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The Speakers



Martin J. Cirkiel, LMSW-AP

Attorney & Counselor at Law

Cirkiel Law Group

Mr. Cirkiel is the current named partner of Cirkiel Law Group, P.C., “a distinguished Texas law and advocacy firm dedicated to championing the rights of children and adults with disabilities.” He earned a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983 and a Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University in 1991. In 1995, he began to work in private practice, collaborating with attorneys across Texas in the successful litigation of patient rights violations in various mental health facilities.
As a licensed master’s social worker and attorney in the state of Texas, he has served in over 20 professional organizations related to mental health, guardianship, disability law, civil rights, special education, and other interests. He is the former Chair of the State Bar of Texas Disability Issues Committee, former Council member with the Williamson County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, former Ethics Committee Member for Round Rock Hospital, former Special Commissioner of Eminent Domain Proceedings for Williamson County, Texas; former Magistrate for the Williamson County Jail, former Municipal Court Judge for the City of Hutto in Texas, and former Magistrate for the Travis County Mental Health Court in Texas including serving as Attorney and Guardian Ad-litem. Mr. Cirkiel has spent years educating social work students. He taught Alternative Dispute Resolution as an Adjunct Professor at Southern Methodist University and taught Social Work and the Law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves as Advisor for the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, Cabinet member for Jewish Family Services, and General Counsel for the Texas Organization of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates. Mr. Cirkiel takes a large amount of pride in his work as he passionately applies his skill set to serve the community. He is known by his peers to be a tireless attorney who fairly but zealously advocates for the rights and entitlements of adults and children with disabilities.

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Keynote Address

Get to know Martin in the video below 


Special Session

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  • Instagram


Get to know Michael in the video below 

Michael Saavedra

National Coordinator

NRCAT National Network of Solitary Survivors

Michael Saavedra was released from prison in February 2017 after being inside for over 19 years. He was also kept in solitary confinement for over 15 years. During that time, he helped organize, lead, and participated in all three separate California prisoner hunger strikes against solitary confinement between 2011 and 2013. He also educated himself while in solitary and was able to learn and utilize the law to successfully sue the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation several times, as well as assist and teach others to do the same. 

Michael graduated as a Pathway to Law School student at Riverside City College and recently earned his bachelor’s degree from UCLA, majoring in American Indian Studies with a minor in Chicanx and Central American Studies. Michael also started Riverside City College’s first formerly imprisoned student organization.  Having been chosen as a 2020/21 Justice Catalyst fellow, Michael’s fellowship project continues to seek ways to reduce the barriers for formerly incarcerated individuals to become lawyers.  Since his release, he has been working with many different social justice and anti-prison industrial complex organizations locally and nationwide to help abolish mass incarceration, solitary confinement, over policing and advocating for directly impacted people of color in his community.

Shawna Paris-Hoyte, ONS, KC, JD, BCCH, RSW

Executive Director

National Institute of Forensic Social Work

Shawna Paris-Hoyte is a practicing lawyer, social worker, psychotherapist, clinical hypnotherapist, and generalist forensic social work consultant and educator in Canada. She is both highly regarded and sought-after for her interdisciplinary and inter-professional work.


As a practitioner, her focus is in mental health and addictions services with a clinical specialty around depression care, anxiety and trauma. Her clinical and forensic skills framework is anti-oppressive, feminist, culturally competent interventions that are trauma-informed, client and solution focused and employing a critical thinking and race lens.

As an educator, she teaches clinical law practice, cross-cultural studies, law and social work, social work and diversity, and Human Development and Environments at several universities in Canada.

As a lawyer, she is well known for her trauma-informed lawyering work in family law, criminal youth, criminal law and human rights as a social justice advocate.

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Featured Speaker

Get to know Shawna in the video below 

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Schedule is according to US Central Time

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CE credit available

Registered attendees have full access to all sessions and materials for 60 days after the live event

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SWL National Symposium
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Attendance from international residents strongly welcomed and encouraged!

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