The National LGBTQ+ Bar Association’s
Nuts & Bolts Academy for Judicial Candidates
The LGBTQ+ Bar’s “Nuts & Bolts Academy for Judicial Candidates” seeks to provide interested legal professionals with the tools they need to end up on the other side of the bench. This intensive workshop welcomes legal professionals from all backgrounds and parts of the country, and particularly encourages attorneys of color, transgender attorneys, and women attorneys to participate. The LGBTQ+ Bar believes diverse perspectives bring diverse experiences to the bench – and diverse experiences lead to better judgments.
Our Judicial Nuts & Bolts Academy offers serious candidates planning to seek a judicial position in the next three years – either through appointment or election – with a foundation in those processes, as well as small-group mentoring from current LGBTQ+ judges with experiences in elections as well as nomination and appointment procedures.
Attendees will have significant small-group time with current judges for conversation about the pathway to the specific jurisdictions identified as being of interest, as well as networking time with other prospective candidates. This year, for the first time, our faculty will include three groundbreaking LGBTQ+ federal judges as well as our esteemed LGBTQ+ state and municipal judges, and will dedicate significant discussion time specifically to the federal nominations process.
The 2021 Judicial Nuts & Bolts Academy will be held in conjunction with the 2021 Lavender Law® Conference & Career Fair on Saturday, July 31 from 1:00pm – 6:00pm Eastern. Only registered Conference attendees are eligible to attend the Academy.
The deadline for applications is July 23, 2021.
2021 Judicial Nuts & Bolts Academy Panel
Judge Rachel Bell
Judge Michael Fitzgerald
Judge Darrin Gayles
Judge Mike Jacobs
Justice Sabrina McKenna
Justice Sabrina Shizue McKenna grew up in Japan and the Philippines. She then received a B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and a J.D. from UHM’s William S. Richardson School of Law (WSRSL). She was then a civil litigator, general counsel to a Japan-based conglomerate, and an assistant professor at WSRSL. In 1993, she was appointed a Hawaiʻi state limited jurisdiction trial judge, and in 1995, a general jurisdiction trial judge. In 2009, she was appointed presiding judge of Oʻahu’s family court. Upon her appointment to the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court in 2011, she became the first openly LGBTQ Asian American to serve on a state court of last resort. Her awards include the ABA’s Stonewall Award and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award.
Judge Michael McShane
Judge Jill Rose Quinn
Judge Tara M. Flanagan
Judge Mike Jacobs
Judge Mike Jacobs has served as a judge on the State Court of DeKalb County since June 2015. He is one of only two openly bisexual or pansexual judges (state or federal, trial or appellate) in the United States. Prior to his judicial service, Judge Jacobs served ten and a half years in the Georgia House of Representatives. He was chairman of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Oversight Committee (MARTOC), the joint House and Senate committee that oversees the management, budget, and fiscal affairs of Metro Atlanta’s transit system. Judge Jacobs also served as chairman of one of the two subcommittees of the House Judiciary Committee. In 2010, he received the Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award from Georgia Equality for passing a stronger anti-bullying law for public schools. Judge Jacobs received his law degree in 2003, magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was the executive articles editor of the Georgia Law Review. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1997 from Georgetown University. Judge Jacobs serves on the boards of directors of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges, Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, Atlanta Bar Association Judicial Section, and Leadership DeKalb. He also serves as the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia’s representative on the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Committee on Access to Justice. In 2019, Judge Jacobs was recognized by the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia at its annual awards gala with the award for Outstanding Service to the Stonewall Community. Judge Jacobs and his wife Evan are the proud parents of three children, Jonah, Eli, and Samantha.
Judge Larnzell Martin Jr.
Justice Sabrina McKenna
Sabrina Shizue McKenna grew up in Japan and the Philippines with Japanese as her first language. She received her B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and her J.D. from the university’s William S. Richardson School of Law (WSRSL). She was then a civil litigator, general counsel to a Japan-based conglomerate, and assistant professor at WSRSL. In 1993, she was appointed a state limited jurisdiction trial judge, and in 1995, a general jurisdiction trial judge. In 2009, she was appointed presiding judge of the Oʻahu family court. Upon her appointment to the Hawaii Supreme Court in 2011, she became the first openly LGBTQ Asian Pacific American justice of a state court of last resort, for which she was awarded the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award. She has received various additional awards.