NAWJ 2020 Midyear Meeting

Mar 11, 2020 @ 12:00PM - Mar 13, 2020 @ 10:30AM



New Orleans, LA 70130


2020 Midyear Meeting in New Orleans

Near 100 intrepid members, supporters and friends of NAWJ gathered together in the French Quarter’s historic Hotel Monteleone to explore the meeting’s theme “Bringing Access into Harmony with Justice” in a series of discussions and gatherings that address how the legal community can ensure the basic right of access to justice. Both cognizant of the emerging health crises and fearless in a desire to address ongoing challenges some may face in gaining access to justice, meeting participants examined the ongoing crises in opioid use, human trafficking, trauma in the courts, and combating recidivism.

The Midyear Meeting began with local-area law school students, who participated in our Planting the Seed: Pathways to a Legal Career mentoring program. Law students were joined by an equal number of judges who enthusiastically shared their stories and career trajectories while offering treasured advice. The students were thrilled for the opportunity to have access to our members in an informal, supportive setting.

Meeting attendees, law students, bar leaders, and government officials joined us for a reception at the top of the hotel, whose windowed walls included sweeping views of the majestic Mississippi River, to honor NAWJ President Judge Bernadette D’Souza and her caring spirit within its justice system. 

The Meeting opened with a lively musical procession by the Mardi Gras Indians, and a Presentation of Colors by young students. NAWJ President, Judge Bernadette D’Souza warmly welcomed the attendees who filled the beautiful room that was the setting for all of our programs, and who had travel from as far as Alaska and Massachusetts to gather information to that they would translate into better serving their courts.

NAWJ’s Human Trafficking’ Committee Co-Chairs Judge Ann Breen-Greco and San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan opened the education portion of the program with an inspiring presentation. Ms. Stephen highlighted San Diego County’s efforts to combat human trafficking. While the country struggles to identify people caught up in trafficking’s heinous web, her presentation offered strategies that make a difference. You can download Ms. Stephan’s informative presentation here. Judge Elizabeth Lee and NAWJ Past Presidents Judge Tamila Ipema and Judge Lisa Walsh also shared the latest developments and opportunities where NAWJ may focus. During lunch, attendees were able to hear from United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California Dana Sabraw give the Keynote on his decision that forced the government to reunite immigrant families. 

For months, NAWJ President Judge D’Souza looked forward to recognizing her mentor and friend, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson. Chief Justice Johnson accepted the Lady Justice Award for her long-committed service to her community and the legal profession.

The afternoon sessions included a discussion on how to include your attorneys and emerging leaders in the community of people who impact lives for the better, and an inside school exploration on the future of opioids multi-state litigation processes. 

The meeting culminated with a conversation between current ABA President Judy Perry Martinez and ABA Past President Paulette Brown, moderated by NAWJ Board Member Judge Marcella Holland. Both shared tales of their rise to leadership, and the initiatives that marked their terms and have left lasting effects in the ABA and the broader legal community. After the Conversation, everyone was energized by the good tidings of Dr. Angela White-Brazile.  Her sermon reminded the judges attending that in order to sustain razor sharp focus in handling challenging cases often coupled with the challenge of pro se litigants, self care is essential to maintain judicial temperament and be mindful of the significant role we have as women.

The Midyear Meeting was a wonderful opportunity to gather our membership, but don’t miss out on all the important work NAWJ does throughout the year. Click here to review a slideshow of other events. 

2020 Midyear Meeting Sponsors

The NAWJ Midyear Meeting Sponsors have the unique opportunity to connect with a diverse network of judges from all levels of the judiciary across the United States. As a sponsor at the NAWJ Midyear Meeting, you will build relationships, build upon your professional development skills and have the opportunity to promote your organization. 

CHAMBERS - $5,000

Becnel Law Firm, LLC
Kara Hadican Samuels & Associates, L.L.C.

BENCH - $2,500

Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C.
Dechert LLP
Herman, Herman & Katz LLC
Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC
Thomson Reuters

SECOND LINE - $1,000

Beasley Allen Law Firm
Bruno & Bruno Law 
Chaffe McCall L.L.P. 
Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C.
Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith
Jones Walker LLP
Martzell, Bickford & Centola
Louisiana State Bar Association
Louisiana State Bar Association - Section of Civil Law and Litigation
Louisiana State Bar Association - Bench and Bar Section
Louisiana Association for Justice through its sister non-profit entity Bayou Research Institute
The Lambert Firm


Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center
Southern University Law Center
Tulane University School of Law


Joel T. Chaisson, II
Carmen M. Rodriguez, Esq.

Event Details