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JNC Recommends Nine Candidates for DC Superior Court Vacancies

Monday, August 1, 2016

The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (“Commission”) has forwarded to President Barack Obama the names of nine lawyers for his consideration in selecting nominees to fill the judicial vacancies on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Superior Court”) created by the retirements of Hon. Stuart G. Nash, Hon. Rhonda Reid Winston, and Hon. Melvin R. Wright. The President has sixty (60) days to select a
nominee to fill each vacancy.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Nash’s vacancy:

Hon. Errol Rajesh Arthur has been a Magistrate Judge on the Superior Court since 2010, serving in the Family Court. Magistrate Judge Arthur has presided over numerous non-jury trials in neglect and abuse cases, as well as arraignments and detention hearings in both juvenile and adult cases. He has also served on numerous court committees, as a visiting faculty member of Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, and as Chair of the Washington Bar Association’s Judicial Council. Previously, Magistrate Judge Arthur was a staff attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) and opened his own law practice in
2002, representing individuals in local courts and agencies. In 2008, he was appointed Chairman of the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, and served as an adjunct professor and supervising attorney with the Howard University School of Law’s Criminal Justice Clinic. A native Washingtonian, Magistrate Judge Arthur received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Maryland in 1994, and a law degree from the Howard University School of Law in 1998. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Mary A. Gooden Terrell in the DC Superior Court.

Willa B. Perlmutter, Esq. is Of Counsel at Stoel Rives, LLP, in Portland, OR, focusing on occupational safety and health counseling and enforcement, with a particular emphasis on the mining industry. Previously, Ms. Perlmutter worked with a small, general practice firm in New Haven, where she primarily litigated on behalf of individuals and small businesses. In 1992, she moved to Alaska, to serve as Supervising Attorney of the Juneau office of Alaska Legal Services, Alaska’s Legal Services Corporation grantee. There, Ms. Perlmutter represented low-income residents of Southeast Alaska and was one of a three-member trial team that obtained a tribal court order requiring the return of historically and culturally significant artifacts that had been stolen from a Tlingit Indian village. Ms. Perlmutter worked for the Department of the Interior, in Washington, DC, from 1995 – 1997, then worked as an attorney with Patton Boggs, LLP and Crowell & Moring, LLP until 2016. Ms. Perlmutter earned a bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College in 1980 and her law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1983.

Gary Thompson, Esq. is the Managing Partner of Reed Smith’s Washington, DC office, where he has worked since 2006. Mr. Thompson is a commercial litigator, whose career started with the firm of Kaye Scholer LLP in New York and Washington, followed by eleven years with the Washington, DC offices of Howrey & Simon, LLP and Gilbert Heinz & Randolph, LLP. He annually works hundreds of hours on pro bono cases, ranging from legal aid cases, to child custody, to non-profit governance, to civil rights cases. In 2015, the DC Bar recognized Mr. Thompson as the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. He also serves on several non-profit Boards and served eight years as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. He received his Bachelors Degree from Georgetown University in 1987 and his Juris Doctor form Rutgers University in 1990.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Winston’s vacancy:

Emily A. Gunston, Esq. has served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice since 2009, specializing in litigating civil rights cases related to institutional reform, patterns or practices of law enforcement misconduct, and corrections. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Gunston served as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County, California, where she defended indigent clients accused of a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony crimes, including homicide. Ms. Gunston received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, with Honors in History, from the University of Maryland, College Park and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her work, including the prestigious Attorney General’s John Marshall Award and the Assistant Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.

Deborah J. Israel, Esq. is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, LLP and serves as Chief Operating Partner for the firm and head of the DC litigation practice. A seasoned trial lawyer, Ms. Israel has served as lead counsel in complex commercial cases in state and federal courts, and arbitration tribunals. She has extensive experience in cases involving commercial real estate, financial services, business disputes, manufacturing and distribution. Prior to joining Womble Carlyle, Ms. Israel was in private practice in the District of Columbia, including as a partner at Piper Rudnick (now DLA Piper) where she was lead counsel in real estate, corporate, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty matters. Ms. Israel currently serves on the DC Bar Lawyers Assistance Committee, which supports the provision of services to individuals with substance abuse and mental health issues. She has served as President of the Women’s Bar Association and President of the WBA Foundation, as well as Chair of the WBA Community Projects Committee. Ms. Israel is a recipient of the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Award for pro bono litigation that resulted in the preservation and protection of the Black Creek Site, on which artifacts were gathered evidencing over 10,000 years of recurrent use and reflecting our collective human heritage. Ms. Israel is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America – Trial Lawyer Honor Society. Ms. Israel received her undergraduate degree, with honors in Political Science, from Rutgers University and earned her Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School.

Lee W. Jackson, Esq. is a partner (formerly Counsel) at James & Hoffman P.C., in the District of Columbia. Before joining that firm, Mr. Jackson was a Principal and then Counsel at O’Donnell, Schwartz & Anderson, P.C., where he represented international and local unions and their members before local, state, and federal courts and agencies. He started his career as a Field Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in New Orleans, and, in 1978, became an attorney in the NLRB’s Office of General Counsel in Washington, DC, where he represented the agency in actions to enforce Board Orders in Federal Circuit Courts, and in contempt litigation before Special Masters appointed by the federal courts. Mr. Jackson served in private practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1982 until 1991, representing clients including teachers, blue and white collar employees, firefighters, and newspaper reporters. Mr. Jackson received his undergraduate degree, with honors, from Jackson State College, and earned his Juris Doctor, with honors, at the George Washington University Law School.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Wright’s vacancy:

Hon. Julie R. Breslow is a Magistrate Judge in the Superior Court, where she has served in the Family Court since her appointment in 2002. She presides over child neglect cases, adoptions, guardianships, juvenile delinquency matters, and domestic relations cases. Magistrate Judge Breslow presides over all neglect matters involving unaccompanied refugee minors in DC foster care. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where she teaches Child Welfare Law and Practice in the District of Columbia. Before her appointment to the Superior Court, Magistrate Judge Breslow served as the Chief of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Victims’ Rights Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, and the Director of the Court Services Unit for the Office of the General Receiver, DC Child and Family Services Agency. She spent five years as a trial attorney at the District of Columbia Office of the Corporation Counsel (now the Office of the Attorney General) in the child abuse and neglect section, the juvenile delinquency section, and the child support enforcement section. Magistrate Judge Breslow graduated magna cum laude from Union College and received her law degree from Albany Law School in 1989.

Carmen Guerricagoitia McLean, Esq. is a partner at Jones Day, in the District of Columbia, where she has worked since receiving her law degree. An experienced trial lawyer, Ms. McLean represents clients in complex civil disputes as well as corporate criminal investigations, and has litigated a wide range of business disputes relating to antitrust, tort, copyright, and contract law. Ms. McLean currently serves as Partner in Charge of Pro Bono and Public Service and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee for the Washington office. Ms. McLean is an expert on civil discovery and the changing legal landscape surrounding electronic discovery. She frequently speaks and writes about discovery issues, including the recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, discovery strategy, and advancements in technology. In 2015, the National Law Journal recognized Ms. McLean as a “Rising Star” in the District of Columbia. During her time at Jones Day, she has dedicated over 2,700 hours to pro bono work, primarily helping at risk children in the District. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Law Center from 2009 through 2015. In recognition of her service to disadvantaged children, Ms. McLean was named a “Champion of the Legal Profession” by the National Law Journal in 2011 and awarded the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year by the DC Bar in 2012. Ms. McLean earned her B.S. from George Fox University and her Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Jonathan H. Pittman, Esq. is currently the Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Civil Litigation Division of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, where he assists in managing the Civil Litigation Division. The Civil Litigation Division defends the District of Columbia, its agencies and employees in torts actions, civil rights actions and employment actions brought in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. From September 2012 until April 1, 2016, Mr. Pittman was a Section Chief in the Civil Litigation Division, where he supervised the attorneys and staff in one of the Civil Litigation Division’s litigation sections. From 1991 to 2012 Mr. Pittman was an associate and then partner in private practice with the Washington, DC office of Crowell & Moring LLP, where he represented commercial clients in complex civil litigation in courts throughout the country at both the trial court and appellate levels, primarily in large insurance coverage disputes concerning environmental and mass tort liabilities. Mr. Pittman received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Vassar College in 1985 and received a law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1990. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Pittman served as a law clerk to the Honorable John A. Terry of the DC Court of Appeals from 1990 until 1991.

Please direct any questions to the Commission’s Executive Director at (202) 879-0478 or [email protected].

The Commission members are:

Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan, Chair
United States District Court
for the District of Columbia
United States Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Chambers 4935-Annex
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 354-3260
[email protected]

Ronald S. Flagg, Esq.
Legal Services Corporation
3333 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 295-1620
[email protected]

Mr. William Lucy
Vice President, AFL-CIO
1831 Sudbury Lane, NW
Washington, DC 20012
(301) 520-0576
[email protected]

Natalie O. Ludaway, Esq.
Office of the Attorney General
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 1100 S
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 724-1521
[email protected]

John J. McAvoy, Esq.
3110 Brandywine Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 966-8544
[email protected]

Woody N. Peterson, Esq.
ZELLE LLP
1775 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 375
Washington, DC, 20006
D (202) 899-4103
F (612) 336-9100
[email protected]

Rev. Morris L. Shearin, Sr.
Israel Baptist Church
1251 Saratoga Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20018
(202) 269-0288
[email protected]