National Institute for Trial Advocacy Faculty Member Receives Prestigious Award

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Recipient earns National Association of Women Lawyers’ highest honor.

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), long recognized as the leading continuing legal advocacy education institution, today announced that one of its faculty members, The Hon. Katharine Sweeney Hayden, earned the National Association of Women Lawyers’ (NAWL) highest honor. The annual Arabella Babb Mansfield Award, named after the first female American admitted to the State Bar in the United States, honors professional success, mentoring to women in legal fields and for advancing society.

“She [Hayden] is unfailingly polite, well-reasoned, thorough, and compassionate. She remembers what it is like to be a lawyer,” said incumbent NAWL president, Cathy A. Fleming. “She is truly a wonderful judge.”

Hayden was appointed to the New Jersey Superior Court in 1991, serving as trial judge in both the Family Part and Criminal Division. In the Criminal Division, she founded the Drug Court for Essex County, New Jersey and acted as its first judge. She was appointed to the federal bench for the District of New Jersey, Newark vicinage in 1997. In addition to teaching NITA continuing education courses, she has been an adjunct faculty member at Seton Hall Law School since 2003.

The 2006 Arabella Babb Mansfield Award was presented at the NAWL Annual Awards Luncheon on July 18 in New York City. The luncheon also served as the investiture of the more than one-hundred-year-old organization’s new 13-member board. The NAWL boasts more than 10,000 law school and firm memberships. One thousand of NAWL’s 3,000 individual members were in attendance, making this its largest annual awards luncheon turnout ever.

When Hayden took the podium to claim her prize, she mentioned NITA’s role in helping female attorneys grow both personally and professionally. She said, “I think that being willing to ask for help is critical -- taking a NITA course in trial advocacy to address the secret fears we harbor; asking for mentoring and being a mentor; throwing oneself into bar association work; making very sure that what we hate about our work isn’t what we’re afraid of in our work. I can honestly offer that every time I’ve ….done something I was very fearful of but secretly wanted to try, I’ve been nourished far beyond what the effort took and always loved my work more.” Coincidentally, NAWL’s new president, Fleming, also is a NITA faculty member.

About NITA

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the nation’s leading provider of litigation skills training. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Louisville, Colorado, NITA pioneered its unique learn-by-doing methodology over 35 years ago and has remained the gold standard in continuing legal education ever since. With an average student/faculty ratio of 4:1 and an all-volunteer faculty drawn from a cadre of judges, law professors and practicing attorneys, attendees at NITA’s week-long basic trial skills “boot camps” experience significant improvement in their ability to advocate for their clients. NITA places a special emphasis on training lawyers who work in child advocacy, tribal law, death penalty defense and violence against women. NITA is also the nation’s third largest publisher of legal texts, many of which are used by renowned law schools.

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