJ members here.


NAWJ held its annual meeting with the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues online on September 16. Although an extremely busy time on Capitol Hill, the 75 members who joined Zoom were met with inspirational remarks from Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Click here to read more and watch the meeting recording.


Sophie Feldman is the NAWJ Research Intern. She is gathering a database of women judges throughout the US and working on special projects. She is taking a gap year from Harvard where she is majoring in Social Studies and Linguistics and focuses on gender equality for women. Sophie has served as the Director of the Commission on the Status of Women policy simulations at Harvard. Sophie applied to NAWJ to help “further women’s political empowerment, provide meaningful judicial support to historically disadvantaged groups, and advocate for parity in the legal profession.”  Learn more about Sophie here.

Avantika (Avanti) Ramanthan is the NAWJ Marketing Intern. She is examining our social media platforms, will collect engagement data, post messages and review the NAWJ website. Avanti is a sophomore at George Washington University majoring in International Affairs and  is interested in immigration law. She currently serves at the Vice President of Marketing for Sigma Iota Rho, the Elliott School of International Affairs honor society. Avanti applied to NAWJ  because of the opportunities given to encourage the representation of women in the political atmosphere”. Learn more about Avanti here.


If you are not already following NAWJ on one of our social media platforms now is an opportune time. We are developing a strategy to build awareness of NAWJ and increase membership engagement through social media. Your participation is essential! Member news, event reminders, and relevant judicial content will be posted regularly. Please follow and make comments or “like” posts on any or all the accounts below:
If you have any questions regarding access to these social media platforms or have recommendations for posts, please contact

Hon. Milena Abreu, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County, Hialeah, FL
Hon. Betsy Alvarez-Zane, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami, FL
Hon. Christine Bandin, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami, FL
Hon. Cristina Correa, County Court, Criminal Division, Miami, FL
Hon. Miesha Darrough, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami, FL
Mrs. Michell Delancy, Delancylaw, Miami, FL
Hon. Le Jacqueline Duong, Superior Court of Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA
Hon. Victoria Ferrer, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami, FL
Hon. Elizabeth Finn, Glendale City Court, Glendale, AZ
Hon. Denise Francois, Superior Court of The Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, VI
Hon. Una Gandbhir, Alaska State Court, Anchorage, AK
Hon. Diana Gonzalez-Whyte, County Court of the 11th Circuit, Miami FL
Hon. Wilma Guzman, Bronx Supreme Court, Bronx, NY
Hon. Ayana Harris, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County Miami, FL
Hon. Julie Harris Nelson, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami, FL
Hon. Chiaka Ihekwaba, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, North Miami Beach, FL
Ms. Amber Kornreich, Korneich & Associates, Miami, FL
Hon. Melony Lockwood, Alaska Court System, Fairbanks, AK
Hon. Patricia Ann Macias, 388th District Court (Ret.), El Paso, TX
Hon. Ramona Manglona, District Court For The Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan, MP
Hon. Natalie Moore, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County, North Miami, FL
Hon. Teresa Pooler, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami, FL
Hon. Cheryl L. Whelan, Kansas Office of Administrative Hearings, Topeka, KS


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. 

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Barbara A. Madsen Named NAWJ Justice Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year - Washington State Supreme Court Justice Barbara A. Madsen is honored by NAWJ with its Justice Joan Dempsey Klein Award. A NAWJ member since 1987, Justice Madsen was appointed chair of the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission in 1998.  Click here to read more.

Attorney Donna Melby Honored by NAWJ with the Florence K. Murray Award - Donna Melby, Esq. is one of the nation’s premier business trial attorneys and a long-time NAWJ supporter. A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, she has successfully tried multiple cases to jury verdict in state and federal courts across the country, international and domestic arbitrations, and court trials across a broad range of complex civil and employment-related cases.  Click here to learn more.

NAWJ Past President The Honorable Julie Frantz Recognized with NAWJ's 2020 Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award - NAWJ recognizes The Honorable Julie E. Frantz with its Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership in promoting the vision, core values and mission of NAWJ.  Click here to read more.

The Honorable Mary Becnel Honored by NAWJ with Mattie Belle Davis Award - NAWJ recognizes The Honorable Mary Becnel with its Mattie Belle Davis Award for her leadership in going above and beyond his or her role as member and volunteer to help make a difference in the organization and further its mission, and supporting women in the legal profession. Judge Becnel was the subject of a recent spotlight by NAWJ noting her past and recent accomplishments. Read the spotlight here.

NAWJ Technology Committee Chair The Honorable Lisa Walsh Recognized with NAWJ's Norma Wikler Award - This year, NAWJ will present the Norma Wikler Excellence in Service Award to NAWJ Past President Lisa Walsh for implementing NAWJ’s exploration of judicial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic through a series of webinars, podcasts and forums, that can be developed into a blueprint for moving forward. Click here to read more.

NAWJ Past President The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby Honored with NAWJ's Lady Justice Award - The National Association of Women Judges honors NAWJ Past President, Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, with the Lady Justice Award for her leadership at the District of Columbia and in NAWJ in promoting access to justice in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read more.

NAWJ Past President The Honorable Bernice B. Donald, Receives the ABA's Lifetime Liberty Achievement Award - NAWJ Past President Judge Bernice B. Donald was honored on September 16th with the inaugural Lifetime Liberty Achievement Award by the American Bar Association. This award celebrates the lawyers and judges who have spent their career actively promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. Click here to read more.

I.O.W.A. Honors Iowa District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson with 2020 Arabella Mansfield Award - Each year, the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys (I.O.W.A.), awards the Arabella Mansfield Award and presents the award at its annual meeting, which typically takes place in June. This year, retired Iowa District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson was honored. Click here to read more.
NAWJ is grateful for the 2020 Resource Board Members and Landmark Sponsors who have 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
Andrea Bear Field, Esq., Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Patricia Hollenbeck, Esq., Duane Morris LLP
Jamie Zysk Isani, Esq., Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Robert Kaufman, Esq., Proskauer Rose LLP
Heather McDevitt, Esq., White & Case LLP
Diane McGimsey, Esq., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
The Honorable Mary Becnel, Retired
Ron DaLessio, CourtCall
Dawn Jayma, The Killino Firm, PC
Linda Leali, Esq., Linda Leali, P.A.
Thomas Leighton, Thomson Reuters
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
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Thomson Reuters Corporation
White & Case LLP

JAMS, Inc.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP


Moderated by District 4 Director, Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring, and spurred by event Program Chairs Judge Beverly Nash and Judge Julia Weatherly, the evening examined how race “resides not in nature, but in politics, economics and culture,”  how we think about race, and how that impacts our communities. About 25 members of District 4 gathered that August 31st night to catch up with each other, learn how race became embedded in society, and commiserate on the damage done and how the country might move forward. You can learn more about the documentary “The House We Live In” here.


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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