Distinguished Female Attorneys to Be Presented with Scheindlin Awards and Kaye Scholarships

By David Alexander

November 4, 2022

Distinguished Female Attorneys to Be Presented with Scheindlin Awards and Kaye Scholarships


By David Alexander

Bernice K. Leber, partner at ArentFox Schiff and former New York State Bar Association president, and Lauren J. Wachtler, partner at Barclay Damon and former chair of the New York State Bar Association Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, will be honored with the Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin Award for Excellence in the Courtroom.

The association’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section will present the Scheindlin awards along with the Hon. Judith S. Kaye Commercial Litigation Academy Scholarships on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Daniel P. Moynihan United States Courthouse in New York City. A reception will follow the awards program at 7:30 p.m.

Hon. Sol Wachtler, New York’s former chief judge, will present the award to Wachtler while Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, senior counsel at Alston & Bird, will introduce Leber. The Scheindlin Award was first presented in 2016 and is presented annually in November, on or around the date when women received the right to vote in New York State in 1917.

Recipients of the Scheindlin awards are top litigators who have distinguished themselves in the courtroom in either the federal or state courts in New York and have shown a commitment to mentoring young women attorneys. The Judge Kaye scholarships cover the cost of the recipients attending the section’s Commercial Litigation Academy. The goal of the scholarship is to increase the number of women prepared to serve as first chair in large commercial cases.

Wachtler is a former NYSBA Executive Committee and House of Delegates member. She concentrates her practice on commercial and business litigation, representing retailers, manufacturers, real estate developers and designers in a wide range of jury and non-jury trials in state and federal courts.

Leber’s practice focuses on prosecution and defense of complex civil business disputes, with an emphasis on those involving commercial disputes concerning real property, securities and financial and intellectual property. She also handles professional liability cases, ethics and disciplinary matters involving lawyers, law firms, and accountants.

The Judge Kaye scholarships will be presented to Tara Ward, senior associate at Phillips Lytle; Meaghan T. Feenan, senior counsel at Harris Beach; Amanda Burns, partner at Ward Greenberg; and Sonia Russo, counsel at Barnes & Barnes.

The Taking The Lead CLE program: Strategies and Techniques for Commercial Cases will start at 5:30 p.m. before the awards ceremony. The program will showcase methods of creating compelling opening and closing statements and direct and cross-examinations of witnesses through a re-enactment of a civil trial by commercial litigators. Prominent members of the judiciary will critique the trial performances.

Program Chair:

  • Lauren J. Wachtler, Barclay Damon

Program Faculty:

  • Shira A. Scheindlin, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan
  • Elizabeth A. Wolford, chief judge of the Western District of New York
  • Richard J. Sullivan, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Jennifer G. Schecter, Commercial Division, New York County
  • Joel M. Cohen, Commercial Division, New York County
  • Carrie H. Cohen, Morrison & Foerster
  • Tracey Salmon-Smith, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath
Six diverse people sitting holding signs
gradient circle (purple) gradient circle (green)


My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account