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
Platinum Level Program Sponsors: Counsel Financial and Milestone Consulting
Program Sponsors: Robson Forensic and A Case for Women
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 and nonmember plaintiff attorneys: $1,295

Registration for this program has closed. 

Not a member of the AAJ? Register for Trailblazers and receieve a year of AAJ membership as part of your registration. Contact AAJ Education at 800-622-1791 for more details. 

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


Sunday, November 3

Networking Reception
6:30 - 7:30pm

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 - 2:30pm
• Avoiding and Spotting Discrimination and Harassment: Yourself, Clients, Colleagues, and Superiors

Choose Your Own Adventure*
3:00 - 7:00pm

Dine Around Networking Dinner**
8:00 - 10:00pm

*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.
**AAJ Staff will make three 20-person dinner reservations at different restaurants around Scottsdale. Attendees can sign up for the dinner they would like to attend. All reservations will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis. Attendees will be responsible for the cost of the dinner.

Tuesday, November 5

Theme: Develop and Hone Your Communication and Marketing Skills

Networking Breakfast
8:00 - 8:45am

Morning Session
8:45am - 12:30pm
• 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
12:30 - 1:30pm

Afternoon Session
1:30 - 3:00pm
•  What’s Unique About Women? Developing and Honing Our Presentation Skills (Interactive)

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

*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 Guth Barnes

Lauren Guth Barnes is a partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP where she focuses on antitrust, consumer protection and RICO litigation against drug and medical device manufacturers, 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 co-authored an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Pliva v. Mensing on this issue on behalf of practitioners and professors who teach and write on various aspects of pharmaceutical regulation and the delivery of healthcare. She is a member of AAJ’s Board of Governors and Executive Committee, a former chair of the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, former cochair Class Action Litigation Group, 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 cochair of the Class Action Committee of the Boston Bar Association. Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP, an AAJ Leaders Forum firm, is located in Seattle, Washington.

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. Her practice focuses on mass torts, including pharmaceutical, medical devices, and toxic torts. Ms. Beyea-Schroeder 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. She currently fights for clients suffering from dangerous drugs and devices such as hernia mesh, transvaginal mesh, IVC filters, Zofran, Essure, victims exposed to Roundup, and hundreds of victims harmed by GM’s ignition switch recalled vehicles. Ms. Beyea-Schroeder is also very involved in representing soldiers and veterans harmed by 3M’s dual sided combat earplugs. She is a member of AAJ, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Houston Bar Association, and Women En Mass. Ms. Beyea-Schroeder donates to PAC and the Evergreen Fund. Schroeder Law Office is located in The Woodlands, Texas.

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks

Gwen-Marie Davis is the founding and managing partner at GDH Law in Lanham, MD. She has successfully been managing the firm since 2013. The firm has 3 attorneys and 9 employees total including support staff. Gwen-Marie concentrates in injuries caused by vehicle collision and personal injury claims. She was admitted to the Maryland bar in 2006 and is barred in all Maryland courts, and the District of Columbia. Gwen-Marie is very active with her state trial lawyer association, the Maryland Association for Justice. She currently is the Parliamentarian for the MAJ and is Chair of the Sponsorship Committee.  She is also very active with the American Association for Justice. She was selected for the highly competitive Leadership Academy Class 07 for the AAJ. She serves as the Co-Chair for the Women’s Trial Lawyer Caucus for Membership Outreach. She also has been a writer for both the AAJ Trial Magazine, and the MAJ Trial Reporter. 

Brandi Gatewood, course advisor

Brandi Gatewood is an active member of AAJ, serving as the chair of the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, chair of the Convention Planning Committee, is a member of the Membership Oversight Committee, and a graduate of the AAJ Leadership Academy. She was the recipient of the 2015-2017 New Lawyers Division (NLD) Excellence Award for her steadfast dedication to AAJ and the NLD. She is also an active member of the Mississippi Association for Justice (MAJ) and is a member of its Executive Committee, a past chair of MAJ’s Women’s Caucus and New Lawyers Division. She was named MAJ “New Lawyer of the Year” for 2015-2016, she received the 2016-2017 Margaret P. Ellis Legacy of Leadership Award, the 2014-2015 Women of Achievement Award, and was recognized as a 2013 MAJ Rising Star wile twice being award the Beyond the Call Award in 2012 and 2013. She was named a “Super Lawyers Rising Star” in 2017 and 2018 and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. LoCoco, LoCoco & Gatewood, PLLC is located in D’Iberville, Mississippi.

Katherine James

Katherine James is a trial consultant who specializes in live communication skills based in the discipline of theatre and she has worked to make attorneys and witnesses better courtroom communicators since 1977. Over 40,000 attorneys have taken ACT of Communication workshops that 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), Depositions 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 also developed “GoodLawyer/BadLawyer Hats” for attorneys to use in witness preparation. 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 B.F.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. from The American Conservatory Theater. ACT of Communication is located in Culver City, California.

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 communications 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 communications 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 that, she was a management consultant at Webb Management Services. She holds an M.A. from the School of Communications at Northwestern University, and B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Colgate University.

Kristina "Krisi" N. Kastl, course advisor

Kristina “Krisi” N. Kastl 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. She is a member of AAJ, the American Bar Association, Dallas Bar Association, and Dallas Trial Lawyers. She has served on the Board of Directors since 2007 for the Dallas Trial Lawyers. She has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer from 2009-2011. Kastl Law, PC, is located in Dallas, TX.

Kathleen Nastri

Kathleen L. Nastri concentrates her practice in medical malpractice, personal injury, and other complex cases. She is a past president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers' Association and a past president of AAJ. Ms. Nastri serves on AAJ’s Board of Governors and is vice chair of the PAC Board of Trustees, is a member of the Professional Negligence Section, and donates to AAJ PAC. Before joining Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, 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 in the District of Connecticut, 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 firm, has offices in Bridgeport, New Haven, and Danbury, Connecticut.

Nalini Prasad

Nalini Prasad has worked alongside Seth Price, managing partner of Price Benowitz, LLP and founder of BluShark Digital, to create a digital marketing agency focused on helping small law firms build their businesses and stand out online. She frequently speaks to legal audiences across the country on the intersection of utilizing best practices of trending search engine optimization techniques and generating quality leads online. She also shares tips on creative ways to leverage traditional offline marketing efforts to increase a firm's online presence. As Chief Strategy Officer at BluShark Digital, she designs and implements cutting-edge strategies that build brands and works to increase quality leads online for clients through four fundamental aspects of digital marketing—content creation, link-building, technical search engine optimization, and local search engine optimization. BluShark Digital is located in Washington, DC.

Jessica Pride

Jessica Pride is managing partner of The Pride Law Firm, San Diego's premier personal injury and employment law firm serving survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment across the U.S. Ms. Pride and her team have helped deliver justice for hundreds of deserving men, women and children over the last decade.  Not only is Ms. Pride fighting to end sexual violence in court, she is also doing her part in the community.  Ms. Pride is a member of AAJ’s Board of Governors, Voter Protection Committee, Litigation Leaders Council, and Past Chair of the New Lawyers Division.  She also cochairs the Sexual Assault Litigation Group.  Ms. Pride currently serves at the President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Community Solutions, San Diego’s only domestic violence and rape crisis center.  However, he biggest accomplishment is the number of lives she has been able to change.  “I am going to keep helping survivors of sexual assault get justice till I no longer have a job.”

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 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, a fellow of the National Pound Civil Justice Institute, and a member of AAJ’s National College of Advocacy Board of Trustees. She is an AAJ PAC Falcon donor. Reed Law Offices, PC, LLO is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Elise Sanguinetti, course advisor

Elise R. Sanguinetti is a founding partner at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP and focuses her practice on 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 immediate past president of AAJ, was the president of the Consumer Attorneys of California from 2015 to 2016, and a past president of the Alameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association. Ms. Sanguinetti is a member of AAJ’s National Officers and Executive Committee and is on the PAC Board of Trustees. Arias Sanguinetti Wang Torrijos, LLP, an AAJ Leaders Forum firm, has offices in Los Angeles, Emeryville, Las Vegas, and Montreal.

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 worldwide 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 Washington State Association for Justice, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, San Francisco Women’s Advocacy Project, Seattle Public Defenders Training Academy, World Global Fellows, and the American Society of Trial Consultants. With Seattle attorney, Mary Ruth Mann, Ms. White created and leads a two-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, Massachusetts), voice/dialect coach for the Canadian television series “The Transporter: Diva”. Acting roles include Juliet, Elizabeth & Margaret (Richard III), Olivia (Twelfth Night), Kate (Taming of the Shrew) and Celia (As You Like It). She holds a B.F.A. 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, openings, and 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 AAJ’s 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, an AAJ Leaders Forum firm, in Vancouver, British Columbia.


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 CLICK HERE or call (480) 488-9009.  The cut-off date for reservations is Saturday, October 5, 2019.

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


Thank you to our Platinum Level program sponsors:


Thank you to our program sponsors:


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 and your guests also agree to be included in AAJ’s social networking campaign and to have your image photographed and published in AAJ’s membership publications and website. 

You may contact AAJ at any time to change your preferences.

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