Miami trial attorney and former Florida Bar President Edward Blumberg has been elected chair of the 21-person Board of Trustees of The National Judicial College, the oldest, largest and most widely attended school for judges in the United States.
The College also welcomed three new board members, including the immediate past chief justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
The mission of the National Judicial College is to make the world a more just place by educating and inspiring its judiciary. In the preceding 12 months, The National Judicial College has organized educational programs attended by more than 10,000 judges from all 50 states, as well as other countries, including Ukraine.
Although headquartered at the University of Nevada, Reno, the College puts on judicial educational and training programs at multiple locations throughout the United States and attracts judges worldwide to its online programming.
First elected to the NJC Board of Trustees in 2016, Mr. Blumberg is a partner and founder at the Deutsch, Blumberg & Caballero law firm with a Florida statewide practice in medical malpractice, products liability, and catastrophic personal injury cases.
“I’m honored to lead the governing board of this unique organization at a time when the judiciary really represents democracy’s last line of defense,” Blumberg said. “There’s never been a time in the history of the United States when it was more important to have an independent and impartial judiciary.”
NJC President Benes Aldana said he looks forward to working with Mr. Blumberg during a landmark year for the College. Founded by a committee headed by Supreme Court of the United States Justice Tom C. Clark, The National Judicial College is marking its 60th anniversary this year with special judicial educational programs throughout the United States. A Miami event will take place on April 27.
The newly elected trustees:
Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye is the new president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. In January 2011, after a statewide election, she was sworn in as the 28th Chief Justice of California, becoming the first person of color and the second female to hold that position. She retired from this position at the end of December 2022. Prior to her tenure on the Supreme Court, she served more than 20 years on California trial and appellate courts, including six years on the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, in Sacramento. As Chief Justice of California she also chaired the Judicial Council of California, the administrative policy and rule-making body of the California Judiciary, and the Commission on Judicial Appointments. California’s court system is the largest in the nation and serves a population of more than 39.5 million people — about 12 percent of the total U.S. population.
Eileen M. Letts is a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm Zuber Lawler. Having completed dozens of jury trials and more than 100 bench trials, often involving Fortune 500 companies and government entities, Mrs. Letts is considered a premier civil trial attorney. She has won high-stakes trials in a wide variety of subject matters areas, including product liability, complex tort, and commercial disputes.
Filipino-born lawyer Loida Nicolas Lewis is chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, a family investment firm. Admitted to practice in both the Philippines and New York, she was the first Filipino woman to pass the New York bar without attending law school in the United States. She co-authored “How to Get A Green Card,” now in its 12th edition and a bestseller in its genre. Mrs. Lewis served as chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice International, a $2 billion multinational food company, from 1994-2000. She assumed its leadership after the death of her husband, Wall Street financier and dealmaker Reginald F. Lewis who, in 1987, engineered a leveraged buyout for $985 million of Beatrice International Food, thus becoming the first African American to create a billion-dollar company.
The other newly elected officers of the Board of Trustees:
Chair-Elect Margarita Bernal served as a municipal court judge for 26 years in Tucson, Arizona. Before that, in her legal practice she specialized in criminal and public access litigation and immigration law. A child of immigrants from Mexico, she is a first-generation American and was a legal aid honor student and prestigious Reginald Heber Smith Fellow. She was the first Latina faculty member of the NJC and taught for 25 years in Reno. She has served as the chair of the Specialized Courts Conference of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association, the first Latina to do so. She also served on the Judicial Council of the Arizona Supreme Court and was a judicial educator with the Arizona Supreme Court from 1989 to 2011. She continues to practice law as a criminal defense attorney and member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel of the federal court bar of Arizona. She received her undergraduate degree and juris doctorate from the University of Arizona.
Treasurer Norma Barnes-Euresti has served as vice president and chief counsel for labor-employment, ethics and compliance at the Kellogg Company since 2007. Prior to her work at Kellogg, she served as an administrative law judge for the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
Secretary Angelina Tsu is a former vice president for community development, community affairs and diverse markets for Zions Bank in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a past president (2015-16) of the Utah State Bar and practiced with Ray Quinney & Nebeker P.C. of Salt Lake City, Utah. Currently, she is an entrepreneur with multiple businesses and is involved in a broad spectrum of philanthropic endeavors.
In addition to serving as past president of the Florida Bar, the country’s third-largest bar, Mr. Blumberg is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar and the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. He has chaired and served on countless professional committees and groups and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern and the Middle Districts of Florida, U.S. Court of Appeals (11th Circuit and 5th Circuit), and the Supreme Court of the United States.
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Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, The National Judicial College remains the only educational institution in the United States that teaches courtroom skills to judges of all types from all over the country, Indian Country and abroad. The categories of judges served by this nonprofit, nonpartisan institution, based at the University of Nevada, Reno, since 1964, decide more than 95 percent of cases in the United States.