TALLAHASSEE, April 21, 2016 – Leon County Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson received the Tallahassee Bar Association’s inaugural Martha Barnett Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers from Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit. The award honors an outstanding lawyer who has achieved professional excellence and who has been an advocate or mentor for the advancement of other women lawyers.
The award was presented by Marth Barnett April 13 at the Tallahassee Women Lawyers/Tallahassee Bar Association joint membership meeting. “Judge Ashenafi-Richardson always supports women lawyers. I know this for I am a personal beneficiary of her commitment to promoting women in the community and the profession. She is truly a women lawyer of remarkable achievements and I believe her best years are still ahead of her. Everything she does is with such grace and style. As honored as I am to have this award in my name, it is even sweeter because Nina Ashenafi-Richardson is the first recipient.”
Tallahassee Bar Association Immediate Past President Sunita Smith nominated Richardson. “Judge Ashenafi-Richardson has always championed women in the profession, encouraging female lawyers to serve the Bar at every level or to run for office or to open their own firms. She has influenced other women in our profession mostly by example,” said Smith. “She continues to spend her valuable time being involved in efforts that make a difference in the practice of law: access to justice for all, legal education for local lawyers, ensuring our local courthouse has Spanish language forms available for misdemeanor litigants.”
Ashenafi-Richardson was appointed by Justice Labarga to Chair the state-wide Education and Outreach Committee that developed the court communication plan for Florida’s Judicial Branch. She also serves on the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and is faculty with the Advanced Judicial College, the Conference of County Court Judges and DUI Adjudication Lab. She annually provides mentorship opportunities for high school, college and law students to learn first-hand the work of the court system.
Ashenafi-Richardson said of being the inaugural award recipient, “Thank you to Tallahassee Bar Association for creating this special award in recognition of one of our most respected and dynamic attorneys – Martha Barnett. She is one of our inspirational living legends! Thank you to past president Sunita Smith for the nomination, and to the TBA selection committee for honoring me as the first recipient. It is a highlight of my life to be so recognized and by a bar association I hold in high esteem.”
Ashenafi-Richardson is a former president of the Tallahassee Bar Association and Tallahassee Women Lawyers. She is the 2014 recipient of the Martin Luther King Foundation of Florida’s Humanitarian Award and the 2013 recipient of the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida Distinguished Leadership Award, among numerous others. She is a member of the American and Florida Bar Associations, the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society and the American Inns of Court, Master Judicial. She is former staff counsel for the Florida Education Association and served as an adjunct professor at Barry University.
“Martha Barnett has been a leader and role model to many in the legal profession,” said Tallahassee Bar Association President Dick Collins. “This award is intended to recognize successful women lawyers who have gone above and beyond to improve and enhance the practice of law for other women lawyers.”
Background. Martha Barnett is a past president of the American Bar Association, the first woman chair of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and Holland & Knight’s first female partner. She was among the recipients of American Lawyer magazine’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards. The magazine commended Barnett’s commitment to the advancement of women lawyers by saying, “No matter her position . . . [she] has championed the idea that more women belong in law.” The Tallahassee Bar Association would like to encourage this commitment to the advancement of women in the legal profession by honoring those who have helped pave the way to success for other women lawyers.