April 29, 2002 – The V.I. Bar Association is joining in the national observance of Law Day on Wednesday in three ways.
First, it is sponsoring the visit of attorney Karen Hastie Williams to St. Thomas, where she will address a combined noon luncheon of the island's four Rotary Clubs at the Mahogany Run Clubhouse. The public is invited to hear her address at no charge; lunch is available for $18.
Second, it will present the first Virgin Islands Liberty Bell Award, a local version of a national award established more than 30 years ago. It is to recognize a non-lawyer individual or a community organization for promoting better understanding or greater respect for the law, stimulating a sense of civic responsibility, or contributing to good government in the community. The recipient will not be named until the presentation ceremony at Wednesday's luncheon.
Third, the association's Young Lawyers Committee is sending volunteers to visit the Michael J. Kirwan, Peace Corps and Joseph Gomez elementary schools on St. Thomas. They'll talk with students about "negotiation, mediation and dispute resolution as it relates to young people," according to a release.
Williams is the daughter of William H. Hastie Jr., the first African-American governor of the Virgin Islands, and Virgin Islander Beryl Lockhart Hastie, daughter of H.E. Lockhart Sr. and Karen Ingeborg Lockhart. Her father, appointed governor by President Truman, served the territory in 1946-49.
As a partner in the Government Contracts group of Crowell & Moring, a Washington, D.C., law firm, Williams is involved with federal public contract law and regulations, legislation and federal budget and appropriations issues. She also specializes in representing victims of terrorism.
Prior to joining Crowell & Moring in 1981, she was administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Carter administration and chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. Before pursuing a law career, she was an international policy analyst with Mobil Oil Corp.
She is active in not-for-profit organizations addressing education and other opportunities for African-American children, affordable housing and civil rights.
Williams' address is one of a series of activities the V.I. Bar Association has arranged while the touring exhibition "Marching Toward Justice — The History of the 14th Amendment and A Tribute to Thurgood Marshall" is on St. Thomas. Another was the address last week before Rotarians by Connye Harper, associate counsel of the United Auto Workers.
The title of Williams' Rotary address is "Hastie and Marshall: Architects of the March Toward Justice."
Tom Bolt, Bar Association president, said the purpose in bringing the exhibition and the speakers to St. Thomas has been "to inform Virgin Islanders about the far-reaching effects of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equality for all."
The last day to see the exhibition, which opened on March 23 on the second floor of the Grand Galleria complex, is this Friday. It's open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (See "Touring civil rights exhibit comes to St. Thomas".)
For the school visits, Danielle C. Comeaux of Hodge & Francois, Louis D. Fiori of Dudley Clark & Chan, Michael Uhlig of Law Offices of Karin A. Bentz and Gabriela Haley will speak to 3rd and 5th graders at Kirwan. Chris-Ann Keehner, law clerk to District Judge Thomas Moore; Rachael Morrison of Law Offices of Henry C. Smock; Bill Nixon of Tom Bolt & Associates; and A.J. Stone, law clerk to Territorial Judge Rhys Hodge, will address 5th and 6th graders at Peace Corps. Delphine Farr, law clerk to Rhys Hodge, and Steven Kameny, law clerk to Territorial Judge Brenda Hollar, will talk to a 6th grade class at Gomez.
This year's Law Day theme is "Assuring Equal Justice for All." The observance is geared to highlighting "efforts to make legal services affordable and widely available," the release states. "It encompasses both court improvement and consideration of what equal justice means in other settings, such as schools, and alternative programs for settling disputes."
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