A Recap of the Power Act Event at the U.S. Marshals Museum

It was an eventful day of learning and collaboration at the Joint Board Retreat and Power Act Event held on May 17th in the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith. This event brought together legal minds from across the country to raise awareness for domestic violence survivors.

The Power Act was first introduced in 2017 and was signed into law on September 4, 2018 (Public Law No. 115-237). Each year, to commemorate the enactment of the Power Act, Arkansas Access to Justice (ATJ) partners with the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas to organize a CLE that centers around pro bono representation for survivors of domestic violence. This year, ATJ held their Board Retreat in conjunction with the event.

We kicked off this year’s Power Act with welcoming remarks from the Mayor of Fort Smith, George McGill, and introductions by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christy D. Comstock, setting the tone for a day of meaningful dialogue.

Panel Highlights:

Project Homeless Experience Legal Protection: We were honored to have insights from Retired Judge Bernice B. Donald, Judge Jay C. Zainey, and Penni Burns, CEO of Fort Smith Crisis Intervention Center.

Strategies for a Trauma-Informed Law Practice: Experts Rebecca Howlett and Cynthia Sharp offered invaluable strategies on integrating trauma awareness into legal practices.

Court Technologies: Moderated by Judge Carlton Jones, this panel featured perspectives from Marty Sullivan, Taylor Samples, Alex Rogers, and our own Executive Director, Abby Brenneman, on leveraging technology in courtrooms.

The venue was full, with nearly every table occupied and over 110 participants joining us online, showing the community’s commitment to supporting survivors and advancing justice.

“In looking around the room, it was quite obvious that our fellow attorneys are dedicated to using their awesome power to change people’s worlds,” stated Judge Jay C. Zainey. “Thanks to everyone for all that you do and for your willingness to use your God given talents to assist our less fortunate brothers and sisters.”

Pictured below are snapshots of our engaging speakers, our attentive audience, and our dedicated board members with the Arkansas Access to Justice staff

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to our 2024 Power Act event. Special thank you to our sponsors, U of A School of Law and Benton County Bar Association. Your involvement is key to driving change and making a difference for Arkansans.