Summer 2018 Newsletter





In this issue…

2018 Annual Pursuit of Justice Awards
Speaker Series with Congressman Adam Schiff
CWLC Outreach and Trainings
LA Sparks #WeAreWomen Campaign
Welcome New CWLC Staff and Board Member

The 2018 Annual Pursuit of Justice Awards Luncheon honoring Rita Hall, It’s On Us, Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and Lois Thompson

The California Women’s Law Center held its annual Abby J. Leibman Pursuit of Justice Awards lunch and ceremony on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. We were thrilled to honor Rita Hall, founder of Handbags of Hope; It’s On Us, the national campaign to prevent sexual assault; Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis; and CWLC Board President Lois Thompson. Robyn Ritter Simon served as our Mistress of Ceremonies.

The California Women’s Law Center is working to end discrimination and eradicate violence against women. We are therefore grateful for the commitment and dedication these dynamic leaders have demonstrated to improve the lives of women and girls in California and across the nation.

Rita Hall created Holy Helping Hands, a non-profit organization providing support to women and families in need, as well as Handbags of Hope, which holds numerous events each year to support victims of domestic violence and their families. It’s On Us raises awareness about sexual assault and harassment on campuses around the country and is working to build a nation where abuse is not tolerated and survivors are supported. Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis has been a champion of women and families for decades through her service to the public and, more recently, created the Los Angeles County Initiative on Women and Girls which examines issues that lead to inequitable gender outcomes and recommends changes to improve the quality of life for women and girls. Lois Thompson has generously served on the CWLC Board for twelve years (seven of those years as Board President) where she spent hundreds of hours pursuing justice for women and girls through her Board leadership and numerous pro bono efforts. We thank you, Lois, for your service and dedication to CWLC.

A special thank you to our sponsors, donors and attendees for helping make the 2018 Pursuit of Justice Awards a tremendous success. Together, we are making California safer, healthier and more just.

Click HERE to see more photos from the event!

Speaker Series with Congressman Adam Schiff

In April, the California Women’s Law Center was honored to feature Congressman Adam Schiff at our Distinguished Guest Speaker Series. In front of a packed house at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, Congressman Schiff addressed many issues of concern to Angelinos during his talk titled “An Update from Washington.”

We thank Congressman Schiff for leading an informative discussion and sharing his perspective on a number of pressing matters affecting our country.

Click HERE to view photos from the event.

The Supreme Court: What’s At Stake

In August, CWLC and the Feminist Majority Foundation held an informative and important conversation about the Supreme Court and the direction of the federal judiciary. Panelists included Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law; Brad Sears, Associate Dean of Public Interest Law at UCLA School of Law; and Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Politics Department at Pomona College. The panel was moderated by Betsy Butler, CWLC’s Executive Director. If you were unable to attend, you can watch the recorded discussion here.

Women in Green Panel

In May, CWLC’s Executive Director Betsy Butler participated in a panel discussion about gender equity with members of the design, building and construction community in Los Angeles. The breakfast panel was hosted by Women in Green which is affiliated with the Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

2018 Women, Law, & Technology Symposium

In April, CWLC co-sponsored the University of California, Irvine School of Law Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy’s “2018 Women, Law, & Technology Symposium.” This event brought together renowned scholars, activists, tech engineers, and policy makers to examine the ways technology enhances the lives of women and girls.

“Home Truth” Panel Discussion

In March, CWLC’s Senior Staff Attorney Amy Poyer participated in a panel discussion following the screening of Home Truth. The film, produced and written by Katia Maguire and April Hayes, is about a woman’s fight for justice after her three daughters were abducted and killed by their father in violation of a domestic violence restraining order.

CWLC is committed to eradicating violence toward women of all identities and backgrounds. To learn more about CWLC’s work on violence against women, click HERE. To learn more about Home Truth and find out where you can watch the film, click HERE.




Fighting for Women and Children’s Safety

In June, the California Women’s Law Center filed an amicus brief with the California Court of Appeal in support of an appeal brought by a domestic violence victim seeking custody of her child. The appeal centers around the application of California Family Code section 3044, which creates a rebuttable presumption against granting custody to a parent who has perpetrated domestic violence against the other parent. Under the rebuttable presumption, once a judge finds domestic violence has occurred, the court will not grant custody to the abusive parent unless they can rebut the presumption by providing that the child is safe.

The amicus brief argued that clarity from the appellate courts is necessary in application of this presumption because the presumption is frequently misapplied by trial courts who do not consider each factor in the statute or improperly consider extraneous or irrelevant factors in rebutting the presumption. The brief also notes the importance of having clear authority from the court because the vast majority of litigants in custody cases involving domestic violence proceed pro per (without legal representation).

To read CWLC’s brief, click HERE.

Advocating for Safe Housing for Veterans

In May, CWLC’s Senior Staff Attorney Amy Poyer was in Sacramento to present a training titled Legal Housing Considerations for Serving Disabled Veterans at the California Department of Veterans Affairs 2018 Leadership Summit. The presentation explored the legal landscape for veterans housing accommodations under the law and discussed the particular issue of accommodations for women veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of Military Sexual Trauma.


CWLC Outreach and Trainings

October 25 – “Creating a Level Playing Field for Girls: Title IX Athletics in Schools and Beyond”

Please join CWLC’s Amy Poyer and Legal Aid at Work’s Kim Turner on October 25, 2018, for a Title IX Athletics training webinar titled “Creating a Level Playing Field for Girls: Title IX Athletics in Schools and Beyond” from 12:00 – 1:00 pm PST. We will address legal requirements mandating equity for girls playing sports in high school and at parks and recreation facilities in California. This webinar also qualifies for one hour of MCLE credit. Click here to register or for more information.

In Case You Missed it!

Title IX Training Webinar

In July, CWLC’s Amy Poyer, BreastfeedLA’s Arissa Palmer, and The Center for WorkLife Law’s Jessica Lee discussed “The Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Students and Employees at California Schools” in a training webinar. This informational webinar reviewed the rights of pregnant and parenting employees and students in California’s schools, including an overview of leave rights and legally required accommodations for pregnancy and lactation. During the webinar, the presenters provided an update on the ABC’s of Breastfeeding Report Card, originally released in 2015, including improvements that have been made in pregnancy and lactation accommodation policies at the 81 Los Angeles County school districts we have assisted.

Please click HERE to view the recorded training.

Women’s Reproductive Health Care Webinar

In August, the California Women’s Law Center and UC Irvine School of Law Chancellor’s Professor Michele Goodwin discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent NIFLA v. Becerra decision regarding California’s FACT Act. The webinar addressed the reasons the FACT Act was implemented, its application to “crisis pregnancy centers” in California, and the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Act is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment. We also discussed the future of reproductive rights in California and beyond in the wake of the decision.

To see the webinar, click HERE.

We Are Here to Help – CWLC Trainings

CWLC trains attorneys throughout California on our various areas of expertise, including Title IX and campus sexual assault, the rights of pregnant and parenting students, teen dating violence, and gender equity in K-12 athletics.

If your organization would like to learn more about CWLC’s trainings, or would like to be trained in one of CWLC’s areas of expertise, please contact us at or (323) 951-1041.

2018 #WeAreWomen Campaign







CWLC has been a strong supporter of the Los Angeles Sparks and their #WeAreWomen campaign since its creation in 2015. The staff and team members of the LA Sparks are dedicated community representatives who are actively working to improve the lives of girls and young women through

their empowerment and confidence building programs. In addition, this year as in 2017, CWLC secured over 100 tickets to the LA Sparks #WeAreWomen game for incarcerated youth in Los Angeles County’s juvenile halls. Thank you, Los Angeles Sparks, for your generosity and dedication to the community!

This year, Betsy Butler was chosen as the LA Sparks 2018 Woman of the Year, an honor she particularly appreciates because of our shared commitment to the empowerment of women and girls.


CWLC Hosts Interns

For the fourth year in a row, CWLC was pleased to host five Columbia Law School students this year. While Elizabeth Cheung, Rachel Horn, Lynne Howard, Ying Liu and Andrea Metz were with us, they focused on projects addressing violence against women and sexual harassment.

2018 Summer Interns

CWLC is proud to have had second year law school students Phelan Arata (Columbia Law School) and Nicole Malick (University of Pennsylvania Law School) join us during the summer of 2018. They worked on projects related to reproductive rights and legislative advocacy. We thank Phelan and Nicole for their hard work and wish them the best of luck in their second year of law school!

If you or someone you know is in law school and looking to intern with us, please visit our website by clicking here or send your cover letter and resume to and use “LEGAL INTERN APPLICATION” in the subject line.

AARP TV for Grownups

CWLC Executive Director Betsy Butler attended the AARP TV for Grownups awards in July which honored industry pioneer Norman Lear. TV for Grownups recognizes the older audience and celebrates the work of older actors and industry leaders. Learn more about AARP TV and Movies for Grownups by clicking here.




Denim Day 2018

In April, CWLC observed the 19th year of Denim Day by wearing jeans with a purpose and attending the 2018 Denim Day rally and press conference on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The Denim Day campaign was developed by Peace Over Violence nearly two decades ago after a jury verdict in Italy was overturned because the Chief Judge argued that the victim’s jeans were too tight for the rapist to take them off without the victims’ help or consent.

We support and participate in Denim Day each year to raise awareness about sexual violence, combat harmful misconceptions, and reinforce the importance of consent. You can learn more about Denim Day and how you can get involved next year by going to the Peace Over Violence website.

Meet our new Board Member

Kerry C. Fowler is a partner at Jones Day and has 14 years of experience litigating and trying complex civil actions, particularly matters involving product liability, toxic tort, fraud and unfair business practices, health care, consumer class actions, and claims arising under the FCRA. She represents clients in state and federal courts and has substantial experience defending clients against nationwide coordinated litigation, in both federal MDL proceedings and coordinated state court actions. Kerry did her undergraduate work at the University of Southern California and received her law degree from Loyola Law School. While at Loyola, Kerry served as an extern to the Hon. Dickran Tevrizian of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, graduated cum laude, and was on the Loyola Law Review.

Welcome Kathy Paspalis

Kathy Paspalis joins the legal staff of the California Women’s Law Center after years as an attorney, advocate, and activist. Before joining CWLC, Kathy was the Director of Strategic Partner Programs for Lambda Legal, a national legal organization dedicated to the civil rights of LGBT people and those living with HIV. Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Kathy worked in private practice for smaller boutique law firms handling civil litigation, family law, and general municipal law practices. Kathy presently serves on the Board of the Culver City Unified School District. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Bucknell University, and her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law.