NAWJ Monthly Update August 2015

Written by National Association of Women Judges|August 01, 2015|Monthly Update Archive

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August 2015

In This Issue:


NAWJ is an organization comprised of exceptionally dedicated women who have excelled in our chosen profession. But, moreover, it is an association of members whose deep concern for those whose voices are not readily heard prompts endless hours of community outreach through our committee and district structure, and who are collectively committed to finding ways to create a more diverse judiciary of strong leaders. NAWJ members work tirelessly to advance the mission-driven goals of our organization, while balancing the daily demands of our jobs, families, and other volunteer commitments. It is for these very reasons that we so respect one another, and form strong collegial bonds and friendships that go far beyond simply meeting at an annual conference. NAWJ is a unique organization, not just because it brings together women in the profession, but because of the qualities our members possess, their shared desire to create opportunity for historically disfavored groups in our society, and their commitment to ensure for all access to justice and fairness in our courts under the rule of law.

Earlier this month I attended the annual conference of the American Bar Association. It was while I was attending various meetings as a proud representative and ambassador of NAWJ that I was struck by the high regard in which are members are held beyond the NAWJ family. The most prestigious award a woman lawyer in our nation can receive is the Margaret Brent Award given by the ABA Commission on Women. The honorees this year included a U.S. Ambassador, a general in the Judge Advocate Corps (JAGC), a ground breaking law school professor, a ceiling smashing, phenomenally successful corporate counsel, and our very own exceptionally accomplished Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice Fernande (Nan) Duffly, NAWJ president 2007 - 08. While each of these legally trained women followed a different path to rise to the top of the profession, they all shared a commitment and passion at an early point in their careers to mentoring and supporting women and minorities, and to doggedly challenging and reforming existing infrastructures that created unspoken barriers to equal opportunity and meritorious advancement.

Justice Duffly, the daughter of a Dutch father and Chinese mother, moved to the United States at age 5. Throughout her life, Nan has personally led and organized others to create greater opportunities for women and minorities by providing encouragement and support, by breaking down obstacles to admission and advancement, and by gathering accurate information to reflect the true status of women and minorities in the legal profession and judiciary. The introductory remarks at the awards luncheon attended by nearly a thousand were as moving as Nan's remarks were poignant. It was a very proud moment for NAWJ, as well as for Justice Duffly and her family - a truly inspiring event.

It was at that moment that I took stock of the character and various accomplishments of the NAWJ members seated at several tables who were present to support and applaud Nan. The legacy of leadership and outreach, the importance of mentoring and modeling in person, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor underscores in her memoir My Beloved World, and the commitment to better outcomes are all are shared passions upon which they act to enhance and improve the lives of girls and women, minorities and the disenfranchised. The same could be said of most NAWJ members. Although each would humbly prefer anonymity, I will note that this stellar constellation of attendees included retired Judge Marcella Holland, who last month was received the William H. Hastie Award - NBA Judicial Council's highest award; former NAWJ president Amy Nechtem, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Juvenile Court; Immediate Past NAWJ President Court of Appeals Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Chair of the District of Columbia's Standing Committee on Fairness Access; Judge Toni Clarke, former Judicial Division executive committee officer of the National Conference of State Court Trial Judges and rising ABA star; retired immigration judge and former NAWJ President Judge Joan Churchill; and Judge Ann Breen-Greco, who the previous day was elected Vice-President of the ABA Judicial Division.

August 2, 2015 was another historic day in NAWJ history, just as it was several years ago when former NAWJ president U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler was honored at this same event. We all wore our NAWJ pins with great pride on this day, as always. It is moments like this that reflect the vision of our founding 'mothers' Justice Joan Dempsey Klein and Judge Vaino Spencer, to whom we are all eternally grateful.

Warm Regards,


Judge Julie E. Frantz

President's Calendar:

September: Possible meetings in Seattle re: 2016 NAWJ Annual Conference
October 7-11, 2015: NAWJ Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah

Hon. Michele Christiansen, Utah Court of Appeals
Hon. Sharon McCully (Retired), 3rd District Juvenile Court
Education: Hon. Kate Toomey, Utah Court of Appeals
Tammy G. Georgelas, Esq., Parsons Behle & Latimer
Margaret N. McGann, Esq., Parsons Behle & Latimer

NAWJ 37th Annual Conference
October 7-11, 2015 • Salt Lake City, Utah
Grand America Hotel

(Download the conference brochure)

OPTIONAL MOUNTAIN HIKE: Twenty (20) attendees may attend this Dog Lake Trail, a 6 mile out and
back hike. Email to sign-up. Possible $15 shuttle fee.
Film Screening of Women Trailblazers in the Law: Utah's First 100 Women Lawyers
International Judges Reception
New Judges/First-Time Attendee Reception
Welcome Reception

Gender Bias: How Far Have We Come in 25 Years?
After Marriage: A Dialogue on LGBT Rights and Religious Liberties
Keynote Speaker: Professor Sujata Warrier
Impact of Media/Social Media on High Profile Cases
Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline
The Uneasy Intersection of Law And Medicine
Reception at the National History Museum

Erwin Chemerinsky
Immigration Issues Facing Local, State and Federal Courts
Human Trafficking: A Pro Bono Counsel's View of U.S. v. Adan
Friends Appreciation Luncheon
Evidentiary Issues Involving Magnetic Images of the Brain
Domestic Sex Trafficking: Overcoming the Barriers to Successful Prosecutions
Predictable Misjudgment: How Intuition Misleads Judges
Justice Reinvestment Initiative: A National Perspective
A Conversation with Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Where Are We Almost 50 Years After In Re Gault?
Utah Women Lawyers Judicial Reception

Annual NAWJ Business Meeting
Mindfulness and Meditation
Personal Story - Born in Prison, A Woman Rises Against the Odds
Annual NAWJ Gala Banquet


OPTIONAL EXCURSION: "Music and the Spoken Word" performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Forty (40) attendees may attend the live performance. Please email if you want to attend.

$525 for Members who are First-Time Attendees
$595 for NAWJ Members ($550 Earlybird rate until April 25, 2015)
$695 for Non-Member Attendees
$575 Guest Rate for Spouse and Children of Attendees ($550 Earlybird rate until April 25, 2015)

Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.

Call (800) 304-8696 • NAWJ Rate: $189/night, plus applicable taxes

For More Information Contact:
Conference Manager: Mary Kathleen Todd at

Sign Up for Optional Excursions During the
NAWJ Salt Lake Annual Conference


WILDERNESS HIKE: Dog Lake Trail, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Wednesday, October 7 • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Twenty (20) attendees may attend this beautiful hike. Dog Lake Trail is a 6 mile out and back trail located near Salt Lake City, Utah that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Please email if you want to attend. Possible $15 shuttle fee.


OPTIONAL EXCURSION: "Music and the Spoken Word" performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choice
Sunday, October 11 • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Forty (40) attendees may attend the live performance of 'Music and the Spoken Word' featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The performance starts at 9:30 a.m. Guests must be seated by 9:15 a.m., when the doors are closed. The broadcast is 30 minutes long and ends at 10:00 a.m. Please email if you want to attend.

NAWJ 2015-2015 Board of Directors Nomination Slate

In accordance with the NAWJ Bylaws, the Nominating Committee presents the following Nomination Slate for the 2015-2016 Board of Directors:

Hon. Lisa S. Walsh, Civil Division, Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami, Florida
(automatically assumes office)

Hon. Diana Becton, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County

Vice President, Districts
Hon. Tamila Ipema, Superior Court of California, San Diego County

Vice President, Publications
Hon. Beverly Winslow Cutler, Alaska Court System, 3rd Judicial District

Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy, New York State Supreme Court, New York County

Hon. Joy Cossich Lobrano, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, Louisiana

International Director
Hon. Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania

The Nominating Committee includes:
Chair, Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Hon. Bernice Donald, U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee
Hon. Fernande R.V. Duffly, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Hon. Dana Fabe, Alaska Supreme Court
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. 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

National Association of Women Judges Announces
2015 Hon. Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year
and Florence K. Murray Award Recipients

Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson

Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Gov. Patrick Lucey in 1976. She was then the only woman to serve on the court. She won election to the court in 1979 and re-election in 1989, 1999, and 2009. Since August 1, 1996, she has been chief justice and, in that capacity, serves as the administrative leader of the Wisconsin court system.

Before joining the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Abrahamson was in private practice in Madison for 14 years and was a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She is a past president of the National Conference of Chief Justices and past chair of the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts. She also has served as chair of the National Institute of Justice's National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. She is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, the New York University School of Law Institute of Judicial Administration. She also has served on the State Bar of Wisconsin's Commission on the Delivery of Legal Services, the American Bar Association's Coalition for Justice, and the National Academies' Science, Technology and Law panel.

Born and raised in New York City, Chief Justice Abrahamson received her bachelor's degrees from NYU in 1953, her law degree from Indiana University Law School in 1956, and a doctorate of law in American legal history in 1962 from the UW Law School. She is the recipient of 15 honorary doctor of laws degrees and the Distinguished Alumni Award of the UW-Madison. She is a fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2004, she received the American Judicature Society's Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence. In 2009 the National Center for State Courts awarded her the Harry L. Carrico Award for Judicial Innovation, for serving as a national leader in safeguarding judicial independence, improving inter-branch relations, and expanding outreach to the public.

Karen Johnson-McKewan, Esq.

Karen G. Johnson-McKewan, an Intellectual Property partner in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's San Francisco office, is a trial lawyer who concentrates her practice on complex intellectual property and commercial litigation for technology and consumer products companies. Ms. Johnson-McKewan has significant experience litigating and trying particularly intricate cases in which the translation of complex technology issues into plain English is invaluable. Her engagements have involved matters in technology, internet, financial, e-commerce, retail, software and gaming industries in a diverse set of courts and multiple arbitral bodies. She served as Orrick's San Francisco Office Leader from 2005 to 2008.

Ms. Johnson-McKewan joined the NAWJ Resource Board in 2005, and served as its co-chair from 2006 to 2009. Among her many accomplishments during that period, Ms. Johnson-McKewan secured Forster-Long, Inc.'s partnership in producing a statistical summary of gender ratios of the judiciary in every state of the country. In 2011, Ms. Johnson-McKewan assumed the responsibilities of co-chair of the Resource Board for a second time and together with Elaine Metlin has played a critical role in moving NAWJ forward. Ms. Johnson-McKewan also serves as vice-chair of NAWJ's California Coordinating Committee for the Informed Voters/Fair Judges Project (IVP). Orrick has been a substantial resource for the IVP. Its generous financial contributions and pro bono work of its attorneys have preserved NAWJ's tax-exempt status and the independence of IVP's intellectual property. Ms. Johnson-McKewan received her B.A. from the University of California, Davis and her law degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law.

Member Spotlight: Justice Rebeca C. Martinez

The Honorable Rebeca C. Martinez has been a member of NAWJ since 2013, the same year she was appointed to Texas' Fourth Court of Appeals (Jan, 2013). You may read her full bio here. Last year, Justice Martinez was appointed NAWJ's District 11 Director for Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. NAWJ decided to catch up with Justice Martinez and find out a little more about her.

Five Things You Don't Know About Justice Martinez

Between college and law school I…?

Between college and law school, I backpacked through Europe for six weeks with $250 in my pocket, a Eurail pass, and a youth hostel pass. In my junior year in college, I'd reminded my parents of their promise to send me to Europe when I graduated from college and, of course, they reminded me that money didn't grow on trees. Not being one to give up, I waited tables my entire senior year and saved up to purchase my airline ticket and passes. I arrived first in Rome, hoping to celebrate mass with the Pope, only to find out he was in Australia. So much for the Let's Go Europe travel book that claimed to know his schedule. This was well before the Internet, of course. Its advice did help me survive through Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France. I stayed in hostels ranging between converted monasteries to renovated castles, the most memorable hostel in Salzburg, Austria located near the castle used as the von Trapp family home seen in "The Sound of Music" film. If you can picture young men wearing their respective collegiate emblems, among them a few rivals, embracing, dancing and singing "The hills are alive," you can imagine how I felt among them in that very moment. It couldn't get it any better.

My first job after graduating from college was…?

My first job after graduating from college was at a solo practitioner's firm. More interesting, I met an appellate judge at a local bar and grill during a young lawyer social hour. He seemed interested in my story as a Navy brat and how I got to law school, and I admitted to not enjoying my job. He invited me to visit his court the next day. Arriving to what I thought was going to be a courtesy courthouse tour, he took me to his staff attorney's office for what turned into a job interview. I left with the judge's offer to join his chambers. I found out later that the judge had already selected a replacement for his outgoing clerk earlier the same day I met the judge. To this day, I haven't brought myself to ask Justice Hinojosa whose job I had just snared unknowingly. By the way, he swore me in as Justice exactly twenty years later. I share this story with my law school mentees to convey how important networking and being yourself is to their success and to opening doors of opportunity. You never know what God has planned for you.

I have…?

I have enjoyed, experienced, and endured more than I believe to deserve but certainly more than enough to feel grateful. I've relished in the company I keep, and that's because I learned long ago, from observing and listening to those I admire and respect, to treasure the time we have with those that make our days brighter, toughen our resolve, and energize our spirit. That's why I've been drawn to certain individuals along my path to the judiciary, for whom I'm truly grateful, and most recently with those strong and brilliant women I've met in NAWJ, particularly my fellow board members and state chairs who by example have nurtured my commitment as a female jurist to ensuring equal access and justice and promoting diversity among the legal profession.

I am proud of…

I am the proud daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, Antonio, and his wife Manuela of almost 53 years. My parents were born in Mexico and became U.S. citizens during his service with the Navy, from which he retired as chief petty officer. I grew up in naval bases all over the country, always living near the ocean and all too familiar with naval piers, having waited impatiently to see my dad step off a destroyer or other war vessel after a long trip at sea. I was in a different school every year until the seventh grade, moving to Texas and postponing my Quinceañera until my dad returned from a two-year sea duty to retire after twenty years of service. He wore his full dress uniform, wearing it for the last time, so he then thought. It was the first time I remember him crying, arriving just in time to dance with his eldest daughter and marking my transition from childhood to young womanhood. The last time was holding the bible on which I took the oath of office in 2012, wearing once again his full dress naval uniform … with a few buttons moved over. I am deeply grateful to my dad for valuing my education and for my mom for her unconditional love. My parents raised 5 college-educated children, including my sister the Yale grad. You don't have enough time to read about my beautiful and brainy sister Leticia now living in Arlington, Texas. Although they don't enjoy the precious joy of grandchildren, they have the love of their kids and their only son-in-law, my husband David.


I was born in Roswell, New Mexico. I love the movie, E.T., but I will never again endure watching those silly "reality" ghost stories on cable that my husband seems to be addicted to. I'm the shortest justice on my court and still constantly asked how tall I am, to which I respond "4'12'." I have a no-pearl policy, but I respect my fellow jurists who seem resolved to wear them by the strands. I wasn't born in Texas but got here as soon as I could. God willing, I will retire in Hawaii and expire before my husband because I can't live without him or his warm heart … and feet

Economics Institutes for Judges' Upcoming Programs
at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, VA

The Economics Institutes for Judges is offering education program to be held Sunday, September 20 through Friday, September 25, 2015, and Sunday, November 8 through Friday, November 13, 2015, at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.

Click here for more information on September's program.

Click here for more information on November's programs.

Please do not hesitate to contact the program's Judicial Education Program assistant, Cristina Minniti, us with any questions. She can be reached at or at (703) 993-8008.

Informed Voters (IVP) Produces Videos for Use in Fair Courts Presentations

Florida State Co-Chair Justice Barbara Pariente, along with another San Diego Conference panelist Annette Boyd Pitts, produced for the NAWJ's Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project the following video clips for use in members' fair courts presentations:

A Fair and Impartial Judiciary: Segment 1
A Fair and Impartial Judiciary: Segment 2
A Fair and Impartial Judiciary: Segment 3

Check them out by right-clicking on each segment for view. For more information contact:

Annette Boyd Pitts, Executive Director •
The Florida Law Related Education Association, Inc
2930 Kerry Forest Parkway, Suite 202
Tallahassee, Florida 32309 •

Hon. Judge Karen Arnold-Burger Receives 2015 Phil Lewis Medal of
Distinction for work on Informing Voters on a Fair Judiciary
Request from the NAWJ Retired/Senior Judges Committee

NAWJ member Judge Karen Arnold-Burger (Kansas Court of Appeals) accepted the 2015 Phil Lewis Medal of Distinction on behalf of the Kansas NAWJ Informed Voters - Fair Judges Project from Jerry Green, President of the Kansas Bar Association at its Annual Meeting in Overland Park, Kansas. The award is reserved for individuals or organizations in Kansas who have performed outstanding service and conspicuous service at the state, nation or international level in the administration of justice, science, the arts, government, philosophy, or any other filed offering relief or enrichment to others.

"First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table." ABA Commission on Women Announces Latest Report

From Barbara Leff at the ABA.

On behalf of Commission on Women Chair Michele Coleman Mayes …

I am delighted to announce the publication of the Commission's newest report, "First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table." This study, a joint project of the Commission and the American Bar Foundation, is the first of its kind to provide an empirical snapshot of the participation of women and men as lead counsel and trial lawyers in civil and criminal litigation. In addition, the report identifies characteristics of cases, law firms, and clients that impact the extent to which men and women serve in lead counsel roles. The report can be downloaded from the Commission's website at

Using a random sample of all cases filed in 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the data show that women are consistently underrepresented in lead counsel positions and in the role of trial lawyer for all but a few types of cases. In civil cases, men are three times more likely than women to appear as lead counsel or as trial attorneys. In criminal cases, men are twice as likely as women to appear as lead counsel and nearly four times more likely than women to appear as trial attorneys.

"First Chairs at Trial" also offers suggested best practices/strategies to address these findings, including ways that law schools, law firms, clients, judges, and individual lawyers can increase gender diversity among trial lawyers.

Our thanks to Stephanie Scharf and Bobbi Liebenberg for their hard work in shepherding the research process and writing this important, powerful report.

Thanks to NAWJ Past President Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby for passing this news along.

Request from the NAWJ Retired/Senior Judges Committee

The NAWJ Retired/Senior Judges Committee is conducting a survey of NAWJ members who are retired from the bench or have senior status, in order to collect information on the variety of activities in which they are engaged. The purpose of the questionnaire is to share this information with each other, including those who are retired, and those who are contemplating retirement/taking senior status.

Although a questionnaire was emailed to a list we hope included all retired/senior judges, the Retired/Senior Judges Committee want to ensure sure it did not miss anyone, and we are concerned that the list of retired/senior judges may not be up-to-date. If you are an NAWJ member who is retired from the bench or who has senior status, and you did not receive an email from Joan Churchill on July 9, 2015 enclosing the questionnaire, click here to access the questionnaire, and return it completed to Hon. Joan Churchill, Chair of the NAWJ Retired/Senior Judges Committee by email at: CHURCHIL@EROLS.COM.

Landmark Sponsor GEICO

Part of NAWJ and GEICO's partnership will provide insurance discounts to NAWJ members. Contact GEICO for a free quote on auto insurance to see how much you could be saving. And, don't forget to mention your NAWJ affiliation; 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 can also help you find great rates on homeowners, renters, motorcycle insurance, and more!

Calendar of Programs and Events

NAWJ District Two will celebrate the contributions of the federal judiciary by honoring Judge Ellen Bree Burns on September 26 at The Graduate Club in New Haven, CT. Contact: Judge Mary Sommer at

NAWJ-NCBL Liaison Committee will hold its Third Annual Breakfast during the 2015 National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Annual Meeting on Monday, September 28, 2017 at 7:30 am. At Cecconi's Restaurant in Miami. Contact: Judge Margaret McGariry for details,

NAWJ District One will honor Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and newly appointed and elevated judges on September 30 at the Social Law Library at the John Adams Courthouse, Boston. Contact: Judge Marylou Muirhead at or (617) 788-6501.

NAWJ's New York Chapter will present a panel on issues unique to women attorneys as part of launching a Career Clothes Closet Networking program on October 6 from 5:00-8:00 pm at the University of Buffalo Law School. Contact: Judge Shirley Troutman at

NAWJ will hold its 37th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah from October 8-11, 2015.

NAWJ District Four will hold its 2015 Leadership Conference to honor Hon. Barbara Keenan (U.S. Court of Appeals, Retired) with the Edna G. Parker Award, and highlight speaker Tonier Cain from October 30-31 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, MD. Contact: Judge Sherrie Krauser at


The International Association of Women Judges Biennial will be hosted in the United States by the National Association of Women Judges in Washington D.C. from May 26-29, 2016.

NAWJ 37th Annual Conference will take place in Seattle, Washington from October 5-9, 2016 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

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