NAWJ Monthly Update December 2017

Written by National Association of Women Judges|December 08, 2017|News

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December 2017

In This Issue:



We are a few weeks away from the holiday season and the end of 2017. I want to thank you for your dedication to NAWJ. All year long, you have been faithful foot soldiers by ensuring that members throughout our fourteen districts kept their boots on the ground by hosting noteworthy Color of Justice, Informed Voters' Project and Success In and Out Programs, amongst others.

While civics education is no longer taught in our nation's schools and other venues, your outreach to a myriad of organizations and institutions has been a civics lesson in itself. You visited women's prisons and worked to ensure proper conditions for incarcerated women; visited colleges, universities and law schools to educate, encourage and inspire future lawyers and judges; provided practical advice to young lawyers on the legal profession; and sponsored various educational symposiums with other legal organizations. Our presence in the community provides the general public with access to judges, which, in turn, humanizes the judiciary and demystifies the role of a judge. Our work in the community also reminds the public that we are not our titles, but rather individuals and public servants who are part of their respective communities. This is in line with one of our goals to increase the public's confidence in the judiciary.

As we head into the New Year, we must build upon our great work in 2017 and look within to implement the necessary safeguards to ensure that we remain the leading voice for women in the judiciary. To that end, in January, we hope to engage the services of The Collie Gorg Group. It will conduct an operational assessment and examination of NAWJ and will provide suggestions on how we can ensure our sustainability in these ever-changing and complex times.

In keeping with this upcoming assessment, I believe that it is important to receive your feedback on how we are doing as an organization. Therefore, it would be greatly appreciated if you would answer the following questions (which will immediately direct you to the members-only section of our website to provide your responses):

1. What are we good at?

2. What can we do better?

3. How can we increase membership?

4. What is your level of satisfaction as an NAWJ member (on a scale of 1 to 5; 1 being very dissatisfied, 2 being dissatisfied, 3 being somewhat satisfied, 4 being satisfied and 5 being very satisfied)?

5. What, if anything, can we do to increase your level of satisfaction?

6. Why do you attend NAWJ midyear/and or annual conferences (please identify which you attend)?

7. How can we enhance the midyear and/or annual conference experience?

8. If you do not attend midyear and/or annual conferences, what would encourage you to attend?

9. What can we do to increase participation among the membership?

Your responses will be tabulated and distributed to the membership. Click here to begin. Thank you, in advance, for your participation and I wish you and your family a safe holiday season.

We look forward to great things in 2018!


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


Registration will soon open.

NAWJ Women in Prison Committee Request Meeting with New
BOP Director to Share Policy Recommendations

In a letter last month, NAWJ congratulated Mark Inch, new Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, on his appointment, and requested a meeting to alert the new official of NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee's past and current concerns for the plight of women in prison. One of the Committee's primary concerns is gender equality.

While the Committee's letter shared a report of recent activities, it also included policy recommendations including:
• Overhauling sentencing practices to reduce incarceration rates;
• Strengthening government agency personnel dedicated to providing effective
programs in preparation for successful re-entry and sustained viable life in community;
• Support funding community based restorative justice programs;
• Support funding alternatives to incarceration that keep caregivers living with children;
• Reform parole decisions;
• Create individualized programs tailored to each person's needs;
• Eliminate solitary confinement;
• Ban shacking at all stages of pregnancy and eight weeks post-partum;
• Utilize family impact statements when determining where to incarcerate;
• Reform the Adoption and Safe Families Act to safeguard parental rights;
• Expand family friendly in-prison services;
• Implement trauma-informed medical and mental health care for inmates, and training for all personnel, including security;
• Improve reproductive health care;
• Discourage dehumanizing language of incarcerated people;
• Implement reforms that recognize Trans and gender non-conforming people in prisons and jails;
• Reform parole and probation guidelines and requirements to encourage successful re-entry.

You can read more details on these recommendations which the Women and Justice Project prepared for NAWJ New York's Women in Prison Committee here.

NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee has been in existence since 1991. For more information, contact committee chairs Judges Cheryl Gonzales (, Judge Brenda Murray ( and Judge Betty Williams (

"What Is Prison Like for Women and Girls?"
The Marshall Project and Teen Vogue Partner to Amplify Voices of Formerly
Incarcerated Women

For decades, NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee members have been visiting women in prison, surveying incarcerated women's living and health conditions, coordinating education workshops and resources to increase the likelihood of sustainable re-entry back into their communities, and advocating improvement through state and federal agencies from Congress and Bureau of Prisons to Goucher College and youth detention centers.

The stories of Ayana Thomas and Sarah Zarba, who were both formerly incarcerated, and Kyndia Riley, a student whose parents have been in prison since she was a toddler, are featured in a video conversation with Teen Vogue and The Marshall Project. U.S. Senator Booker, also featured in the video, is one of four sponsors who, this summer, introduced legislation entitled the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act to ease the burdens for women in federal prison. We thank NAWJ member Judge Marilyn J. Paja of the Kitsap County District Court in Port Orchard, WA for sharing this video with us.

Read more on this project and find the video here.

NAWJ San Diego Holds First Annual Las Colinas Success
Inside and Out Resource Fair

On November 30, 2017, NAWJ San Diego held its First Annual Success Inside and Out Resource Fair for women in prison at Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee, California. Led by Chairs San Diego Superior Court Commissioner Pennie K. McLaughlin and NAWJ President-Elect Hon. Tamila E. Ipema, Judge of the San Diego Superior Court, the incarcerated women were inspired to pursue their dreams and take advantage of resources in support of a sustainable life 'on the outside'. Judges Terrie Roberts, Marian Gaston and Lisa Rodriguez, along with attorney Nadia Keilani, Esq., Second Chance CEO Robert Coleman, and San Diego Superior Court Community Outreach Executive Director Julie Myers, were members of the committee.

To see a list of the organizations and resources made available click here.

NAWJ and Mission Creek Corrections Center Host Ninth Annual Conference
for Women in Prison

Called From Tragedy to Triumph and Still We Rise: Success Inside and Out, on December 1, 2017, the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women in Olympia, Washington held its Ninth Annual Resource Conference for detainees nearing re-entry into society. The event is a partnership between Washington State Department of Corrections, Tacoma Community College, Washington State Supreme Court's Gender and Justice Commission, and NAWJ.

"The event also included roundtable discussions with judges on issues such as legal financial obligations (LFOs), restoring civil rights, domestic violence protection orders (DVPO) and court payment options." Read more on the annual conference here.




Kelly M. Dermody, Esq. is Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. She chairs the firm's Employment Practice Group and specializes in class and collective actions on behalf of employees. Ms. Dermody is supervising many of the most significant and challenging employment class action lawsuits in our nation today, including complaints brought by female and minority professionals alleging gender/race discrimination by top Wall Street firms, overtime pay lawsuits against nationally prominent corporations, and ERISA claims that she has tried on behalf of employees and retirees for pension plan abuses.

Kelly has been a leader in organizations devoted to serving the public interest. In 2012, she served as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco. She is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and past member of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section Governing Council. She currently serves on the ABA Litigation Section Attorney-Client Task Force and previously served as Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section Annual Conference, Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession, and Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. She has also participated in numerous civic committees, including the Katrina Task Force, the Carver Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools Steering Committee, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Pride Law Fund, and Equal Rights Advocates.

The Daily Journal has selected Ms. Dermody as one of the top 100 attorneys in California (2012-2015), top 75 labor and employment lawyers in California (2011-2016), and top 100 women litigators in California (2007, 2010, 2012-2016). In 2016, the Recorder awarded her the "Dragon Slayer" award for her litigation work. Kelly has received numerous awards from organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, California Rural Legal Assistance, Legal Momentum, Equal Rights Advocates, Centro Legal de la Raza, and Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom. NAWJ awarded Kelly with the Florence K. Murray Award in 2010.

She has been a member of the NAWJ's Resource Board since 2005 and served as co-chair from 2009 to 2011. In 2010, she was co-chair of NAWJ's 2010 Annual Conference Friends Committee. At the 2012 NAWJ Annual Conference, she moderated a panel discussion on judicial independence entitled "We Can Do It! Fighting Back to Protect Judicial Independence." Kelly's commitment to judicial independence is further demonstrated by her active role in having organized the Informed Voters/Fair Judges Project, a program dedicated to educating the public about the importance of an independent judiciary, as well as her membership in NAWJ's Judicial Independence Committee.

Kelly received a B.A. degree from Harvard University (magna cum laude), and a J.D. degree from Berkeley Law, University of California. She clerked for the Hon. John T. Nixon, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, before joining Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP .

Thank you, Kelly, for everything you do. NAWJ appreciates you.


NAWJ Resource Board Co-Chair Cathy Winter has been meeting the needs of communities by specializing in work with U.S. and international based court and government technology and education groups for over 35 years. Ms. Winter served as Director of Corporate Development at CourtCall, LLC, located in Los Angeles from 2008 until her retirement in 2017.

CourtCall develops innovative and customized, remote appearance programs introduced to the courts in 1996. Today, CourtCall works with thousands of courts and legal communities across the United States and Canada. Initially developed to help facilitate pre-trial non-evidentiary matters, allowing lawyers to participate remotely, CourtCall's platform of services has expanded over the years to include managed audio and video services for Civil, Probate, Juvenile, Family and Criminal Courts, facilitating expert witness testimony, arraignments, video remote interpreting, mental health and drug court matters as well as Worker's Compensation hearings and depositions, just to name a few. The service is widely used today, servicing Municipal, State, Federal, Bankruptcy, and Provincial Courts. Prior to her tenure at CourtCall, Cathy worked with AT&T for over 20 years in numerous capacities including: management positions in Government Affairs, Training and Teleconferencing Services. During her tenure with AT&T, Cathy had the pleasure of working with the founders of CourtCall to help them start their business. Prior to AT&T, Cathy taught children with special needs and worked with the County of San Diego's Children's Mental Health. Cathy also serves on the Board of Directors of Western Justice Center, a non-profit organization that designs and implements programs to promote effective conflict resolution in school and community settings. Cathy has been a guest speaker at several law schools teaching Technology in the Courtroom and has volunteered coaching teams and judging moot court competitions at junior high, high school and law school levels.

Cathy joined NAWJ's Resource Board in 2010. Since then, she has been involved in numerous initiatives of great benefit to NAWJ. Cathy served on the Planning Committee for NAWJ's 36th Annual Conference in San Diego, and was a member of NAWJ's website committee, working collaboratively to develop and implement NAWJ's new website. Cathy was honored to receive NAWJ's Matte Belle Davis Award in 2015 during NAWJ's Annual Conference in Salt Lake City in recognition of her dedication to NAWJ, going above and beyond in her role as member and volunteer to help make a difference to the organization and its mission. Cathy helped develop and was a panelist on the 2016 IAWJ Biennial, "Courts in Crisis" plenary session. She was also the Co-Chair of the Friends Committee for the NAWJ Midyear Conference in Los Angeles in 2017 and is an active participant with NAWJ's sustainability initiative.

We are grateful to you, Cathy, for your leadership and steadfast support of NAWJ.

Judge M. Margaret McKeown Receives the White House Fellows Foundation and
Association 2017 Legacy of Leadership Award

The White House Fellows Foundation and Association (HFFFA) awarded the 2017 Legacy of Leadership Award to Judge M. Margaret McKeown (1980-81). This is the highest award presented by the WHFFA, given in recognition of proven leadership, dedicated public service, and sustained support to the White House Fellows Program. During her fellowship year, Judge McKeown served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for Secretary Cecil Andrus transitioning to Secretary James Watt, and then as a Special Assistant at the White House. Since then, Judge McKeown's valuable experiences have led her to serve as a Boardmember and President of the White House Fellows Foundation and Association. While President of the WHFFA, she served on the President's Commission on White House Fellowships, helping to select the Class of 2000-01. She has helped organize regional meetings for White House Fellows in San Diego and San Francisco, and participated in the first WHF Alumni trip to Vietnam.

NAWJ is proud of you Judge McKeown. Job well done!

You can read more about Judge McKeown and the White House Fellows Foundation and Association here.

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 San Diego's Commissioner Pennie McLaughlin and Judge Michael Washington will co-chair a Mentor Jet Program for Color of Justice participants in the Vista County Courthouse on December 8, 2017.

NAWJ New Jersey will present Color of Justice at Rutgers Law School in Newark on March 3, 2018.

NAWJ Midyear Meeting, "The Emerging Legal Landscape: Navigating a Path to the Future," April 12-14, 2018, New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. Contact Conference Planner Wanda Mann at for more information.

NAWJ 40th Annual Conference will take place in San Antonio, Texas from October 3-7, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk.

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