NAWJ Monthly Update August 2012

Written by National Association of Women Judges|August 01, 2012|Monthly Update Archive

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August 2012
In This Issue:

Dear Friends,

I trust you have enjoyed July with time spent with family and friends "off the bench!"

July was an exciting month for NAWJ with the celebration of our seventh annual meeting on the Hill with the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues (Women's Caucus) with a focus on Human Trafficking and Children. My appreciation to Hon. Lauren Best Leeker for her extraordinary commitment to NAWJ and for co-chairing this tremendous event. Members and guests were treated to a lovely welcoming reception the evening before at Judge Leeker's firm, Fulbright & Jaworski, generous supporters of NAWJ. Thank you.

We were thrilled at the number of congressional women taking part and interest in our program this year. Many thanks to our outstanding keynote speaker and panel moderator, Judge Virginia Kendall. Our panelists rounded the discussion with views from the bar, the Hill, and community outreach. Judge Kendall spoke dynamically and passionately about the current state of human trafficking nationally and worldwide and gave suggestions as to how best to recognize and assist its victims. It was a phenomenal day. Thank you also to President-Elect Joan Churchill for her invaluable assistance with programming and presentation.

NAWJ is committed to providing greater awareness to our members as seen by our devoted Executive Director Marie Komisar, along with NAWJ Past-President and Trafficking Committee Chair Judge Carolyn Engel Temin's, initiative to seek grant monies to train judges in this area. Thank you for your hard work and efforts.

I was honored to attend the National Association of Women Lawyers annual awards luncheon in New York on July 19th and celebrate the many extraordinary women and their accomplishments in law. Along with NAWJ/ABA Delegate Justice Nan Duffly we attended that same week in the City, the Consortium for Advancing Women Lawyers meeting. NAWJ is committed to being "at the table" and contributing to the advancement of woman in all areas of the law.

Late July, I was privileged to attend on behalf of NAWJ the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Administrators Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, "Courts and the Community: Solving Problems, Finding Solutions". Congratulations to Justice Dana Fabe, Chief Justice of Alaska, NAWJ Past-President, recipient of the National Center for State Courts 2012 Distinguished Service Award. We're proud of you Dana!

I remain proud and privileged to carry the NAWJ torch and wish to thank you all for your day to day efforts and commitment to our beloved association.

Remember....Miami is around the corner. Trust me, it is not to be missed!

With my best wishes for a fun filled August,


NAWJ Convenes with the Congressional Women's Caucus
to Discuss Human Trafficking

On July 10 in the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill, seventy people, including 30 judges and 8 congresswomen, met with NAWJ to raise awareness on human trafficking. NAWJ President Hon. Amy L. Nechtem and Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues Co-Chair Representative Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming welcomed attendees to seventh meeting held between NAWJ and the Congressional Women's Caucus.

For the second year in a row, Representative New York Ann Marie Buerkle, Co-Chair of the Women's Caucus' Task Force on Trafficking, joined the gathering, emphasizing the need to strengthen domestic awareness of the human trafficking problem by developing partnerships between the community and government. An attorney and former nurse, she reminded the group that the victims "don't have their community" and are denied "freedom and basic rights." Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who shares NAWJ's interest in improving re-entry opportunities for incarcerated women, and visited women in prison in Maryland, also focused attendees attention on the fact that "trafficking not only affects the coastlines, its part of every state, impacting local communities and economies."

Meeting Co-Chair, the Honorable Lauren Best Leeker, Retired U.S. Army Trial Judge and Administrative Counsel to the Executive Committee at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. took time to thank supporters, without whose support the meeting could not have taken place. NAWJ graciously appreciates the support of the Law Office of Alfred R. Belcuore, Dickstein Shapiro LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., Reed Smith LLP, State Justice Institute and the Honorable Denise Vowell.

The moderator of the day's panel discussion was NAWJ member Judge Virginia Kendall, U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, and co-author of Child Exploitation and Trafficking: Examining the Global Challenges and U.S. Responses. She focused on four constants in trafficking: 1) trafficking is a form of coercion; 2) trafficking supply chains require pipelines of money; 3) corruption of public officials is rampant, 4) and that victims experience trauma and adapt survival techniques which inhibit rescue and the inclination to flee. Bradley Myles, President and CEO at the Polaris Project, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting trafficking victims and runs a 24-hour national hotline that gets 60-70 calls a day, shared that they are approximately 6,000 victims in the U.S., advised judges to keep current on new and relevant laws, and learn to recognize trafficking instances in their courtrooms. Fulbright & Jaworski attorney Sarah Devine spent several years performing pro bono work for Polaris and alerted attendees to the growing concern of providing legal representation for victims, as well as language and cultural challenges.

Anya McMurray, Senior Counsel to Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Office, spent time informing the group of important details of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Act expired in 2011, and even with reducing funding request by 30 percent to $190 million a year, challenges still remain for reauthorization. In comparison, the Violence Against Women Act is budgeted for $400 a year. Ms. McMurray said that TVPA "needs more advocates" and that judges should be aware of state and federal protection statues. Additional congressional attendees included Suzanne Bonamici (OR), Lois Capps (CA), Senator Kay Hagan (NC), Janice Hahn (CA) and Jan Schakowsky (IL) who introduced the International Violence Against Women Act.

"Meet Me In Miami"
NAWJ 34th Annual Conference

November 7 - 11, 2012
Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach
Miami Beach, Florida

Register online or download the registration form to register.

Room Reservations: (800) 319-5354

NAWJ Rates: Standard Room $199/night, plus applicable taxes
Resort Tower Room $219/night, plus applicable taxes
Ocean Tower Room with Ocean View $229/night plus applicable taxes

Judge Lisa S. Walsh Judge Myriam Lehr
Education Committee
Chairs: Judge Laurel Isicoff • Judge Cindy Lederman
Members: Judge Rosemary Barkett • Judge Professor Donna Coker • Judge Jeri Beth Cohen
Edward Davis • Justice Dana Fabe • Judge Ellen Leesfield • Judge Chris McAliley
Judge Kathleen Mulligan • Professor Amy Ronner • Judge Mary Schroeder
Professor Tara Twomey

Finance Committee
Chair: Judge Gladys Perez • Member: Maureen Jaeger

Speakers Committee
Chair: Judge Gladys Perez • Member: Laura Morilla

International Judges Committee
Chairs: Judge Mercedes Bach • Judge Judy Chirlin (Retired)
Members: Judge Rosemary Barkett • Justice Ann Walsh Bradley • Judge Beverly Cutler (Retired) • Judge Beverly Sherman Nash • Judge Gladys Perez • Judge Geraldine Sparrow • Judge Carolyn Temin

Social Events Committee
Chairs: Judge Nushin Sayfie • Judge Lourdes Simon •
Member: Amy Rosenberg

Volunteers Committee
Chair: Judge Marcia Caballero • Member: Judge Andrea Wolfson

Mentor-Mentee Committee
Chair: Judge Monica Gordo

Reception Host Committee
Chairs: Judge Joan A. Lenard • Assistant Dean Georgina Angones • Associate Dean Raquel Matas •
Members: Jacqueline Becerra • Judge Barbara Lagoa • Bruce Lehr • LillyAnn Sanchez

Security Committee
Chairs: Judge Spencer Multack • Judge Rodolfo "Rudy" Ruiz

Excursions Committee
Chairs: Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez • Judge Valerie Manno Schurr

Advisory Committee
Judge Amy L. Nechtem • Marie E. Komisar


Law Firm Partners Co-Chairs
Elizabeth Hernandez, Akerman Senterfitt
Linda M. Leali, White & Case LLP
Detra P. Shaw-Wilder, Koyzak Tropin & Throckmorton

Corporate Partners Good Government Alliance Chair
Mikki Canton, AsiaAmericana International LLC



Presenting Platinum Partners
United Automobile Insurance Company

Gold Partners
Baptist Health South Florida
Codina Partners

Silver Partners
Leon Medical Centers
Piedra & Associates
TYLin International HJ Ross
Waste Management

Bronze Partners
All American Containers, Inc.
AT&T Florida
The Biltmore Hotel
Braman Automotive Group
Ambassador Paul Cejas, PLC Investments
CM Consulting Group Corp.
DYL Group
Esserman Motors
IBEW L.U. 349
Medina Capital Partners
Miami Marlins
Patino & Associates
The Thornton Family

Alliance Partners
Gabriel S. Diaz-Samiento, CPA
Alan Eichenbaum, Esq.
Florida Power & Light

The Honorable Tomas Regalado and The City of Miami
Dr. Eduardo Padron, President, Miami Dade College
Mrs. Belinda Meruelo
A.J. Barranco, Jr.
Moet-Hennesy / Siboney Wine & Spirits
Chef Paella
Willy Bermello, BAP
Carrolton School of The Sacred Heart
Alvarez, Carbonell, Feltman, Jimenez & Gomez


Gold Sponsors
Akerman Senterfitt LLP

Silver Sponsors
American Society for International Law
Astigarraga Davis
Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP
Broad & Cassel
Carlton Fields
Gray Robinson, P.A.
Greenberg Traurig, P.A.
Hogan Lovells US LLP
Hunton & Williams LLP
Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, P.A.
Merrill Lynch Global Wealth & Investment Management, The MAB Group
Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.
Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.
White & Case LLP

Bronze Sponsors
Avila, Rodriguez, Hernandez, Mena & Ferri LLP
Berger Singerman
Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants
Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP
Colson Hicks Eidson
The Ferraro Law Firm
Grossman Roth, P.A.
Higer, Lichter, Givner
Holland & Knight LLP
JAMS, The Resolution Experts
Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
Kenny Nachwalter, P.A.
Podhurst Orseck, P.A.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Amigos Sponsors
Bankruptcy Bar Association
Damian & Valori LLP
Elser Foster-Morales
Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions
ESB Mediation Services
Fabricant Morton & Company, PA
Gamba & Lombana, P.A.
GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group
Kubicki Draper
Robert Levy
Lott & Fischer
McDonald Hopkins LLC
Meland Russin & Budwick, P.A.
Mestre Law
Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers
Pathman Lewis, LLP
Rivero Mestre, LLP
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey
Weiss, Serota, Helfman, Pastoriza, Cole & Boniske, P.L.

In-Kind Sponsors
Daily Business Review
Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant
Hon. Joan Lenard
Hon. Federico Moreno
Perry Ellis
University of Miami School of Law
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

(Continuing Legal Education credits for education programs are pending with the Florida Court Education Council and the Florida State Bar Association)

Click here to read an expanded Schedule of Events on NAWJ's website.

2011-2012 NAWJ Board of Directors Meeting

for First-time Attendees and International Judges

Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Federal Courthouse for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Morning Yoga
(sign up with a $10 fee at the Registration Desk in Miami)

Conference Opening Welcome Remarks

Plenary Session - The Independence of the Judiciary

Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World.


Set One

Professor Judith Resnik on "Representing Justice"

Lawyering and Justice - Emerging Issues of Nations in Transition

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

Set Two

Curbing Access to Justice in a Down Economy

Legal and Judicial Trends in Cuba

Sally Kenney on "Gender and Judging"

Hosted by University of Miami Law School and the Cuban American Bar Association "Noche de Salsa."

NAWJ District Breakfast Meetings

Plenary Session - Bringing Human Rights Home


Hidden Impact: The Unseen Consequences of the Economic Crisis

Women's Health

The Impact of Other Laws on Court Decisions

A Conversation with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Plenary Session - The Power and Reach of the Internet

Optional Excursion Women in Prison Project to Homestead Correctional Institution with ArtSpring.

ArtSpring provides therapeutic programming and re-entry assistance to women in prison in Florida. They will be escorting our members on this optional excursion to Homestead Correctional Institution. Those wishing to attend must complete a form allowing a background check, and return to Artspring. Download form here. Space is limited to 40 attendees.

Morning Yoga
(sign up with a $10 fee at the Registration Desk in Miami)

NAWJ Committee Breakfast Meetings

NAWJ Annual Business Meeting and New Officer Investiture

Plenary Session -- Judging in an International Community

NAWJ Resource Board Meeting

2012-2013 NAWJ Board of Directors Meeting


Farewell Breakfast

Contribute to NAWJ's Amazon Wish List
for Florida's Women in Prison
In support of Women in Prison Committee initiatives NAWJ is organizing a book drive in conjunction with the 2012 Annual Conference to benefit the library at the Homestead Correctional Institution women's prison in South Florida. The book drive will continue through the end of November to give every NAWJ member a chance to participate. Our goal is to give the facility every book on its wish list. Please take a moment and join this effort.

Or, go to and find NAWJ in their Wish List registry and choose Florida Women in Prison - Homestead Correctional Institution.

NAWJ Seeks to Serve New Judges

NAWJ's New Judges Committee is developing several exciting initiatives to provide greater support to judges who are new to NAWJ. The committee's mission is to "develop and implement an action plan (including the creation of substantive programming as well as mentoring and other initiatives), guiding NAWJ in addressing the needs of new judges in all sectors of the judiciary, including state, federal, military, tribal and administrative tribunals, at both the trial and appellate levels." To ensure that we succeed in our mission, the committee is seeking input from members to help us design programs that will be effective in serving new judges' needs.

To that end, please take a moment now to answer the following three questions:

1. How long have you been a member of NAWJ?

2. How long have you been on the bench?

3. What do you think new judges (new to the bench and/or new to NAWJ) need from NAWJ?

Please email your responses to Lavinia Cousin at by August 31, 2012.

Vice President of Publications Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
Calls for Submissions for the Next Issue of Counterbalance
Deadline: August 31, 2012

Counterbalance informs and connects our members around the country. It features news and information which highlights NAWJ's many interesting educational programs and activities. Consider sharing news about yourself, from your jurisdiction, and of your fellow colleagues in the newsletter. If you know of women judges in your state who have been recently appointed, or promoted or received an honor, let us know. If you have articles, announcements, book reviews, or events that you would like included in Counterbalance, please pass them along as well. NAWJ will also publish essays, and articles of interest which are in accord with our mission.

The deadline for submitting information for the next issue of Counterbalance is AUGUST 31, 2012. Look for the fall issue before the Annual Conference in Miami, Florida.

Those interested in submitting material should do so by emailing all text and picture files to Lavinia Cousin at

Color of Justice to Celebrate Ten-Year Anniversary
September 14, 2012
Beltrami County Courthouse in Bemidji, Minnesota

The Color of Justice program will celebrate its tenth year by presenting a program to Native American young women on September 14, 2012, at the Beltrami County Courthouse in Bemidji, Minnesota. The Color of Justice Celebration planning committee, chaired by District 10 Director Judge Renee Worke, invites you to be a part of the program as a panelist, presenter or mentor to the students.

A block of rooms has been reserved for Thursday and Friday nights (September 13-15) under reservation number 85125944 at the Hampton Inn Bermidji. The hotel rate is $159.00. However, the planning team is trying to get a government rate for participants. Delta Airlines services the Bemidji Airport.

Please let us know if you can attend by contacting Lavinia Cousin at

Marjorie Laird Carter - "Judge of the Year - 2012"

The Newport-Harbor Bar Association (Orange County, CA) selected NAWJ Past President Hon. Marjorie Laird Carter as "Judge of the Year - 2012" in July. Judge Carter sits on the California Superior Court in Orange County.

National Center for State Courts
Awards NAWJ Past President Chief Justice Dana Fabe
with its 2012 Distinguished Service Award

Our own Alaska Chief Justice Dana Fabe is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of State Courts. The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to those who have made significant contributions to the justice system and who have supported the mission of the NCSC. "During her extensive career in the justice system, Chief Justice Fabe has worked tirelessly to improve the courts both in Alaska and around the world," said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. "She has devoted extensive time, effort, and energy to increasing awareness about the need for diversity on the bench and for full access to the courts for all segments of society." Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Eric T. Washington presented the award to Chief Justice Fabe on July 24th during the annual meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators in St. Louis, Missouri. Chief Judge Washington is the current President of CCJ, and Chair of the NCSC Board of Directors.

Chief Justice Fabe was recognized for her longstanding support of the work of the NCSC, especially its efforts to improve the administration of justice internationally. She assisted in securing a project to help improve the courts of South Africa and is active in the International Association of Women Judges. Chief Justice Fabe is the first woman to serve on the Alaska Supreme Court and the first woman to serve as the state's chief justice. She is Chair of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee of the American Judicature Society, and a Fellow of the American Bar Association. She has also served two terms as second vice president of the Conference of Chief Justices.

Congratulations, Justice Fabe!

Hon. Sue Pai Yang Recognized for Professional Achievement
by the New Jersey Chinese American Chamber of Commerce

NAWJ is pleased to share the news that former International Director and 2011 Annual Conference Chair the Hon. Sue Pai Yang, JWC (Retired) will be the recipient of an award for Professional Achievement from the New Jersey Chinese American Chamber of Commerce (NJCACC). For many years, Judge Yang has been a trailblazer and an outstanding role model in the Asian community. She will receive the award at NJCACC's Annual Gala on Friday, September 21, 2012 at the Birchwood Manor located at 111 North Jefferson Road, Whippany, New Jersey.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Honors NAWJ Past President Hon. Vanessa Ruiz
with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Legal Service

On June 20, at its 2012 Awards Gala held in Washington, D.C., the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund ("MALDEF") recognized NAWJ Past President the Hon. Vanessa Ruiz with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Legal Service. Judge Vanessa Ruiz, who recently retired from the District Columbia Court of Appeals, was NAWJ President for the 2005-06 year. She initiated NAWJ's annual meeting with the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues on Capitol Hill, and has recently focused in championing language access for immigrants in our courts through the American Bar Association (ABA) as Member and Project Chair of the ABA's Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and Member of the ABA's Steering Committee for Language Access Standards for the Courts.

Congratulations, Judge Ruiz!

NAWJ Member Patricia Barnes
Authors Book on the Workplace Challenges
Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace

New member Judge Patricia G. Barnes has recently authored a book on workplace relationship challenges. (Read her press release here.) She is an Appellate Judge for two Native American tribes in Northern Nevada. She was appointed Associate Justice on the Court of Appeals, Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, Fallon, NV, serving on a three-judge panel that decides appeals on tribal civil and criminal matters. She is also Acting Chief Judge of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, where she presides over civil and criminal cases. In addition, she created and moderates a legal blog on workplace abuse issues: "When the Abuser Goes to Work ...." She formerly worked as an attorney at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

2013 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference
May 2-4, 2013
Washington, D.C.

NAWJ President-Elect, the Honorable Joan V. Churchill, and a planning team will hold NAWJ's 2013 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. Highlights will include a joint meeting with members of Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, and a discussion forum and reception at the United States Supreme Court Building on Friday, May 3, 2013. The NAWJ Board of Directors will meet on Saturday, May 4, 2013. More information will follow.

NAWJ Reception on September 10th at the Texas Association for Court Administration (TACA) Annual Judicial Conference, Westin Galleria, Houston, TX.

Color of Justice Ten-Year Celebration will take place September 14, 2012, at the Beltrami County Courthouse in Bemidji, Minnesota.

NAWJ Maryland Chapter's "Fall Fling" 2012 Leaders Forum. Presented in association with the Women's Bar Association and Maryland Women Legislative Caucus. September 28-30 at the Rocky Gap Lodge and Resort in Cumberland, MD.

District Two's Conference, Fantastic Fall Weekend, will take place in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut on Saturday, October 20.

NAWJ's 34th Annual Conference will take place in Miami, Florida, November 7 - 11 at the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach.

NAWJ Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference will take place May 2 - 4 in Washington, D.C.

NAWJ's 35th Annual Conference will take place October 9 - 13 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The 2014 International Association of Women Judges Bi-Annual Conference will take place in Tanzania May 6 - 9.

Mission Statement:

The National Association of Women Judges' 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.

About NAWJ:

Since its formation in 1979, NAWJ has inspired and lead the American judiciary in achieving fairness and equality for vulnerable populations. Led by two visionary women - Justice Joan Dempsey Klein and Justice Vaino Spencer - 100 brave and intrepid women judges met and formed an organization dedicated to the following ideals: ensuring equal justice and access to the courts for all including women, youth, the elderly, minorities, the underprivileged, and people with disabilities; providing judicial education on cutting-edge issues of importance; developing judicial leaders; increasing the number of women on the bench in order for the judiciary to more accurately reflect the role of women in a democratic society; and improving the administration of justice to provide gender-fair decisions for both male and female litigants.

From the day it was founded, NAWJ has been committed to diversity in our membership. Our organization welcomes both men and women. We include appellate, trial, tribal, administrative law judges, state and federal judges, and members from every state in the nation.

NAWJ takes pride in its accomplishments. We were at the forefront in the establishment and implementation of gender bias task forces in both federal and state courts. We have greatly advanced the administration of justice in areas of domestic violence, child support and child custody, and the treatment of women in the courts of America. We also are respected as a leader in educating judges on bioethics, elderly abuse, the sentencing of women offenders with substance abuse problems; improving conditions for women in prison; and the problems facing immigrants in our court system. Currently we are developing curricula on the effect of genetic advances on women and vulnerable populations, the impact of international law on state and federal courts, and cognitively disabled persons in criminal courts.

In addition to addressing these and other important issues, NAWJ provides an opportunity for judges to meet and discuss professional issues of mutual concern in a supportive atmosphere. Connecting with others with the same values, we laugh, enjoy life and mentor one another nationwide.

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