NAWJ Monthly Update February 2019

Written by National Association of Women Judges|February 05, 2019|Monthly Update Archive

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February 2019

In This Issue:


Dear Members,

We at NAWJ are extremely proud to have two of our members selected as 2019 recipients of the ABA Commission on Women's prestigious Margaret Brent Award. The Honorable Judith McConnell is the Presiding Justice of the Fourth District, Division One of the California Court of Appeal in San Diego, and a former president of NAWJ. Kelly Dermody, Esq. is the Managing Partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Attorneys at Law in San Francisco. She was a former Co-Chair of NAWJ's Resource Board, and is a representative to the Resource Board for NAWJ Landmark Sponsor Lieff, Cabraser. Please join us in congratulating our outstanding awardees.

The NAWJ Board of Directors and the staff have been working very hard behind the scenes to bring about many exciting changes to our organization in 2019. We are grateful for your continued commitment to NAWJ by renewing your membership and bringing in new members, by participating in our various committees and by joining hands to accomplish our mission of equal access to justice for all. The new 2019 NAWJ Committees will finalized soon and shared in the upcoming weeks. As always, we are extremely grateful to you for your support, commitment and dedication to NAWJ and its mission.

Tamila E. Ipema
Hon. Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema
Judge of California Superior Court, San Diego County

NAWJ Board Leadership Summit
San Diego | April 24-26, 2019

This year, NAWJ's Board of Directors will conduct a Leadership Summit rather than a midyear meeting of all members. This Summit will call together all board members and former presidents to brainstorm and discuss issues related to furtherance of NAWJ's mission and the organization's future strategic planning and sustainability. The summit is scheduled from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, and all-day Thursday, April 25, in San Diego, California. The Board of Directors will hold the midyear board meeting on April 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., followed by a Keynote Luncheon from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Luncheon is open to all members, local jurists, commissioners, law clerks, students and attorneys. There are no educational sessions planned for Friday, April 26, 2019, and the event will adjourn after the Luncheon.


Congratulations to NAWJ Past President (1987-88) and California Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Judith McConnell, and attorney Kelly Dermody, Managing Partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP on their honor as lawyers who not only have reached the "pinnacle of their profession, but who have also paved the way for others to do the same."


(Justice Judith McConnell, left, and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Martha "Cissy" Daughtrey in Conversation
on October 4, 2018 at NAWJ's Annual Conference in San Antonio.)

During Justice McConnell's 40-year judicial career in California, she has worked to improve the court system through better case management and to make the courts more accessible to the public. Justice McConnell served two terms on the California Judicial Council, the rule making body for the state courts, and chaired the council's Superior Court and Planning committees. She was a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Jury System Improvement, the Commission on the Future of the Courts, and the Advisory Committee on Gender Bias in the Courts.

An NAWJ founding member, Justice McConnell, in discussions around NAWJ's 25 anniversary, believed NAWJ "has to continue being a cutting-edge educator in judicial education, because that is always the role it has filled best, and it is something that is uniformly necessary from state to state. It is not just a parochial-type thing and has the largest impact." In 2002, she credited the increase in the number of women sitting on state courts in California and a few other states to NAWJ's "So You Want to Be a Judge." Today, she chairs the Steering Committee of the "Power of Democracy", an initiative that recognizes that knowledge of all of the nation's major democratic institutions - Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, Public Schools, Media, and the Courts - are necessary elements in educating youth on how to "participate meaningfully in civic life." One portrait of Justice McConnell's public life has been one of stewardship.

Since the formation of NAWJ, Justice McConnell has been critical in ensuring NAWJ remains a sound organization, prepared to serve its members and that continues in pursuit of its mission 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. Justice McConnell's strong voice and leadership is the constant light with which NAWJ has always been familiar, and we are glad she was finally recognized by the ABA's Commission on Women. Read more about Justice McConnell's career here.


Kelly Dermody, far left, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Mary M. Schroder, Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks, Alaska
Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe (Retired), and journalist Dahlia Lithwick, in panel on November 8, 2012 at
NAWJ's Annual Conference in Miami.)

Kelly Dermody is Managing Partner of the San Francisco Office and Chair of the Employment Practice Group of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. She specializes in class and collective actions on behalf of plaintiffs in employment and consumer cases. She supervises 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 is a leader in organizations devoted to serving the public interest, improving access to justice, and ensuring that the rights of historically disenfranchised persons are protected. She is a member of the ABA Labor & Employment Law Section (LELS) Governing Council, and previously served as Co-chair of the ABA LELS Annual Section Conference, Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession, and Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. She currently serves on the Legal Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California.

In 2016, The Recorder honored Kelly with their "Giant Slayer" award for her work on In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation. Kelly and her team took on Google, Apple, Intel, and other tech giants in a class action for allegedly conspiring to suppress the mobility and compensation of their technical employees. This landmark case resulted in an aggregate settlement of $435 million, the largest recovery (by far) of any class action asserting antitrust claims in an employment context. In 2015, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers named Kelly a Fellow. In 2015, The Recorder named Lieff Cabraser's employment group as a Litigation Department of the Year in the category of California Labor and Employment Law.

Kelly has been a member of the NAWJ's Resource Board since 2005, serving as its co-chair from 2009 to 2011. In 2010, she was co-chair of NAWJ's 2010 San Francisco Annual Conference Friends Committee. That year, in the midst of a hotel workers strike of NAWJ's initial conference host hotel, Lieff Cabraser (on her behalf) provided invaluable counsel that enabled the organization to hold its annual conference at a more amenable site. Both she and Lieff Cabraser were honored that year with NAWJ's Florence K. Murray Award for their exemplary and influential service. At NAWJ 2012 Annual Conference, she moderated a panel discussion on judicial independence entitled "We Can Do It! Fighting Back to Protect Judicial Independence," her commitment to judicial independence having expressed itself amongst the key, early voices (one of which included organizing NAWJ's Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project in 2013. Informed Voters, a program dedicated to educating the public about the importance of an independent judiciary, is now a familiar part of NAWJ's public identity.

Next month, Kelly will participate on NAWJ California's "WETOO in the Legal Workplace" panel discussion on sexual harassment taking place March 21 at the Stat eCapitol in Sacramento, California.

NAWJ is proud to call Kelly Dermody one of our own. Her achievements and distinguished award recognitions are numerous. You can find out more about them here.


Over the weekend, the sounds of inmates protesting freezing temperatures and the unbearable conditions of having little or no power for a week in the Metropolitan Detention Center went viral, and led the New York Times to editorialize days later.

NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee has made several visits to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, and you can read a report of the shameful finding they found here.

On February 22, 2019 NAWJ Women in Prison Committee members Federal Judge Brenda Murray and Yale Law School Professor Judith Resnik will participate in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Public Briefing "Women in Prison: Seeking Justice Behind Bars" in Washington, D.C. The agenda includes several panels which will take place from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with an open public comment session from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Panel topics include: 1) Overview of Women in Prison: Statistics, Constitutional Protections, Classification, and Family Disruption; 2) An Analysis of Women's Health, Personal Dignity, and Sexual Abuse in the U.S. Prison System; 3) Review of Treatment of Women Offenders While Incarcerated; and 4) Rehabilitative Opportunities for Women in Prison & Life After Prison.

Professor Resnik will be a panelist on the "Review of Treatment of Women Offenders While Incarcerated" panel, and Judge Murray will speak on the "Rehabilitative Opportunities for Women in Prison & Life After Prison" panel.

Deadline: March 28

Members and District Directors, what is happening in your districts? Have you and/or your fellow district members sponsored an NAWJ program recently? Are you active duty military or a military veteran? Are you traveling to a foreign jurisdiction to teach about the rule of law? Are you a new member? Have any women judges in your state been recently appointed, elected or honored? Have you run your fourth - or your first - marathon? Have you experienced any issues in court as a new mother?

We want to hear all this, and more, from you!

Counterbalance informs and connects our members around the country by featuring news and information that highlight NAWJ's activities and members' accomplishments. Our conferences are always packed with cutting edge legal education. Our publications should be as well. This year, Counterbalance will be published in March, July and November. We will include some new features along with essays and articles which are in accord with our mission.

If you have articles, ideas for articles, announcements, book reviews or events that you would like included in Counterbalance, please pass them along. The deadline for submitting information for the next issue of Counterbalance is MARCH 28.

Please email text and picture files to Lavinia Cousin at and to Judge Donohue at


Many of you may remember the beautiful jewelry ornament (pictured below) that was available for sale at NAWJ's 2013 Annual Conference in New Orleans. Conference Chair Judge Mary Becnel (Retired) designed the pin, and she recently learned from the jeweler who created them, Dominique Giordano, that pins are available. Ten percent of each sale is donated to NAWJ.

Click the image below for more information.

Take advantage of early bird registration today!
Don't miss out!

Registration fees include educational sessions, receptions, meals, transportation to events listed in the program and use of the hospitality suite. Three days of cutting edge CLE are included in the registration fee.


(through 7/16/2019)  


(after 9/16/2019)

NAWJ Member








Registrants may cancel until September 15, 2019. All cancellations are subject to a $50 processing fee. Requests for cancellation on or after September 16, 2019 will not receive a refund. All third-party payments are subject to the same policy.

Click here to register online. Or, download and complete this registration form and email to Mail completed form to:

National Association of Women Judges
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036


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.

February 13, 2019. NAWJ Maryland Chapter 25th Annual Irma S. Raker Dinner with Maryland Women Legislators in Annapolis from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Government House. $42.50. RSVP to Judge Raker's Law Clerk, Joseph Moeller, at

March 20-22, 2019. District Six Conference. Visionary Women: Champions of Perseverance, Persistence and Progress in Shreveport, Louisiana. Contact NAWJ District 6 Director Judge Sheva Sims Tel: (318) 673-5878 and Conference Chairperson Judge Aisha Clark Tel: (318) 329-2580 for more information. Click here for the conference agenda.

March 21, 2019. NAWJ joins with California Women's Legislative Caucus to host NAWJ Day in Sacramento. Click here to review the program.

April 8, 2019. Texas Women Judges Day at the State Capitol: meeting, recognition in the Senate, group photo on the Capitol steps, reception in the Judicial Conference room. RSVP to Megan LaVoie at

April 24-26, 2019: NAWJ Board Leadership Summit (closed) from Wednesday, April 24 to Thursday, April 25; NAWJ Board Meeting (closed) and Keynote Luncheon (open to all) April 26.

May 5-12, 2019: NAWJ Cruise on the Danube for seven nights from Budapest to Nuremberg on the AmaCerto with Amawaterways Cruise Line.

May 14, 2019: NAWJ will collaborate with White & Case LLP to present Color of Justice for seventh and eighth grade student at the Washington School for Girls in Washington, D.C.

October 15-19, 2019: NAWJ 41st Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California at the Omni at California Plaza. Conference Chair Judge Anne Elizabeth White contact

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