Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 18

FEATURE
together. I just loved it from the first day. I thought, 'This is what I was
meant to do,'" Chutkan says. "I loved everything about it, except going
to the jail. But I loved the work, the training, the colleagues, the courtroom, learning. I thought I would never leave. And I didn't ever plan
to leave. It was very formative."
Chutkan tried more than 30 cases and argued several appellate cases
during her tenure at PDS before joining the firm Boies Schiller Flexner
LLP in 2002 as a partner. Chutkan says she took the job for a better
work-life balance at a time when the legal profession was changing
with electronic filings and remote work. "You could go home, deal with
home, and log in to work at night. So, that really made a big difference
in what I was able to do," she says.
During her 12 years at the firm, Chutkan specialized in litigation and
white-collar criminal defense. Her clients included antitrust class action
plaintiffs, as well as individual and corporate defendants involved in
complex state and federal litigation.
In 2014 came the appointment to the bench from President Obama.
"It was very hard when I first came on the bench . . . but I was very lucky
because there were a lot of really great judges. I had some amazing
colleagues who I got to watch and learn from. That was the thing I used
to love to do. If I didn't have a trial or something, every chance I got I would
be in court watching trials and really great lawyers doing really fabulous
work," she says.
Among Chutkan's most notable cases are Garza v. Hargan (2017), in which
she ruled that a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant in federal custody was
legally entitled to an abortion, and United States v. Butina (2019), in which
she sentenced Russian gun-rights activist Maria Butina to 18 months in
prison for conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian government in the United States.
Chutkan cites D.C. District Court Judges Thomas Hogan, Henry Kennedy,
and Colleen Kollar-Kotelly as inspiration for what makes a good judge.
"To me, the best judges listen. They let you argue your case. They are
respectful of everyone in the courtroom - the marshals, the litigants,
the parties. And they take the time, regardless of how big or small a case
is, to let the parties argue, consider the arguments, and make a decision."
"Every case is the most important case to somebody, to the person that
brought it. You have to remember that. I try and treat every case that way.
Politics are not important. You have to tune out the background noise
and just deal with the case on the facts, as the law is."
Chutkan's advice to lawyers who want to become judges? Get in the
courtroom.
"Get involved in bar activities, not just because it's good for your résumé,
but because the bar reflects the legal community, and we need a diversity
of viewpoints and participation. Do pro bono work. Get involved. Serve on
boards. Plunge into legal life," Chutkan says. "The community of people that
actually appears in court is a pretty tight-knit and close one. Take courtappointed cases or supervise an associate who is taking on a pro bono
case. Definitely get involved in the life of the courts."
Chutkan also recommends that would-be judges develop a thick skin.
"I'm an immigrant. I find it fantastic to live in a country where anyone can
call a judge an idiot. That's a true democracy."
Tracy Schorn is a writer based in Washington, D.C.

18

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MARCH/APRIL 2020

Jill Dash
By John Murph

CREATING ALLIANCES
ACROSS THE PROFESSION

W

hen Jill Dash became president of the Women's
Bar Association of the District of Columbia
(WBA) in 2019, she decided to focus on building
communities to help level the playing field for
women lawyers and judges. Those efforts have included
networking programs that provided tips on how to
exceed workplace expectations and how women can
better support one another.
Under Dash's leadership, the WBA also has explored issues confronting
women outside the legal world. For instance, in October 2019, the WBA
hosted a program tackling the inequities women face in professional
sports, comparing them with challenges in the legal field. In addition to
contending with fewer resources, women athletes experience imbalances
in legal representation. Dash brings up the U.S. Women's National Team in
soccer as a prime example.
"Men's soccer [teams] get top-notch, white-shoe law firms," she says.
"Women's soccer? We had a lawyer on the panel who had represented
them pro bono, even though he's at a really fantastic law firm." She
pointed out other disparities such as pay scale, travel accommodations,
endorsement opportunities, and media coverage. "It's a real disregard for
women's contributions in sports," Dash adds. "I'm not even a sports fan,
but the inequity is really galling to me."
The following month, the WBA presented a panel discussion that took a
closer look at the unfair treatment of incarcerated women. "Although we
also talked about the issues with men and mass incarceration, there are
some real barriers that exist for women in prison," she says, such as limited
opportunities for rehabilitation.
The WBA also organized several events leading up to the centennial
celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Dash and
approximately 10 other WBA members visited Seneca Falls, New York,
the birthplace of the women's suffrage movement in the United
States. "Sitting in Wesleyan Chapel, knowing that we were in the place
where the women's rights movement started, was really powerful,"
Dash says.
There, the group met Coline Jenkins, the great-great granddaughter of
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the movement's leading philosopher. "She's clearly
taken on the mantle of her ancestor," Dash says of Jenkins. "She's a politician
in Connecticut and will be headlining our annual dinner in May 2020."
Dash takes great pride in leading such a storied organization as the
WBA. Founded in 1917 by Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett, two
women pioneers in the legal field, the WBA is one of the oldest and largest



Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
Women of Impact feature
The Race to End Roe feature
Solar Power Access Feature
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
Global & Domestic Outlook
Member Spotlight – Joesphine Wang
Member Spotlight - Fatemah Albader
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Pro Bono Effect
Portraits of Suffrage's Overlooked Heroes
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Women of Impact feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 12
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 18
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - The Race to End Roe feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Solar Power Access Feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Member Spotlight – Joesphine Wang
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Member Spotlight - Fatemah Albader
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 44
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Portraits of Suffrage's Overlooked Heroes
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 52
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2020 - Cover4
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