The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (“Commission”) has forwarded to President Barack Obama the names of three lawyers for his consideration in selecting a nominee to fill a judicial vacancy on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The President has sixty (60) days to select a nominee to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Natalia M. Combs Greene. The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill this vacancy:
Steven Nathan Berk is a principal and founder of Berk Law PLLC, where he litigates consumer protection issues on behalf of consumers, often in class actions, and represents whistleblowers in cases under the False Claims Act. Mr. Berk has been a partner at several District of Columbia law firms, including Chavez & Gertler (2007-2009), Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca (2005 - 2007), and Jenner & Block (1996 - 2002). From 1990 to 1995, he was an Assistant United States Attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Prior to that, Mr. Berk was a staff attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission and worked as a litigation associate at Isham, Lincoln, & Beale and in the Chicago office of Jenner & Block. He is also the current Treasurer of the District of Columbia Bar and a member of its Board of Governors. Mr. Berk is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Boston College Law School and a member of the National Board of Directors for the Appleseed Foundation. In addition, he is the Editor and Founder of the Corporate Observer, a consumer service website, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Founder of Montgomery Cheetahs, a Montgomery County, Maryland youth hockey program serving children with autism and other special needs. Mr. Berk has a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Washington University, a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics, and earned his law degree cum laude from Boston College Law School, where he served as Managing Editor of the Law Review.
Sean Curtis Staples is the Guardian ad litem Project Director at the Children’s Law Center, the largest legal services organization in the District of Columbia and the only one to focus on children. Mr. Staples manages over 40 members of the Children’s Law Center’s staff who, together with hundreds of pro bono partners, help more than 2,000 children and caregivers every year. Prior to joining the Children’s Law Center, Mr. Staples was a clinical professor in the criminal division of the District of Columbia Law Students in Court Program. He taught criminal trial practice and procedure and supervised law students in the representation of adults and juveniles in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Mr. Staples has also worked as an assistant public defender in Fairfax, Virginia, and as a sole practitioner. He is the former co-chair of the Courts, Lawyers, and Administration of Justice Steering Committee of the District of Columbia Bar and a member of the District of Columbia Law Students in Court Board of Directors. Mr. Staples has a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising and Law and Public Policy from Syracuse University, where he was in the Honors Program, and earned his law degree magna cum laude from Catholic University of America, Columbia School of Law. Following law school, Mr. Staples served as a law clerk for Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin.
Sherry Moore Trafford is a staff attorney in the Mental Health Division at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. In this capacity, she represents numerous individuals in mental health detention and commitment cases and post-trial not guilty by reason of insanity release proceedings. Prior to serving in the Mental Health Division, Ms. Trafford was a staff attorney in the Civil Legal Services Division of the Public Defender Service representing youth and adults in landlord/tenant, custody, abuse and neglect, and public benefits cases. In 1997, Ms. Trafford received a Skadden Public Interest Law Fellowship and served as a staff attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, where she represented individuals with mental illness and provided training regarding enforcement of fair housing rights. Ms. Trafford chairs the Board for Open Doors/Moore Light Presbyterians, volunteers at Miriam’s Kitchen, an organization working to end homelessness in the District of Columbia, and was an active District of Columbia Public School parent. Ms. Trafford has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with honors from Indiana University and earned her law degree from Yale Law School. Following law school, Ms. Trafford served as a law clerk for the Honorable William B. Bryant of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Questions concerning the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission should be directed to the Executive Director at (202) 879-0478 or via email at [email protected].