The Champion

June 2013 , Page 09 

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Voices Fighting for Justice (Inside NACDL)

By Norman L. Reimer

Read more Inside NACDL columns.

Two years ago, when Lisa Wayne served as NACDL president-elect, The Champion published an issue dedicated to women in criminal defense.1 The issue did not profile particular women, nor did it single them out in any way or address the unique challenges they face in criminal defense practice. Rather, it presented feature articles on a wide range of topics authored exclusively by preeminent women criminal defense lawyers and law professors. The wide range of topics addressed included cross-examining difficult witnesses and informants, appealing findings of juvenile delinquency and conviction of youths, and strategies to get racial discrimination and bias issues before the court.

In her introductory column, Lisa observed that “these articles represent the exciting creativity, cutting-edge intellect, and most importantly, passion, that women lawyers bring to the criminal defense field.”2 The decision to highlight women reflected Lisa’s commitment to providing support, encouragement, and mentorship to the next generation of female criminal defense lawyers.3 One manifestation of that support, which was a theme of Lisa’s term as president, was a concentrated effort to recruit women into the ranks of NACDL membership in greater numbers and to encourage them to assume positions of leadership.

Following up on Lisa’s effort, President Steven Benjamin established a Membership Committee Task Force on the Recruitment of Women Members on May 15, 2013, and appointed NACDL board member Susan Bozorgi to chair the effort. Susan, who is a member of the law firm of Marrero Bozorgi, PL, urged us to reprise the women’s issue of The Champion, and hence we are pleased to present the second edition of Women in Criminal Defense. In fact, Susan has authored the introductory article for this issue. She notes that this issue of the magazine “shines a bright light on the legal expertise of women in the field, both those contributing articles here and the broader community of women criminal defense lawyers, who as a group bring unique skills and perspectives to our profession.”

How right she is!

The featured articles in this issue cover an extraordinary range of issues. And the authors’ credentials reflect the prominence women have attained throughout the criminal defense profession. Deborah Williams is the First Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona. Deborah’s article, I Love My Work — The Jails I Can Live Without, describes the disgraceful mistreatment many women must endure when visiting clients in jail. Jessica K. Nall and Janice W. Reicher are, respectively, a partner and an associate in the White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations practice group at Farella Braun + Martel, LLP. In their article, Achieving Credibility in Internal Investigations: Getting Inside the Enforcer’s Mind, they provide expert guidance on how to effectively conduct a thorough and credible internal corporate investigation. Anne M. Chapman (co-chair of the NACDL Death Penalty Committee) and Kathleen Brody O’Meara, of Arizona law firm Osborn Maledon, offer pointers and suggestions regarding the range of provisions that might find their way into deferred prosecution agreements. In their article, Deferred Prosecution Agreements in the Financial Services Industry: Trends and Tips, they analyze the various provisions that arise in DPAs and how lawyers representing financial services companies can employ this knowledge to secure more favorable outcomes for corporate clients. Tracy A. Miner and Eóin P. Beirne are white collar attorneys at Mintz Levin. Tracy is also co-chair of NACDL’s White Collar Crime Committee and a member of NACDL’s Board of Directors. Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here revisits one of NACDL’s long-standing concerns: the fundamental unfairness that permeates the modern federal grand jury system. Finally, Arizona attorney CeCelia E. Valentine is an assistant public defender in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. CeCelia is also a member of NACDL’s Membership and Indigent Defense Committees. Meet ‘Em and Plead ‘Em: Is This the Best Practice? is a powerful critique of assembly line justice and a call to arms for defense lawyers, especially those who represent the most vulnerable, to provide each and every client with careful, thoughtful, and vigorous representation.

Each of these featured articles confirms Susan Bozorgi’s observation that defense lawyers, male or female, serve as the voice of our clients and that “the voice that fights for justice, liberty, and dignity for every client is the heartbeat of our profession.”


  1. April 2011.
  2. Lisa M. Wayne, Women in Criminal Defense, The Champion, April 2011 at 19.
  3. Id. at 18.

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