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Commission Announces Two Recent Commission Member Appointments and New Executive Director

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Grace E. Speights was appointed by the District of Columbia Bar to the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission in November 2009. Ms. Speights is a partner in Morgan Lewis & Bockius, member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Practice, managing partner of the Washington DC office, Chair of the firm’s Complex Employment Litigation Practice Group, co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee, and a member of the firm’s 18-member Advisory Board. Her practice focuses on counseling and defending clients in connection with employment discrimination claims, primarily involving class action litigation, and on counseling clients regarding diversity best practices.

Ms. Speights has received many accolades as a practicing lawyer, including being named or listed in: the Minority Corporate Counsel 2009 Rainmakers; the Washingtonian Magazine 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, DC (2009); The Best Lawyers in America (2007-2009); Washington Super Lawyers (2007-2009); Super Lawyers top 50 Women Lawyers in Washington, DC (2007); Human Resources Executive’s Top 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys (2009); Human Resources Executive’s Top 40 Defense Employment Attorneys (2008); and The Legal Times’ Leading Labor and Employment Lawyers (2004). Ms. Speights is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD with Honors as a member of the Coif from the George Washington University National Law Center. Ms. Speights replaces Ms. Brooksley Born, a retired partner at Arnold and Porter, and who was appointed by the District of Columbia Bar.

Woody N. Peterson was nominated by President Obama to the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission in March 2010. Mr. Peterson is a partner in Dickstein Shapiro’s Antitrust and Dispute Resolution Group. His practice focuses on appellate litigation. Mr. Peterson has authored or co-authored numerous briefs in the federal courts of appeals and state appellate courts, as well as petitions for certiorari, briefs in opposition, and amicus briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States. The briefs have spanned subject areas as diverse as energy, antitrust, ERISA, securities, defamation, employment, insurance coverage and intellectual property. Mr. Peterson replaces Helgi C. Walker, partner at Wiley Rein & Fielding, and who was appointed to the Commission by former President George W. Bush.

Mr. Peterson is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia and Massachusetts. He served as co-editor of Chapter 11 (“Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”) of the Fourth Edition of the BNA Employment Discrimination Law treatise, published in 2007. Mr. Peterson received his AB, magna cum laude, from Harvard College and his JD, cum laude, from the Harvard Law School.

Kim M. Whatley was named Executive Director of the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission on January 19, 2010. She joined the Commission after her retirement from the ranks of the federal government’s senior executive service. Ms. Whatley has worked in increasingly responsible administrative and managerial positions in various federal and state government agencies for nearly 30 years. She has extensive experience in policy and program development; budget formulation and allocation; and financial management and human resources. She also has extensive management experience in operational reviews; evaluation and legislative reviews; and long-range and strategic planning, and she has a proven track record of results.

Before she was named Executive Director for the Commission, Ms. Whatley served as the Director of Operations for the District of Columbia Pretrial Services Agency, a multi-million dollar executive branch federal agency that assesses, supervises and provides services for individuals arrested and prosecuted in the District of Columbia. Ms. Whatley has a bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology and a master’s degree in public administration.