RENO, Nev. — The chief executive officer of the Chicago-based Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, Sandra S. Yamate, has been elected chair of the Board of Trustees of The National Judicial College, the nation’s oldest and largest institution of judicial education.
Yamate was among four board officers elected for the 2018-19 term at the trustees’ meeting in Reno, Nevada, in July.
The NJC also welcomed three new trustees: Marianne Short, chief legal officer of UnitedHealth Group, the largest single health carrier in the United States; Angelina Tsu, community affairs administrator for Zions Bancorporation of Salt Lake City, Utah, one of the 50 largest U.S. banks; and Hon. Margarita Bernal (Ret.), the first Latina ever to serve on the municipal court bench in Tucson, Arizona.
“I look forward to working with Sandra Yamate as our new chair and am equally excited to welcome a diverse group of new trustees,” said NJC President Benes. Z. Aldana. “It’s gratifying that such outstanding individuals are committed to supporting the College when the need for skilled, dedicated and principled judges has never been greater.”
The new board chair has been a trustee of the College since 2014 and served as chair-elect in 2017. Since 2010 she has been CEO of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, which promotes diversity. Her earlier experience includes serving as director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and as the first executive director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. Prior to her position with the ABA, she was a litigator in Chicago. She was also a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area and of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She earned an A.B. in Political Science and History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
As executive vice president, chief legal officer and member of the Office of the Chief Executive at UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka, Minnesota, she oversees legal, regulatory and compliance matters for the company. UnitedHealth Group is No. 5 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. corporations. Her experience includes having served as a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. From 2000–2012, she was a partner in the trial department of Dorsey & Whitney LLP. From 2007–2012 she was managing partner of the firm with responsibility for more than 600 attorneys in 19 offices worldwide. She has authored more than 900 opinions in both civil and criminal law, and she served as an attorney in the Minnesota attorney general’s office, among other positions. She holds a B.A. from Newton College of the Sacred Heart and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
Formerly vice president and legal counsel, Angelina Tsu recently became community affairs administrator for Zions Bancorporation in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a past president (2015-16) of the Utah State Bar. From 2004–2008 she was an associate with Ray Quinney & Nebeker P.C., where she specialized n creditors’ rights litigation and complex commercial litigation. Before that she served as a clerk to Judge Dee Benson of the United States District Court for the District of Utah. She holds a law degree from the University of Utah College of Law and a bachelor’s in psychology/communications from Brigham Young University. She has been recognized as a member of Utah Business Magazine’s Legal Elite from 2008 to the present, and she made the magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2016.
Margarita B. Bernal
The daughter of Mexican immigrants, a former resident of public housing, and a first-generation American, Margarita Bernal served as a municipal judge for 26 years in Tucson, Arizona. She was the first Latina to hold that position in Tucson, a community 60 miles from the U.S.–Mexico border. From 1989–1999, she served as a chair of the Judicial Intervention Committee of the Southern Arizona Task Force on Domestic Violence. She taught about domestic violence at the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy from 1993–2006 and is a founding member of a countywide task force on domestic violence. Since retiring from the bench in 2011, she has practiced criminal defense litigation in the United States District Court of Arizona and the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She holds a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Arizona.
The Board of Trustees also elected these officers for 2018–19:
Chair-Elect Peter Bennett is president and treasurer of The Bennett Law Firm in Portland, Maine. The firm advises employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He has chaired the 36,000-member Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association and the ABA’s Standing Committee on Judicial Independence.
Treasurer Alan R. Brayton is an attorney in Novato, California, with more than 28 years of experience. He enjoys a national reputation as one of the foremost attorneys representing victims of asbestos–related disease.
Secretary Christopher T. Whitten is a general jurisdiction trial court judge on the Superior Court of Arizona and is presiding tax judge for the state. He is a past chair of the ABA’s National Conference of State Trial Judges.
The 21-member Board of Trustees sets policy and provides leadership in achieving the College’s mission. Members come from diverse fields, including the law and judiciary as well as business and corporate areas.
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Based in Reno, Nevada, and offering courses nationwide, The National Judicial College has been the nation’s leading provider of judicial education for more than half a century, drawing participants from every state and more than 150 countries. The NJC offers more than 200 judicial education programs in person and online in support of its mission: “to make the world a more just place by educating and inspiring its judiciary.”