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April 08, 2022 National Conference of Federal Trial Judges

NCFTJ Chair's Column

Midyear Update

By Hon. Diana Song Quiroga, Laredo, Texas

The surge caused by the Omicron COVID variant forced the cancellation of the in-person Midyear Meeting in Seattle, but thanks to the dexterity and competency of ABA staff, the entire meeting was successfully moved to a remote video platform in less than a month. The upside was that we had robust virtual attendance from Executive Committee members and a very productive business meeting. Here are some of the highlights:

Judge Robert Collings led the final review and discussion of ABA Midyear Meeting Resolutions. The Executive Committee had met weeks ahead of the Midyear to discuss the bulk of the resolutions, and at the meeting, we finalized our voting instructions to Judge Collings as our Conference’s delegate to the House.

Judge Elizabeth Stong shared about the extraordinary behind-the-scenes work which led to a successful virtual Judicial Clerkship Program involving more than 60 students from a dozen law schools across the country. Many of our Conference members are regular volunteers for the 3-day program the simulates a clerkship experience for first generation and minority law students. The virtual format enabled more volunteer judges to participate, as they no longer had to confront the anxiety and logistics of travel.  

Judge Richard Boulware reported that many law schools are resuming hosting judicial clerkship and career panels. The Judicial Outreach Network will re-establish its contacts with possible host schools to set up either in-person or virtual presentations. If you are interested in volunteering to speak to law students about the importance of judicial clerkships or about career paths in the private and public sectors or have contacts with a law school interested in hosting, please contact Judge Boulware.

Judges Willie Epps and Stanley Boone confirmed that our Conference’s application for the July 7, 2022, webinar entitled Mediating a Federal Case: Practice Tips for Judges & Lawyers was accepted by the ABA. Judge Epps has assembled a stellar panel of magistrate and bankruptcy judges and attorneys who will share advice on how to successfully resolve contested matters through free settlement conferences mediated by a judge at the courthouse. The event will be free for law students and members of the Young Lawyers Division, who will receive CLE credit at no cost. Both the Federal Magistrate Judges Association and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges will publicize the webinar to their members.

The Executive Committee voted to welcome two new members: U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Gunn. Judge Bolden was sworn into the federal bench in 2015 and sits in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Bolden was the Corporation Counsel for the City of New Haven, and General Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Judge Gunn has served as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Columbia since 2020. Previously, Judge Gunn practiced in law firms and was an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are so excited and honored to have Judges Bolden and Gunn serve in our Conference as the newest members of the Executive Committee and look forward to their contributions!

Lastly, I close with a message of hope that we will be together in person soon at the Annual Meeting in Chicago (August 5-6, 2022). Chief Judge Foley and Judges Richard Boulware, Elizabeth Stong, and Nanette Baker will plan and host an evening reception recognizing the Chicago-area District, Magistrate, and Bankruptcy judges. Please share with the Committee your nominations for recognition so we can highlight some of the great work on the bench and in the community done by our colleagues in Chicago. 

Hon. Diana Song Quiroga

2021-2022 Chair, National Conference of Federal Trial Judges

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