2019 Annual Conference


City of Angels, City of Dreams: A Century of Women's Progress
NAWJ 41st Annual Conference
October 15-19, 2019
Los Angeles, California


Los Angeles Retrospective: Counterbalance, Fall 2019, Volume 18, Issue 2 (page 9)

Forty years ago, Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, Justice Judith McConnell, Justice Christine Durham and Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey made history when they, along with approximately 100 other women judges,attended the first ever gathering of what would become the National Association of Women Judges. This past October, all four women were back in Los Angeles for the 41st Annual Conference at the Omni Hotel. This time, they were joined by approximately 300 other members and friends, including 42 international judges from 22countries, as we celebrated the 40th anniversary of NAWJ October 15 –19, 2019.

Conference Chair, Judge Elizabeth Allen White, assembled an amazing team of judges and attorneys to put on an extremely successful conference. NAWJ President for 2018-18, Hon. Tamila E. Ipema, presided over the five-day conference. From the beginning, NAWJ has been proud to provide cutting edge education at each gathering. This year was no exception. 

Once again, attendees were treated to excellent educational programming. This year topics included sessions on DNA Science for Judges, Border and Immigration issues, Tackling Homelessness, Judicial Security, Judicial Independence, Perspectives on the Future of Work in the World of Me Too and Repairing Justice, among others. Speakers included Jonathan Shapiro, Linda Greenhouse, Piper Kerman, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and California Chief Justice Tani CantilSakauye.

Judge Barbie, the 2019 Career Doll, also made her NAWJ debut. NAWJ worked with Mattel after Judge Bobbi Tillman and Judge Marguerite Downing suggested the toymaker highlight women judges. Along with Mattel, we are hopeful that the introduction of Judge Barbie will inspire more young people to explore judicial careers.

On Wednesday, October 16th,a reception was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall to celebrate NAWJ’s 40thanniversary and the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles’ 100th anniversary. Guests were treated to the music of the Los Angeles Big Band of Barristers.

Annual Awards were presented to Hon. Holly J. Fujie (Justice Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year), Hon. Tani Cantil-Sakauye (Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award), Jerrilyn Malana (Florence K. Murray Award), Shibani Malhotra (Mattie Belle Davis Award) and Annette Boyd Pitts (Norma Wikler Excellence in Service Award). Kathy Ireland received a Lady Justice Award at the Gala dinner on Friday evening.

Judge Bernadette D’Souza was sworn in as President of NAWJ by the Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby while her three beautiful children looked on. Her heartfelt and inspiring message will be placed on the NAWJ website.

Many thanks go to the approximately 40 members of the Conference Planning Committee. The contributions of each member are deeply appreciated. Special thanks to Judge Elizabeth White, Chair, Presiding Justice Lee Edmon and Judge Samantha Jessner, co-chairs of the Education committee, and to Donna Melby, the Chair of the Angels (Friends) Committee.

A conference of this size and quality is not possible without generous support from the community. Nearly 60 groups and individuals stepped up to provide financial or in-kind donations. While we are grateful to each and every one, space does not allow us to acknowledge them all. Special thanks to Premier Sponsors, Steptoe and Johnson LLP; Gold Sponsors, Paul Hastings LLP, Mayer Brown and Shegerian & Associates, Inc.; Palladium Sponsors, Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP and Signature Resolution; Silver Sponsors, Arnold & Porter LLP, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and Polsinelli; Bronze Sponsors, ABOTA, Los Angeles, ADR Services, Inc., Browne George Ross LLP, CourtCall LLC, Girardi | Keese, Glaser Weil Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP, JAMS, Judicate West Kjar, McKenna & Stockalper, Loyola University Law School, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Skechers Foundation and University of San Diego School of Law.

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