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Meet President-Elect Candidate Sadina Montani

March 25, 2024

By John Murph

The D.C. Bar’s 2024 general and Communities elections will run from April 29 to June 4. Eligible voters will receive an email link to their ballots via Survey & Ballot Systems, an independent vendor administering the elections. Voting will be held exclusively online.

Results of the elections will be announced on the Bar’s website and during the 2024 Celebration of Leadership on June 20.

Here, get to know Sadina Montani, one of two candidates running for D.C. Bar president-elect for the 2024–2025 term. The president-elect serves for one year before becoming president, and then continues in office a third year as immediate past president.

Sadina MontaniSadina Montani, a partner at Crowell & Moring LLP, is eager for the chance to facilitate conversations about the past, present, and future of law, and she sees the D.C. Bar as the perfect forum for a thoughtful discourse on “how we are practicing law, how we are training new lawyers, how we are interacting with clients, and how we are interacting with the courts in the wake of the pandemic.”

If elected, Montani hopes to bring to the position of president-elect her experience as an employment lawyer and as former president of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBA). Montani has also served in leadership roles at the D.C. Bar, including as chair of the Nominations Committee and as member of the Leadership Development and Screening Committees, in addition to service as a longstanding volunteer with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Nonprofit & Small Business Legal Assistance Programs.

Montani joined Crowell & Moring in September 2020 after a 10-year tenure at Vedder Price, where she became a shareholder. At Crowell & Moring, Montani counsels employers on compliance issues, discrimination claims, and internal investigations. As part of the firm’s innovation technology committee, Montani has been involved in discussions about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) technology on the legal profession.

“I think that we all have to be thinking about what the practice of law will look like 5, 10, or 20 years from now,” Montani says. “And as an employment lawyer, I’m naturally drawn to the people aspect of it.”

The legal profession, Montani says, should be intentional about AI. “We have ethical obligations that guide virtually everything we do as lawyers, so we need to be thoughtful about the ways in which we are using AI,” she adds.

Montani’s leadership skills were put to the test at WBA when she took office in mid-2020 at the height of the pandemic. Montani says the association is a very tight-knit community, and one of the challenges she faced as president was keeping the members engaged professionally and personally when shutdowns and social-distancing measures were still in place. “It was really important for us to just make time to check in on one another,” Montani says, “and to focus on community and to sustain relationships.”

“That community aspect of it was unexpectedly a really important piece of work,” Montani adds. “We still got together, virtually, and talked about substantial things and supported one another; we continued having many programs. We did not pause.”

It was not just the pandemic that Montani had to contend with as president of WBA. In the same month she took office, the country had erupted in protests after the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by the Minneapolis police. Montani remembers spending the first three days of her term writing and rewriting the association’s statement condemning “the latest in a long history of unnecessary and violent deaths of Black Americans” and sending out a call to action to dismantle systemic racism.

At the first emergency board meeting she presided over, Montani recalls facilitating “raw, thoughtful, important, critical conversations with [a] diverse group of women.” That moment was about showing leadership through listening, Montani says.

“I am a bit of a talker and am sure I did less talking in that meeting than I did in any other board meeting,” Montani says. “One of the things that we talked about a lot in that [board meeting] was how we do more than just say things. We're lawyers; we have great words. That's not enough. We talked about the ways that we could and should use our platform in a way that was consistent with our mission to do more than just say nice words.”

A tangible outcome of those discussions was WBA’s “Discussing Racism & Being Anti-Racist Toolkit,” a comprehensive collection of resources — from written materials and movies to volunteer opportunities — to support WBA members and the community as they heed the call to begin the work of dismantling systemic racism.

“We had podcasts, we had resources for children, we had volunteer activities, we had pro bono opportunities,” Montani says. “We had Black-owned businesses that we vetted and supported.” In 2021 the WBA toolkit was recognized as an outstanding member program by the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.

“I realized early on, as a white woman leading that organization with a very diverse board, that I probably could say things that were a bit more aggressive than if one of my Black colleagues had been leading it at that moment,” Montani says. “I felt real responsibility to make sure I was doing that. And that I was making sure that everyone's voices were at the table.”

After her tenure as WBA president, Montani began serving as a board member of Ayuda, a legal aid organization that helps low-income immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area navigate the immigration and justice systems. Before joining Ayuda’s board, she served as its pro bono counsel.

Between January 2017 and March 2024, Montani was a board member of the Greater DC Diaper Bank, which she chaired from 2019 to 2022.

Montani earned her law degree from the George Washington University Law School and began her legal career at Dentons.

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