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News

D.C. Bar Announces Leadership Academy Class of 2020

February 25, 2020

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The D.C. Bar has selected 24 attorneys representing diverse practice areas and workplace settings to attend its 2020 John Payton Leadership Academy. The intensive training program, spread over three months, aims to equip participants with the skills and tools they need to thrive and succeed in fast-paced legal and business environments. The academy opens on March 20.

The academy’s enhanced program, designed and taught by lawyers for lawyers, will focus on essential leadership qualities that resonate in the legal profession. Participants will learn how to inspire others, create a vision, define success, set goals, build trust, communicate effectively, build relationships, and work with others to bring out the best in people and organizations.

The following attorneys have been accepted into Class 2020 of the Leadership Academy:

Ericka Aiken, Counsel, WilmerHale LLP
Lauren Birzon Harriman, Senior Attorney, Children's Law Center
Kimberley Cruz, Family Court Supervisory Attorney, D.C. Superior Court
Daniela de la Piedra, Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Counsel for the Elderly
Erica Deray, Supervising Attorney, Whitman-Walker Health
Farhad Aspy Fatakia, Trial Attorney, D.C. Office of the Attorney General
Wandaly Fernandez, Associate, Sidley Austin LLP
Stephanie Fouse, Staff Counsel, U.S. Supreme Court
Blair Gilbert, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
Hardeep Grover, Attorney, Tresquire Legal Services PLLC
Minsuk Han, Associate, Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick, PLLC
Nicola Harrison, Assistant General Counsel, Strategic Funding Source (Kapitus)
Brandi Howard, Associate, McGuireWoods LLP
Jennifer Ivers, Associate, White & Case LLP
Carla Jordan-Detamore, Senior Associate, Vinson & Elkins LLP
Andrea Mangones, Managing Attorney, Kids in Need of Defense
Jessica Megaw, Associate, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Jeremy Moorehouse, Counsel, WilmerHale LLP
Lyssa-Michelle Morris, Associate, Banner Witcoff
Karthik Nagarajan, Associate, White & Case LLP
Roger Lu Phillips, Legal Director, Syria Justice and Accountability Centre
James Stewart, Associate, DLA Piper
Krisztina E. Szabo, Staff Attorney, Whitman-Walker Health
Y. Michelle Zhang, Associate, Banner Witcoff

D.C. Bar Leadership Development Committee Chair Brigida Benitez said the 24 attendees were picked from an impressive pool of applicants. “We are excited to welcome and develop these talented lawyers and future leaders of the legal profession,” Benitez said.

Tim Webster, vice chair of the committee, said the class of 2020 “is clearly motivated to become future leaders within the legal profession, and the academy will help them cultivate the skills to accomplish their goals.”

The Leadership Academy, which runs through May 29, consists of three onsite classes, two distance learning sessions, relationship building opportunities, and community service. The focus will be to provide attorneys both hard and soft skills that encourage resilience not only in their professional lives but also in the communities they serve.

By extending the formal program over three months, participants will have time to utilize and refine the capabilities they develop by applying them immediately to their work, receiving coaching or feedback as desired.

Participants will be trained by attorneys and leadership experts Laurie Lyte, David Maas, and Diane Rosen. Lyte, a principal at Lytehouse Solutions LLC, is a certified coach, organizational consultant, and training professional with experience in both the public and private sectors. Lyte’s expertise includes coaching individuals and teams, developing curricula, and facilitating group sessions on topics such as leadership, management, negotiation and conflict resolution, stress management, change management, resiliency, and legal practice skills.

“We look forward to working with such a talented group of attorneys in their journey to become better leaders by building on existing skills and learning new ones,” Lyte said. “Having such a broad range of experience and practice settings represented in the 2020 class will lead to inspiring and valuable discussions as we learn together about how best to thrive in the fast-paced legal and business climate that exists today in our profession. We are excited to see the class of 2020 develop and grow their leadership skills as they move along the path to becoming the best leaders they can be, serving as guides within the legal profession.”

Maas is deputy director of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Criminal Litigation Unit, where he oversees the office’s statewide prosecutor training programs and is an instructor for all its new prosecutor trial skills programs. He has served as an assistant attorney general with the department for the past 11 years, and prior to that as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, for nine years.

Rosen, of counsel at Ortoli Rosenstadt LLP since 2013, is an author, mediator, organizational consultant, and certified executive coach with experience in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. She is a principal at Compass Consultants LLC, which works with organizations and individuals to achieve their goals, enhance existing resources, and experience the extraordinary.

The Leadership Academy was established in 2013 and renamed in honor of the late John Payton, director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund who was regarded as one of the most influential civil rights attorneys of his generation. Payton, president of the D.C. Bar from 2001 to 2002, devoted much of his career to the training of young lawyers and served as a mentor to many.