Western Justice Center Honors Community Leaders at 2019 Justice Awards Gala

Published : Wednesday, September 11, 2019 | 12:05 PM


The Western Justice Center (WJC) is hosting their 2019 Justice Awards Gala at the historic Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, October 3, 2019.


The community is invited to join WJC for an evening of entertainment Emceed by CBS TV star Tanya Acker (Hot Bench), cuisine by Redbird chef Neal Fraser (Top Chef Masters) with sommelier-selected wines, unique auction items and an inspiring awards ceremony.


“The annual Justice Awards recognize exemplary commitment to the pursuit of a more peaceful and just society. We are proud to honor three community leaders this year – Richard Chernick (Champion of Justice), Northern Trust (Advocate of Justice) and Seyfarth Shaw LLP (Defender of Justice),” said WJC Executive Director Elissa Barrett. “Proceeds further WJC’s work to change the way people think about and respond to conflict. We are grateful to our presenting sponsor, JAMS, and others in the legal and business community who make our work possible.”


WJC was founded in 1987 by a group of visionary judges, lawyers and civic leaders led by the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques in our courts, our communities and our schools. WJC uses conflict resolution education and the power of the arts to transform how people approach conflict and resolve their differences.


Last year and this year, WJC’s training and education programs empowered nearly 4,000 students and teachers at nearly 300 Los Angeles County schools to make their schools safer and more inclusive places for all. WJC’s online curriculum at SchoolTools.info was accessed 35,000 times by educators in more than 150 countries worldwide.


“We are thrilled to be co-chairing this year’s Justice Awards. The Western Justice Center’s programs are critical to making our schools and communities more peaceful. When teachers can learn techniques to address underlying bias in their classrooms, safe environments are created for students to learn and thrive. When students can learn how to peacefully resolve conflicts, our schools and communities become safer,” shared Gala Co-Chairs, Jeff Wortman and Cathy Winter-Palmer.


Annually, WJC bestows three awards on exemplary leaders in our community: Champion of Justice, Defender of Justice and Advocate of Justice. Champions are tireless individual advocates of peace as the foundation for a better life and more just society. Defenders are law firms that demonstrate a continuous and distinguished record of supporting alternative dispute resolution, public service, and community involvement. Advocates are corporations or corporate executives who demonstrate a continuous and distinguished record of improving the communities in which they do business by supporting programs that create safer environments for living, learning and thriving.


Richard Chernick, Vice President and Managing Director of JAMS’ Arbitration Practice

Richard Chernick will be honored with the Champion of Justice Award. Mr. Chernick is the Vice President and Managing Director of JAMS’ arbitration practice and has distinguished himself at the highest levels of the legal profession. He has served as chair of the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association; is the founding president of the College of Commercial Arbitrators; serves as the ABA’s advisor to the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act; has authored many leading texts on alternative dispute resolution; and has taught dispute resolution at USC, UCLA and Pepperdine.


“I am honored to receive the Champion of Justice Award from WJC, an organization I admire and have worked with for many years.
Judge Dorothy Nelson has created an organization essential to our society today which serves to address conflict and bias in an increasingly harsh world,” said Richard Chernick.


Richard is a former member of WJC’S board of directors and helped bring the Robert I. Weil Lecture on Arbitration and Mediation to the organization. “Richard has been an avid advocate of our work to advance alternatives to conflict in the courts, our communities and our schools,” said WJC Executive Director Elissa Barrett.


The Advocate of Justice Award will be presented to the wealth management and philanthropic service leader, Northern Trust. Northern Trust serves the world’s most successful individuals, families and institutions through deep expertise, a culture of unwavering values and operational precision. Inspired by their enduring principles, Northern Trust has a long record of philanthropy, community building, inclusion and business leadership.


Charlie Mustachia - Managing Director of Northern Trust's Pasadena Office and Diane Rankin - Vice President and Wealth Strategist, Northern Trust


“Northern Trust has been both a fan and advocate of the Western Justice Center for several years. We have been delighted to be able to support WJC’s mission of initiating engaging dialogue, understanding differences and creating opportunities for learning and growth in the community,” said Diane Rankin, Wealth Strategist for Northern Trust. “Building strong local communities is an important component of our success. From our very beginning in 1889, community involvement has been deeply rooted in Northern Trust’s culture,” added Charlie Mustachia, Managing Director of Northern Trust’s Pasadena office. “WJC shares our passion for creating and nurturing a culture of caring, diversity and inclusion; we are beyond honored to be recognized with their Advocate for Justice Award.”


WJC has a special place in their hearts for Northern Trust because of the phenomenal community leadership of individuals like Charlie Mustachia, Diane Rankin and JP Ramirez. “We are grateful to have their support as avid advocates of our work to advance alternatives to conflict in our communities and our schools,” shared Executive Director, Elissa Barrett.


Seyfarth Shaw earned the Defender of Justice Award for their commitment to playing an active, positive role in the communities in which they work and live. They approach such efforts with the hope of improving individual people’s lives and strengthening our communities as a whole. Seyfarth has been recognized for successes in diversity and inclusion by organizations including California Minority Counsel Program, Working Mother Magazine, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Ability Magazine, Equality Illinois, and the National LGBT Bar Association.


“We are extremely grateful to receive this honor from the Western Justice Center. For years, our attorneys have partnered with the WJC and the California Minority Counsel Program in the shared mission of improving the California communities we call home,” said Kori Carew, chief inclusion & diversity officer at Seyfarth Shaw. “At a critical time in our society, the firm is proud to support our attorneys as they continue to promote and educate leaders to mitigate bias in their environments and cultivate cultures of belonging and equality.”


As a testament to their relentless efforts to achieve justice, Seyfarth continuously remains at the forefront of change through amicus briefs they have authored or supported in defense of protections in areas including sexual identity, marriage equality, education and discrimination.


WJC is particularly proud to honor Seyfarth Shaw because Seyfarth partner and 2019 Justice Awards Gala Co-Chair Jeff Wortman is a member of WJC’s board of directors. “Jeff is a tremendous human being,” said former Seyfarth partner and fellow WJC board member Raymond Kepner. “He brings excellence to everything he does.”


The Western Justice Center invites individuals, corporations and law firms to help fund a future we can all believe in! Purchase gala tickets or become a Justice Awards Sponsor. Sponsorship benefits include VIP seating, cocktail reception, Tribute Journal space and featured recognition on all digital and print media.


For more details on sponsorship packages, tickets, and other ways to give, visit www.westernjustice.org/justiceawards or (626) 584-7494.


About the Western Justice Center


Western Justice Center was founded in 1987 by a group of visionary judges, lawyers and civic leaders led by the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Center was established to create programs that teach students, educators, and community leaders new ways to resolve conflict peacefully by utilizing and integrating Court system-developed alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques.


WJC’s programs are focused on evolving the way people think about and respond to differences and conflicts in order to create more just and equitable communities. They incorporate inter-group relations and the power of live theater to empower students and educators to navigate bias-related conflicts.


For more information, visit https://www.westernjustice.org.







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