Annual Events

Judicial and Bar Conference Seminar Programs

Friday, April 7, 2017  

All seminar programs will be held in the Conference Center at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  Admittance to all seminars is included with the full conference registration option.  Tickets for admittance into individual seminars are also available.

Online registration is now closed for the conference. A limited number of tickets may be available for sale on site. 


ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g): A Harassment and Discrimination Update
4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. 

Sponsored by the Greater Washington Area Chapter (GWAC) of the National Bar Association’s Women Lawyers Division

Cosponsored by the ABA Commission on Disability Rights; ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity; ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice; Capital Area Muslim Bar Association (CAMBA); National Bar Association (NBA); and Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBADC)

In August 2016, the ABA adopted Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g), which provides that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.”  This program will examine existing D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(d) and Comment [3] and 9.1, compare and contrast the D.C. Rules with ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) and comments, discuss the reasons behind the ABA revisions to Rule 8.4, and consider the impact on the bench, the bar, and the profession. 

Panelists:

  • Alicia McNeal, President, Greater Washington Area Chapter of the National Bar Association’s Women Lawyers Division, moderator 
  • Kristen Galles, Civil Rights Attorney, speaker 
  • Dionna Maria Lewis, Senior Associate, Tully Rinckey PLLC, speaker  
  • Erika L. Stillabower, Senior Legal Ethics Counsel, D.C. Bar, speaker

Bias Barriers for Human Trafficking Survivors 

4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. 

Sponsored by the Amara Legal Center

Cosponsored by Courtney’s House 

The legal needs of human trafficking victims are often unmet due to biases about what a trafficking victim looks like and the misconception of what human trafficking entails. The lack of knowledge of the crime of trafficking among service providers, law enforcement, and the victims themselves can bar access to resources within the criminal justice system, including vacating related convictions, obtaining orders of protection, and many other legal needs. This program will break down commonly-held myths and misconceptions about human trafficking and detail the resources available to victims of this crime. 

Panelists:

  • Elizabeth M. Landau, Staff Attorney, Amara Legal Center, moderator 
  • Yvette Butler, Staff Attorney, Amara Legal Center, speaker  
  • Tina Frundt, Executive Director, Courtney’s House, speaker 
  • Corie O'Rourke, Immigration Attorney, Ayuda, speaker
  • Stacie E. Reimer, Executive Director, Amara Legal Center, speaker

 

Constitutional Rights in Tension: Freedom of Religion v. Equal Protection
2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. 

Sponsored by the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (AAJLJ)  

Cosponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF); American Constitution Society (ACS) 

The Supreme Court’s refusal to consider Stormans, Inc. v. Wiesman, enforcement actions by the Department of Justice, and State legislative actions have thrown into bold relief the conflict between two fundamental constitutional rights, free exercise of religion and equal protection of the law. These constitutional principles—which have been used to protect against bias and discrimination based on religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation—are now in conflict, leaving members of the communities that they were designed to protect feeling exposed and under attack. This panel will discuss this deepening tension and analyze whether it is possible to strike a compromise that will protect all of the affected communities. 

Panelists:

  • Stephen R. Greenwald, Of Counsel, Garson, Segal, Steinmetz, Fladgate LLP, AAJLJ President, speaker
  • Alyza D. Lewin, Partner, Lewin & Lewin, LLP, AAJLJ Immediate Past President, speaker 
  • Jordan Lorence, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, speaker
  • Paul M. Smith, Visiting Professor, Georgetown Law School; VP for Litigation and Strategy, Campaign Legal Center, speaker  

 

Countries Leaving the International Criminal Court: Impact on International Criminal Law
2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Sponsored by the D.C. Bar International Law Section  

Cosponsored by the American Society of International Law (ASIL); Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG); War Crimes Research Office (WCRO) - American University Washington College of Law

In the past year, three African countries—South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia—have announced that they will leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), with at least one country citing bias against African countries as its reason. This panel will discuss the appearance of a bias against African countries in the face of internal dissension and the continued non-participation of powerful countries such as the United States and Russia, which recently intimated that it is considering leaving the ICC. What happens to International Criminal Law if the ICC is not working? 

Panelists:

  • Honorable Patricia Wald, Judge (Ret.), United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, moderator 
  • Anna P. Cave, Director, Ferencz International Justice Initiative, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center on the Prevention of Genocide, speaker
  • Sara Elizabeth Dill, Director, Criminal Justice, Standards and Policy, American Bar Association; Acting Director, International Criminal Court Project, American Bar Association, speaker
  • Susana L. SaCouto, Director, War Crimes Office, American University Washington College of Law, speaker 
  • Paul R. Williams, Professor, Rebecca I. Grazier Professor of Law and International Relations, American University, speaker 

 

Electing to Preserve LGBT Advancements: Moving Toward Equality
2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. 

Sponsored by the National LGBT Bar Association  

Many within the LGBT community are concerned about potential increased biases following the 2016 election cycle. Speakers will discuss what legal advancements have been made over the years and what to expect in employment law, estate planning, transgender law, and other family practices. Will recent legal advancements for the LGBT community, particularly those for the trans community, be at risk of being lost? Find out what can be done to maintain these advancements and to address legal biases. 

Panelists:

  • Adam G. Unikowsky, Partner, Jenner & Block, moderator 
  • E. Pierce Blue, Attorney Advisor, Office of Commissioner Chai Feldblum, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, speaker
  • Katie D. Fletcher, Law Office of Katie D. Fletcher, Ltd., speaker
  • Melvin White, Partner, Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, LLP, speaker
  • Michele Zavos, Managing Partner & Founder, Zavos Juncker Law Group, PLLC, speaker 

 

Eradicating Unconscious Bias in High Volume Courts
4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. 

Sponsored by the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia  

Cosponsored by Bread for the City; D.C. Bar Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section; D.C. Bar Family Law Section; D.C. Bar Litigation Section; D.C. Law Students in Court; Legal Counsel for the Elderly; Neighborhood Legal Services Program; Whitman-Walker Health

Especially in the District of Columbia’s fast-paced, high volume courts, unconscious bias often influences the actions, arguments, and decisions of even the most well-meaning judges, litigants, and counsel. With a focus on the civil and family courts, this panel explores those dangers and discusses strategies to confront implicit bias and ensure more just outcomes. 

Panelists:

  • Eric S. Angel, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, moderator 
  • Honorable Peter A. Krauthamer, Associate Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, speaker
  • Honorable Vytas Varekojis Vergeer, Administrative Law Judge, Office of Administrative Hearings, speaker
  • Camille D. Holmes, Facilitator, Trainer, and Consultant, speaker
  • Jamillah Bowman Williams, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, speaker

 

Making the Invisible Visible: Implicit Gender Bias in Family Court Cases Involving Abuse
2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Sponsored by The Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment & Appeals Project (DV LEAP) 

Cosponsored by the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence  

This program explores gender bias in family court adjudications involving domestic violence or abuse allegations. National and local experts will speak about implicit gender bias and its impact on custody and abuse litigation. Presentations will include case examples to be discussed by the audience, cutting-edge research, and strategies for combating implicit bias. The panel will engage the audience in discussion of challenging questions such as when extra-judicial education can be used to negate or inform implicit bias or assumptions, or whether such information conflicts with a judge’s obligation to determine facts based solely on the record.  

Panelists: 

  • Elizabeth S. Liu, Consulting Attorney, DV LEAP, moderator 
  • Honorable Danya A. Dayson, Associate Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, speaker
  • Sean R. Dickson, Senior Manager, Health Systems Integration, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, speaker
  • Gretta G. Gardner, Policy Director, D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, speaker
  • Joan S. Meier, Legal Director, DV LEAP, Professor of Clinical Law, George Washington Law School, speaker 

 

Religious Profiling: Targeted Policing, Islamophobia, and Equal Protection
2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Sponsored by the D.C. Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (DCACDL) 

Despite the recent groundswell of public support for ending discriminatory policing on the basis of race, religious profiling tactics remain alarmingly popular. This session will examine how the explicit targeting of Muslims for covert surveillance affects procedural justice and public safety. Panelists will discuss the constitutionality of terror investigation practices of local and federal law enforcement, using real-life civil and criminal cases and empirical evidence of disproportionate impact. 

  • Patrice A. Sulton, Attorney, DCACDL, moderator 
  • William Burgess, Senior Staff Attorney, Civil Rights Department, Council on American-Islamic Relations, speaker
  • Michael German, Fellow, Brennan Center for Justice, Liberty and National Security Program, speaker
  • Dr. Maha Hilal, Executive Director, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, speaker
  • Jenifer Wicks, Attorney, Law Offices of Jenifer Wicks; President, DCACDL, speaker

 

When a Bias for English Stands in the Way of Justice
2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Sponsored by the D.C. Bar Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section (CLAJ) 

Cosponsored by the Washington Council of Lawyers

It is not safe to assume that every person in court can understand English. Courts must have systems in place to ensure that a bias for English does not result in a violation of the civil rights of limited-English proficient (LEP) individuals. This session will review the number of LEP persons who use the District of Columbia Superior Court each year, the Court’s legal requirement to ensure meaningful access, how to recognize when someone needs an interpreter, and the language access services available through the Court. 

Panelists:

  • David Steib, Language Access Director, Ayuda, moderator 
  • Honorable Neal E. Kravitz, Associate Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, speaker
  • Deborah Cuevas Hill, Staff Attorney, AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly, speaker 
  • James W. Plunkett, Coordinator, District of Columbia Superior Court, Office of Court Interpreting Services, speaker 
  • Terri Shaw, Certified Court Interpreter, Terri Shaw Language Services, speaker