Stars of the Bar: 2011
WBA Honors Women Judges at the 2011 Stars of the Bar
The 2011 Stars of the Bar networking reception was held in the lobby of the beautiful Columbia Square Building at 555 13th Street, NW, Washington, DC, with light hors d'oeuvres and beverages from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and a brief program beginning at 7:00 p.m.
This year, we recognized a group of remarkable women judges who have recently retired, taken senior status, or announced their intention to do so, after dedicating years of service to the bench. The 2011 honorees include Judge Stephanie Duncan-Peters, Judge Brook Hedge, Judge Judith E. Retchin, Judge Kaye K. Christian, Judge Cheryl M. Long, Judge Joan Zeldon, and Judge Odessa Vincent of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. We also honored Judge Inez Smith Reid and Judge Vanessa Ruiz of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Judge Stephanie Duncan-Peters, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Judge Duncan-Peters was appointed to the Superior Court in 1992, and is currently a senior judge. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Duncan-Peters served in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the USDOJ. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award in 2005, and was the DC Bar Association’s Judicial Honoree in 2006.
Judge Brook Hedge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Judge Hedge was appointed to the Superior Court in 1992, and is currently a senior judge. Before joining the bench, Judge Hedge worked for the US DOJ, eventually rising to become an assistant director in the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division. During her tenure at the Justice Department, she received the Attorney General’s second highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. She has served on the board of directors of the WBA Foundation.
Judge Judith E. Retchin, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Judge Retchin was appointed in 1992 to the District of Columbia Superior Court, where she has served in all the divisions of the court except the Probate and Tax Division, and she currently serves as a Senior Judge. Her professional life has been committed to public service in a variety of positions. During her tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Judge Retchin received four special achievement awards from the Department of Justice.
Judge Kaye K. Christian, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Judge Christian was appointed as an associate judge of the District of Columbia Superior Court in 1990, and is currently a senior judge. She began her legal career with the Office of the General Counsel, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. Following her judicial clerkship, Judge Christian joined the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia (now Office of the Attorney General). Since her appointment as an Associate Judge, Judge Christian has served in every division of the Superior Court and has received a number of awards for judicial excellence.
Judge Cheryl M. Long, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Judge Long was appointed as an associate judge of the District of Columbia Superior Court in 1988. Judge Long has served in every division of Superior Court and has sat by designation on several panels of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Following law school, Judge Long served as a law clerk to the Honorable Spottswood W. Robinson, II, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Following her clerkship she worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, serving as a prosecutor in the federal and local courts. Judge Long also worked in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Division of Land and Natural Resources at the Department of Justice. Judge Long was the first female African-American Director of the District of Columbia’s Public Defender Service, where she supervised a large staff.
Judge Joan Zeldon, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Judge Zeldon was appointed to the District of Columbia Superior Court in 1990. Prior to her appointment, Judge Zeldon was a member of the Labor Department of Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, first in New York City and later in Washington, D.C. At Proskauer she handled numerous cases, including Schumacher v. Aldridge, 665 F.Supp. 41 (D.D.C. 1988), which ordered the United States government to grant veteran’s status to American Merchant Seamen who served during World War II. As a result of this case, over 70,000 merchant seamen received honorable military discharges. Judge Zeldon has received numerous awards, including honorary status as a United States Merchant Marine Veteran. She has also published numerous articles on a wide variety of subjects, including attorneys’ fees in civil rights litigation, substance abuse in the workplace, public sector collective bargaining, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Judge Odessa Vincent, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Judge Vincent was appointed to the District of Columbia Superior Court in 2002. Judge Vincent began her legal career as an Attorney-Advisor with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she litigated civil and administrative cases. Judge Vincent was subsequently appointed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, where she served for several years before accepting a position with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Chief Counsel. She served there initially as an Attorney-Advisor, and went on to become Chief of the Criminal Law Section. Judge Vincent then served as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and also on the National Church Arson Task Force, where she investigated and prosecuted crimes involving the arson and destruction of religious properties. Judge Vincent returned to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1998, first as Deputy Chief, and later as Chief of the Narcotics Section.
Judge Inez Smith Reid, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Judge Reid was appointed to the DC Court of Appeals in 1995. She previously held a number of positions in public service, including Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency and Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia (now Office of the Attorney General). Judge Reid has taught at a number of universities and published on constitutional law, environmental law, African politics, and African-American history.
Judge Vanessa Ruiz, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Judge Ruiz was appointed to the DC Court of Appeals in 1994, after serving as Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia. Judge Ruiz has received numerous accolades, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.