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What to do about tokenism and financial inequity?

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Contributors

  • Hon. Sheila Woods-Skipper

    The Honorable Sheila Woods-Skipper currently serves as the Administrative Judge of the Orphans’ Court Division of the Common Pleas Philadelphia County. She successfully served as President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas Philadelphia County, a position to which she was unanimously elected by her colleagues in November 2013 for a 5 year term that ended in November, 2018. Judge Woods-Skipper was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in January 2016, as Chair of the Administrative Governing Board of the Court of Common Pleas and served until her term ended in November 2018. In May 2020, she was selected and appointed to serve on the Supreme Court Jury Trial Working Group tasked with developing a plan and recommendations for ensuring confidence and safety for jurors as they return post Covid-19.

    Prior to her election as President Judge, she served as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Trial Division where she was instrumental in creating and implementing innovative programs in the Criminal Division that have fostered public safety, reduced prison population and increased efficiency in the processing of criminal cases, including her assistance in the creation of the First Judicial District Mental Health Court over which she presided until December 2018. In 2014, Judge Woods-Skipper was appointed by the Supreme Court to the Advisory Council on Elder Justice where she chairs the Elder Abuse and Neglect Committee. In response to a recommendation of the Elder Task Force of the Supreme Court, Judge Woods-Skipper opened an Elder Justice Resource Center in October 2016 to provide direct services to seniors, and education to the public regarding issues impacting seniors in the justice system.

    Judge Woods-Skipper participates in numerous professional and community activities including:

    • Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing (past chair)
    • Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges (Zone Representative)
    • Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates
    • American Judges Association (past board member)
    • National Association of Women Judges (past regional director), Clifford Scott Green Chapter
    • National Bar Association Judicial Council
    • Philadelphia Bar Association (past chair)
    • National Bar Association Women Lawyer’s Division
    • Barristers Association
    • Forum of Executive Women (board member, board secretary, co-chair Forum Ally Partnership with Girls Inc., subcommittee chair and member of Diversity and Inclusion Committee)
    • National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Pennsylvania Chapter (past vice president and board member)
    • Girls, Inc. Discovery Leadership Mentoring Program
    She is an active member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Omega Mu Omega Chapter. Judge Woods-Skipper has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Women of Distinction Award, the A. Leon Higginbotham Award, the Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Women’s Champion Award from Temple Law Alumni Association.

    She is the current president of the Temple American Inn of Court.

  • Sahar Farooqi

    Sahar is a partner and co-heads the Advocacy service for DAC Beachcroft, where he has strategic and operational oversight for the delivery of a traditional chambers’ type offering to clients. Prior to joining, he spent over six years in the leadership of the purpose built advocacy business of an international law firm. Sahar specialises in commercial disputes, often with an international focus.

    Since his call to the Bar in 2010, Sahar has amassed experience in advising clients across a range of sectors including aviation, energy, infrastructure/ projects and shareholder disputes.

    Sahar’s expertise is in advising and representing HNWIs, privately owned companies as well as state entities facing disputes arising, typically, from breach of contract. He is particularly familiar with disputes that have a cross boarder element and in the context of International Arbitration, under multiple rules and seats including ICC, LCIA, SIAC and AIAC. In the immediate past, he led the Pakistan and Malaysia desks of an international law firm, two jurisdictions where he enjoys particularly strong local networks.

    A robust and pragmatic advocate, clients cite his disarming style of cross examination and tactically sound advice.

  • Joel Michel, Esq.

    Joel concentrates his practice on complex commercial, employment, and tort litigation matters in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies. He represents clients in litigation disputes arising from Title VII discrimination claims, various tort claims, and real estate disputes. He is also experienced in counseling clients on changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the national “Ban the Box” movement.

    Joel served as a law clerk to the Honorable Petrese B. Tucker of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He has also served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Lynne A. Sitarski and the Honorable C. Darnell Jones II of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and a certified legal intern for the Defenders’ Association of Philadelphia.

    Joel has been honored by the American Inns of Court as one of its two 2019 Pegasus Scholars. During law school, Joel earned many distinguished honors and scholarships, and served as a member of the National Trial Team, staff member of the Temple International & Comparative Law Journal, and vice president of the Black Law Students Association.

    Outside the firm, Joel enjoys studying theology, creating music, listening to live jazz, and playing basketball.