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Berks County Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate and Philadelphia Lawyer Lynn E. Rzonca to be Honored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession



HARRISBURG (March 15, 2010) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession will present the annual Anne X. Alpern Award to Berks County Court of Common Pleas Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate and the Lynette Norton Award to Philadelphia lawyer Lynn E. Rzonca during its 17th annual conference, "Women and the Economy: Securing Your Future," May 12, at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey.

The Alpern Award is presented annually to a female lawyer or judge who demonstrates excellence in the legal profession and who makes a significant professional impact on women in the law. Established in 1994, the award was named for Anne X. Alpern, Pennsylvania's attorney general in 1959 and the first woman state attorney general in the nation.

Judge Ludgate has established and advanced programs to protect battered women and abused children. She is a founder of the Berks Women's Network, Berks Women in Crisis and the Rape Crisis Center.

Judge Ludgate began her career working as a lawyer for Central Pennsylvania Legal Services, fighting for the rights of low-income clients.

Since her election as a state trial judge in 1989, Judge Ludgate has led numerous law-related programs to educate legal professionals and the public. She initiated a "Saturday Morning in Court" session to train young lawyers on court procedures and created the "Meet Your Judges" program to provide a forum for dialogue between judges and the public. She was the principal founder of the Justice William Strong Chapter of the American Inns of Court, which provides networking opportunities among young lawyers, experienced lawyers and judges.

Judge Ludgate lectures at Albright University, Alvernia University, Kutztown University and Reading Area Community College and visits elementary schools and high schools to share information about the rewards and opportunities offered by careers in the law and related fields.

For several years, Judge Ludgate was an educator at the Victims Assistance Academy at the University of Scranton.

She has attended international academy educational programs in London, Oxford, Paris and Strasbourg. Last year, Judge Ludgate was appointed to the International Judicial Academy Board of Directors.

Ludgate is a graduate of Alvernia College and Temple University School of Law.

Judge Ludgate has received numerous accolades for her efforts. She is the recipient of the Alvernia College's Trustee Emerita Award, the Ellen Frei Gruber Alumni Service Award (for outstanding service to the college and community) and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the college's Criminal Justice Alumni, the Voice of Change Award from Berks Women in Crisis, the Berks County Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts Great Valley Council, the W. Richard Eshelman Award from the Berks County Prison Society and the President's Award from the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges.

The Norton Award was created in memory of Lynette Norton, a founding member of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession who died in 2002. Norton was an advocate for young women in the legal profession and worked to promote literacy and women's rights. The award is designed to recognize and encourage female attorneys who excel in litigation skills and who are devoted to mentoring female lawyers.

Rzonca is managing partner of Ballard Spahr's Philadelphia office and a partner in the firm's litigation and intellectual property departments.

Rzonca has a longstanding commitment to supporting and promoting the growth of young women in the field of law. She is active in BALLARD WOMEN, the firm's affinity group for women attorneys that encourages young female lawyers to identify career goals and methods to achieve them. She also directs the firm's Associates Committee that helps young lawyers develop legal and client relationship skills.

She is co-chair of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession's Mentoring Task Force, which matches young female bar members with experienced female lawyers.

In 2006 and 2007, Rzonca served on the Friends Committee for the National Association of Women Judges Conference, which was comprised of female lawyers who support female judges in Philadelphia.

Rzonca serves on the board of directors for the Juvenile Law Center, Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

She is an inaugural member of the advisory board of the Children's Justice Clinic at Rutgers University School of Law-Camden, a program providing an interdisciplinary approach to address juvenile delinquency in impoverished communities.

Rzonca works with Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, which estimates it provides $1 million in legal services each year to artists and arts and cultural organizations. She also is a volunteer for Wills for Heroes, a program providing wills and other estate planning documents to first responders and emergency personnel.

Also, Rzonca is a two-term member of the Borough of Narberth Planning Commission and has served on the committee for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania's annual Take the Lead Awards, which recognize women leaders in the corporate, civic and philanthropic arenas.

In 2009, Rzonca was named one of Pennsylvania's "Best 50 Women in Business," an award given by the business journals of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. She also was named a 2009 Women of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal and the National Association of Women Business Owners in recognition of her leadership in her profession and community.

Rzonca holds degrees from Loyola University and Northwestern University School of Law

In addition to the Alpern and Norton awards, the Commission on Women in the Profession will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Lila G. Roomberg of Philadelphia during a May 12 luncheon. A keynote speech will be delivered by Claire Shipman, senior national correspondent for ABC News and co-author of Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success.

Conference details and registration information are posted on the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Web site at www.pabar.org.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.