Be A Trailblazer! Education Program and Retreat for Women Trial Lawyers | The American Association For Justice

Be A Trailblazer! Education Program and Retreat for Women Trial Lawyers

November 4, 2019 to November 6, 2019
Program Information:

Boulders Resort & Spa | Scottsdale, AZ

Sponsored by Lisa Blue and Williams Hart
Co-presented with AAJ’s Women Trial Lawyers Caucus

About the Program:

You conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges every day. You knock down barriers for yourself, your practice, and your clients. You get the job done. Join other trailblazing women at our unique desert setting to reinvigorate yourself and inspire your practice. Be a part of this intimate networking opportunity and engage in top AAJ continuing legal education with sessions on leadership, communication, marketing, and achieving work-life balance.

Registration Fees:

AAJ Members: $1,295

If you are an AAJ member and have been admitted to the bar for five years or less, you can attend this seminar for 50% off. (Does not apply if you have previously attended an AAJ Education seminar or college). This discount is not available online, please call 800-622-1791 for more information.

Contact AAJ Education: 800-622-1791 | 202-965-3500, ext. 8612 |​​

Due to technical difficulties, our online registration has been temporarily suspended.  Please call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 8612 to register over the phone.  Calls will be answered during AAJ Education's business hours, Monday-Friday from 9:00AM-5:30PM.  Please leave a voicemail or email if you want to register outside of business hours.  Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience.


Monday, November 4

Theme: Leadership Skills in Your Practice and in Your Community

Registration and Networking Breakfast
7:30 - 8:30am

Morning Session
8:30 - 11:45am
• Diversity at Play
• Panel: Women as Owners of Their Own Firms - Making the Leap to Becoming a Leader
• Golden Rule: Doing Good for Your Community Is Good for Your Business

Lunch Presentation
11:45am - 1:00pm
• Leading with Intention and Challenging Yourself

Afternoon Session
1:00 - 3:00pm
• What's Unique About Women? Developing and Honing Our Presentation Skills

Choose Your Own Adventure*
3:00 - 6:00pm

Networking Reception
6:30 - 7:30pm

*AAJ Staff will work with course advisors and sponsors to select two activities each afternoon. Faculty and attendees will choose which of these teambuilding activities they’d like to participate in that day. Afternoon activities can also be planned and organized spontaneously at other times—over lunch, during the reception, etc. The afternoon activities could be a group bike ride, hike, trip to the spa, round of golf, yoga, wine tasting, museum tour, etc.

Tuesday, November 5

Theme: Develop and Hone Your Communication and Marketing Skills

Networking Breakfast
8:00 - 8:45am

Morning Session
8:45am - 12:45pm
• Advanced Analytics & Advertising
• Spicing Up Your Marketing Plan
• From Voir Dire to Closing: The Female Trial Lawyer Perspective
• Negotiation and Settlement Strategies for Women: Maximizing Damages for Your Client

Lunch Break
12:45 - 1:45pm

Afternoon Session
1:45 - 3:00pm
•  Avoiding and Spotting Discrimination and Harassment: Yourself, Clients, Colleagues, and Superiors (Interactive)

Choose Your Own Adventure*
3:30 - 6:00pm

Networking Reception
6:30 - 7:30pm

*AAJ Staff will work with course advisors and sponsors to select two activities each afternoon. Faculty and attendees will choose which of these teambuilding activities they’d like to participate in that day. Afternoon activities can also be planned and organized spontaneously at other times—over lunch, during the reception, etc. The afternoon activities could be a group bike ride, hike, trip to the spa, round of golf, yoga, wine tasting, museum tour, etc.

Wednesday, November 6

Theme: Finding Balance in Your Practice and Your Life

Networking Breakfast
8:00 - 8:45am

Morning Session
8:45 - 11:30am
• Case Selection: Staying Sane and Maximizing Results
• Managing to Change the World: Aligning Time and Priorities, Delegation, and Check-Ins

Invited Faculty:

Lauren Barnes

Lauren Barnes is a partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, where she focuses on antitrust, consumer protection and RICO litigation against drug and medical device manufacturers, in complex class actions and personal injury cases for consumers, large and small health plans, direct purchasers and state governments. She served as co-lead class counsel for direct purchasers in In re Niaspan Antitrust Litigation and co-lead class counsel in the Suboxone and Solodyn MDLs. She has also served as pro bono counsel in a constitutional challenge to Massachusetts’ exclusion of legal immigrants from the state’s universal healthcare program. She has received the National Law Journal Boston Rising Star Award, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys President’s Award, the Massachusetts Bar Association Up & Coming Lawyer Award, AAJ’s New Lawyers Division Excellence Award, New Lawyers Division Above and Beyond Award, and Wiedemann & Wysocki Award. She is a member of AAJ’s Board of Governors and Executive Committee, a former chair of the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, former co-chair of the Class Action Litigation Group, member of the Board of Governors of the New Lawyers Division, and member of the Trial Lawyers Care Task Force. She also serves on the Board of Governors of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and is a past co-chair of the Class Action Committee of the Boston Bar Association. Ms. Barnes practices out of Hagen Berman Sobol Shapiro’s, an AAJ Leaders Forum firm, office in Boston, Massachusetts.

Karen Beyea-Schroeder

Karen Beyea-Schroeder has about two decades of diverse experience in the practice of law and has always focused her career on helping those in need.  Karen’s practice focuses on mass torts, including pharmaceutical, medical device, and toxic torts. Karen has represented thousands of clients in pharmaceutical cases nationwide, such as Trasylol, Hip Implants, Knee Implants, Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Levaquin, Avelox, and Cipro. She has also represented hundreds of former NFL players in the NFL concussion litigation.  Karen currently fights for our clients suffering from dangerous drugs and devices such as hernia mesh, transvaginal mesh (TVM), IVC Filters, Zofran and Essure.  Similarly, Karen is working with victims exposed to Roundup and hundreds of clients harmed by GM’s ignition switch recalled vehicles. Karen is a member of the American Association for Justice, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Houston Bar Association, and Women En Mass.

Elizabeth J. Cabraser

Elizabeth J. Cabraser is a founding partner of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. Ms. Cabraser possesses unparalleled expertise in complex civil litigation and has served as a court-appointed lead or class counsel in over 80 federal multi-district and state coordinated proceedings. She has been repeatedly recognized as one of the foremost litigators in our nation, including being selected multiple times as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal, which has called her “a pillar of the plaintiffs’ bar”. In March 2018, Ms. Cabraser was inducted into the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, and in May 2018 she was named a “Titan of the Plaintiff’s Bar” by Law360. Ms. Cabraser has written and spoken extensively on substantive legal issues as well as ones related to the advancement of women in the profession, including last year for AAJ Trial magazine. She lectures on class action and complex litigation at Berkeley and Columbia Law Schools and has written extensively on these issues. Ms. Cabraser is an AAJ PAC Eagle donor. Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, an AAJ Leaders Forum member, has offices in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, and Seattle, and Ms. Cabraser is based out of the San Francisco office.

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks is a Super Lawyer, Rising Star, and the founding and managing partner at GDH LAW Firm. She prides herself in providing excellent legal counsel, knowledge, energy, and vigor to fight for her clients. Selected to Super Lawyers, Rising Star, only 2.5% of attorneys are selected and awarded as a Super Lawyer and Rising Star. Gwen has also been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association by Top 40 Under 40. She also serves on the Board of Governors for the Maryland Association of Justice and volunteers regularly to assist the community in legal forums and events. GDH Law Firm has offices in Lanham and Rockville, Maryland.

Brandi Gatewood, course advisor

Brandi Gatewood licensed to practice law in Mississippi and has been admitted to practice before all Mississippi State Courts, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America. As an active member of the American Association for Justice, Ms. Gatewood is member of the AAJ Board of Governors, Chair-Elect of the Women Trial Lawyers’ Caucus, Co-Chair of the New Lawyers’ Division Law School Committee, member of the AAJ Law School Committee, member of the AAJ Diversity Committee, and a graduate of the AAJ Leadership Academy. Ms. Gatewood is a recipient of the 2015-2017 New Lawyers’ Division Excellence Awards for her steadfast dedication to AAJ and the New Lawyers’ Division. She also received an NLD Praetorian Award and the 2018 Excellence in Leadership Award for the Women Trial Lawyers' Caucus. Ms. Gatewood is also a very active member of the Mississippi Association for Justice (MAJ), much like AAJ, is an organization comprised of attorneys dedicated to fighting for an injured person’s right to seek justice through the courts of Mississippi. Ms. Gatewood is a member of the Executive Committee for the Mississippi Association for Justice, the Co-Chair of the Amicus Committee for 2018-19, is a past Chair of the MAJ Women’s Caucus and New Lawyers’ Division, and has served for many years on the MAJ Board of Governors. Ms. Gatewood was named the MAJ New Lawyer of the Year for 2015-2016, she received the 2016-2017 Margaret P. Ellis Legacy of Leadership Award, she received the 2014-2015 Woman of Achievement Award, she was recognized as a 2013 MAJ Rising Star and was twice awarded the Beyond the Call Award for 2013 and 2012. Ms. Gatewood is a current member of the Mississippi Women Lawyer’ Association (MWLA) and is a Past President of MWLA, and is a past member of the MWLA Board of Directors. Ms. Gatewood was named as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2018 and 2017.  She was also named as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2017. LoCoco, LoCoco & Gatewood, PLLC, is located in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Jennifer Greene

Jennifer Greene has a practice that focuses on family law, personal injury, multi-district litigation, wrongful death, catastrophic injury, premises liability, and trucking litigation. She has spent her career fighting for people who were harmed by defective products and prides herself on getting to know her clients while helping them navigate the litigation process. She is a member of AAJ and received the 2017 Trial Lawyers Care Trial Lawyer of the Year Award and is committed to serving her local community and volunteering. She graduated with a J.D. from Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law and, for completing over 100 volunteer hours each year she was in law school, was award the Dean’s Certificate of Service. Scott, Vicknair, Hair & Checki, LLC, is located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Katherine James

Katherine James is a trial consultant who specializes in live communication skills based in the discipline of theatre, Katherine James has been working to make attorneys and witnesses better courtroom communicators since 1977.  Over 40,000 attorneys have taken ACT of Communication workshops she developed with co-founder Alan Blumenfeld.  She has worked on over 2,000 cases and helped prepare thousands of witnesses. She has taught for numerous AAJ colleges including The Ultimate (founding faculty member), Deposition College, Nursing Home Litigation Group, among others as well as many private law firms, TLAs and bar associations. Attorneys across the nation have purchased her Online/DVD series “What Can Lawyers Learn From Actors” and “How To Make Your Witness A STAR” encapsulating her unique witness preparation system. She has been widely published and her articles can be read in the Knowledge Tank on the ACT of Communication website.  She and Alan Blumenfeld are proud members of The American Society of Trial Consultants. An active theatre artist who performs and directs regularly, she holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MFA from The American Conservatory Theater.

Sarah Jaycox Hartong

Sarah Jaycox Hartong is the Founder and CEO of Leveled, a consultancy focused on supporting and building better leaders. She is a communication expert with a passion for collecting, encouraging, honing, telling and articulating stories, particularly those of women and the under-represented, and those that exist to drive change in today’s workplace. As an advisor, coach, and communication expert for nearly two decades, she trains and counsels leaders – from Fortune 50 C-Suite executives to early stage startup visionaries – with the aim of putting the ‘human’ in today’s leadership. Most recently, her focus has been on next-gen and female/non-binary executives, facilitating top-talent female/non-binary retreats, and working with leadership teams to take real action on balancing gender and driving inclusion in the workplace. She previously opened and managed the New York office for SNP Communications, serving on their executive team; prior to, she was a Management Consultant at Webb Management Services. She holds an MA from the School of Communications at Northwestern University, and B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Colgate University.

Kristina Kastl, course advisor

Kristina Kastl helps those with personal injury claims in Texas. For years, Kastl Law has been the lifeline that victimized parties needed to recover maximum compensation for their injuries. Ms. Kastl has many years of courtroom experience as a Dallas trial attorney and has covered a wide variety of cases, including catastrophic motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle wrecks, truck wrecks, premises liability, wrongful death, and products liability. Ms. Kastl is a member of AAJ, American Bar Association, Dallas Bar Association, Dallas Trial Lawyers, and has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer from 2009-2011. Ms. Kastl has served on the Board of Directors since 2007 for the Dallas Trial Lawyers. Kastl Law, PC, is located in Dallas, Texas.

Kathleen Nastri

Kathleen L. Nastri concentrates her practice in medical malpractice, personal injury, and other complex cases. She is a past president of both the Connecticut Trial Lawyers' Association (CTLA) and American Association for Justice. Ms. Nastri serves on AAJ’s Board of Governors and PAC Board of Trustees, is a member of the Professional Negligence Section, and donates to AAJ PAC. Before joining Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, PC, she had been head of the Plaintiff's Personal Injury Practice Group at a Waterbury-based law firm, where she began assisting clients in 1986. She is admitted to practice at the U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as Connecticut state courts. Ms. Nastri is a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, PC, an AAJ Leaders Forum Member, is located in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Jessica Pride

Jessica Pride is a partner at The Pride Law Firm. She has dedicated her entire legal career to the representation of victims of catastrophic injuries, wrongful death and sexual assault. Ms. Pride is a member of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) Board of Governors, Marketing & Practice Development Committee, and is a past-chair of the New Lawyers Division. Ms. Pride is also a co-chair of the new Sexual Assault Litigation Group. The Pride Law Firm is located in San Diego, California.

Shayla M. Reed

Shayla M. Reed concentrates her practice in personal injury and nursing home litigation. Ms. Reed is a member of AAJ, the American Bar Association, the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys, the Nebraska State Bar Association, and the Omaha Bar Association. She has received the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA) Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Art and Science of Advocacy. Ms. Reed has been ranked as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the American Trial Lawyers Association, has received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for Distinguished Achievement in Art & Science of Trial Advocacy, is a lifetime fellow of the Nebraska State Bar Association, and is a fellow of the National Pound Civil Justice Institute. She is an AAJ PAC Falcon donor. Reed Law Offices, PC, LLO, is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Elise Sanguinetti, course advisor

Elise Sanguinetti is a founding partner at Arias Sanguinetti Stahle & Torrijos LLP with offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Montreal. Ms. Sanguinetti’s focus of expertise is serious injury, wrongful death cases, civil appeals and, legal malpractice. She exclusively represents plaintiffs in civil litigation and holds an “AV” rating with Martindale-Hubbell and has been named a California Super Lawyer every year since becoming eligible. The last two years she was named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in the Bay Area. Ms. Sanguinetti is the President of AAJ, was the president of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) from 2015 to 2016, and a past president of the Alameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association. Ms. Sanguinetti is president of AAJ’s Retirement Plans Oversight Committee and Audit Committee. She generously donates to AAJ PAC. Arias Sanguinetti Stahle & Torrijos LLP is an AAJ Leaders Forum member and Ms. Sanguinetti is based out of their Oakland, California office.

Kimberly White

Kimberly White empowers attorneys to communicate with passion and clarity. She brings to her work a unique blend of dynamic, cutting edge techniques she has translated from 25+ years in the professional theater. Ms. White is one of 200 teachers world-wide trained and certified by Master Teacher Kristin Linklater in her premiere voice method, Freeing the Natural Voice.  She is an adjunct faculty member at the Seattle University School of Law where she teaches oral advocacy skills and leads CLE sessions. Ms. White has presented at the WSAJ, CAALA, SF Women’s Advocacy Project, SPD Training Academy, World Global Fellows, and at the American Society of Trial Consultants. With Seattle attorney, Mary Ruth Mann, Ms. White created and leads a 2- day training, “Compelling Voice, Compelling Story” throughout the Northwest and California. Ms. White's experience in the theater includes Text/Voice Director for Seattle Shakespeare Company where she coached over 24 productions, January Intensive faculty member and main stage coach at Shakespeare & Company (Lenox, Mass.), voice/dialect coach for the Canadian television series “The Transporter: Diva”. Acting roles include Juliet, Elizabeth & Margaret (Richard III), Olivia in 12th Night, Kate (Taming of the Shrew) and Celia (As You Like It). She holds a BFA from California Institute of the Arts. Ms. White is an Act of Communication Associate where she trained with Katherine James in witness consulting. She lives in Seattle and consults with attorneys on cases in preparation of witnesses and openings & closings.

Robyn L. Wishart

Robyn L. Wishart has appeared as counsel before the Provincial and Supreme Court of British Columbia and several administrative tribunals. While she has experience in a wide range of cases, including complex personal injury and insurance litigation, she concentrates her practice in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury litigation. She is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Bar Association. Ms. Wishart is a member of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) Jury Bias and Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Groups; the Insurance Law Section; and the Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway, and Premises Liability Section. Ms. Wishart serves on AAJ’s National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees and has taught trial advocacy skills at several AAJ NCA continuing legal education programs. Ms. Wishart’s undergraduate studies were focused on sports psychology and she continues to study and teach neuroscience and its application to law and decision-making. Ms. Wishart is the founder of Wishart Brain and Spine Law BC, a Leaders Forum firm, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Laura V. Yaeger

Laura V. Yaeger focuses her practice on mass torts litigation, health law, products liability, toxic torts and breach of contract actions. Ms. Yaeger is a former chair of AAJ’s LGBT Caucus; past Secretary of the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus (WTLC); and is Governor-at-Large for the Board of Governors. She is a member of AAJ’s Law Schools Committee, Membership Oversight Committee; Section on Toxic, Environmental, and Pharmaceutical Torts (STEP); Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway, and Premises Liability Section; Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Group; Risperdal Litigation Group; and Medtronic INFUSE Litigation Group. Ms. Yaeger generously donates to AAJ PAC. Ms. Yaeger works at Yaeger Law, PLLC in Tierra Verde, Florida. 


AAJ has a limited number of rooms available at the Boulders Resort & Spa at a special group rate of $339 per night for single or double occupancy, plus any applicable taxes and fees. To reserve a room, please copy-paste this URL into your browser:,WW,HILTONLINK,EN,DirectLink&fromId=HILTONLINKDIRECT

For cancellations or alterations to existing reservations, contact the hotel directly. AAJ is not responsible for cancellation or early departure fees.

Boulders Resort & Spa
34631 N. Tom Darlington Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
Phone: (480) 488-9009

Who should attend:

This seminar is open to AAJ Members (Regular, Life, Sustaining, President’s Club, and Leaders Forum). 

Program Location:

Boulders Resort & Spa
34631 N Tom Darlington Dr. 
Scottsdale, AZ 85262


Call us. We'll provide you with names and phone numbers of previous attendees of AAJ Education programs who will be pleased to answer your questions. Or, if you prefer to speak with a course advisor or faculty member, we will arrange that as well. Call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, extension 8612.

MCLE/NCA Requirements:

AAJ has filed for MCLE credit in the appropriate jurisdictions.  Registered participants can receive CLE* credits depending on the jurisdiction and will be applied to your participation in AAJ’s professional recognition program. AAJ Education programs are routinely accredited by states requiring continuing legal education. Available CLE/MCLE credits are contingent upon approval from state bars and/or MCLE boards and may vary by jurisdiction. CLE questions may be addressed by calling the CLE Assistant at 800-424-2725, ext. 8612 or 202-965-3500, ext. 8612.​

To learn more about AAJ's Masters of Trial Law professional recognition program call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 8612, or CLICK HERE. The Masters of Trial Law program recognizes Fellow, Diplomate, and Champion status for AAJ members. To gain MTL credits, submit a certificate of attendance for every seminar, college, and convention you attend.

* Number of credits may vary depending on calculation method used by individual state accreditation agencies. AAJ is a State Bar of California MCLE-approved provider.

Special Assistance:

AAJ Education will make every effort to ensure that its meetings are held in facilities that are fully accessible to persons with mobility disabilities. If you plan to attend our program and need special facilities or assistance relating to a disability, please call 800-622-1791 or 202-965-3500, ext. 8612. 

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations received in writing on or before October 27, 2019 will result in a refund less a 10% administrative charge. Cancellations received in writing October 28 - November 1, 2019 will result in a voucher for the entire registration fee, which may be applied toward any AAJ Education college, seminar, or webinar held within one calendar year of the date of issue. Requests for refunds or vouchers received 48 hours of the program will not be honored. AAJ is not responsible for any room cancellation fees or other travel fees which result from your cancellation. Cancellation requests must be made in writing. Fax or email your cancellation letter to the registrar at 202-625-7084 or

Contribute to the AAJ Education Fund:

Please consider a donation to the AAJ Education Fund 501(c)(3). Contributions support educational programs and activities to preserve and protect the civil justice system. Learn more>>

Terms and Conditions:

The American Association for Justice reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, refuse entrance to the event and/or remove any individual from the event whose behavior is disruptive and/or is not consistent with the character and purpose of the event. All American Association for Justice badges are the property of the American Association for Justice and must be returned upon request.

By registering for this AAJ Education program, you agree to receive electronic, written, and telephonic communication from AAJ staff regarding the program and to have your name, firm, city, and state included on the participant and exhibitor/sponsor roster.  AAJ may also need to contact you to service your membership record or to provide you with information about your membership, products and services, and advocacy and legislative updates.  By providing your contact information, including phone number, fax number, and email address, you consent and give permission for AAJ to contact you by any of those means, which may include calls to your mobile phone, faxes, or emails. You may contact AAJ at any time to change your preferences.

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