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January 31, 2022 National Conference of Federal Trial Judges

NCFTJ Chair's Column

By Hon. Diana Song Quiroga, Laredo, Texas

As we welcome another year facing ever-changing pandemic-related challenges, we reflect on last year’s victories, big and small, and carry on with hope and determination. While writing this column in early December, I received the good news that Bill S. 2340 Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee accepting the ABA’s endorsed amendment to add Article I judges. Although there is still much that lies ahead before the final bill passage, this is an encouraging step that our Conference, led by efforts from Chief Judge Maurice B. Foley of the U.S. Tax Court, can celebrate. Because our Conference has a stake in the ongoing conversation of the need for judicial security at all levels where the work of judging is done, we named Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Brown (E.D. La.) to be our representative in the newly formed JD Committee on Judicial Security. 

Seizing on the opportunity to make connections with fellow judges and the bar, our Conference participated in the 2021 ABA Women in Litigation Conference this past November in Boston, MA. I was privileged to moderate a plenary panel on how lawyers can increase their emotional intelligence and gain other social competencies to thrive in their professional careers and improve their well-being. The audience heard from U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper (D. Mass.), Brooklyn Law School Professor Heidi K. Brown, executive coach Jill Lynch Cruz, and Pilar G. Kraman, a partner at a Delaware IP law firm. The speakers shared their insights on how to become more successful and resilient attorneys, especially during these daunting times. 

We are calling on all NCFTJ members to volunteer at the upcoming Judicial Clerkship Program at the Midyear Meeting from February 10-12, 2022. Unfortunately, due to the surge in the Omicron variant the Midyear Meeting moved to a fully remote platform. With less than a month to go, staff and committee members had to quickly pivot and modify the program for the virtual world. Fortunately, we can build on the successful experience of last year when the 2021 JCP was held fully virtual. This program provides a unique opportunity to increase the diversity of our legal profession pipeline. First- and second-year students from more than a dozen law schools will be participating and will learn about the benefits of a judicial clerkship while working under the supervision of a judge in a 3-day simulation of a clerkship experience. For many volunteer judges, making connections with minority and first-generation law students is one of the most rewarding experiences afforded by an ABA membership! For more information about the JCP, please contact our Conference liaison, Judge Elizabeth Stong, or staff member Kris Berliant. We hope that the virtual platform for JCP this year will enable many more of you to participate! 

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