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Retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice and Pittsburgh Lawyer to be Honored by PBA Commission on Women in the Profession

HARRISBURG (April 16, 2009) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession will present the Anne X. Alpern Award to retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Cynthia A. Baldwin and the Lynette Norton Award to Pittsburgh lawyer Mary Sue Ramsden during its 16th annual conference, "Successful Women - Successful Places," June 3, at the Hilton Pittsburgh.

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.

Baldwin was nominated for the Alpern Award by Robert L. Byer, a partner at Duane Morris L.L.P., and received letters of recommendation from Chatham University President Esther L. Barazzone, Amelia M. Joiner, assistant professor, Duquesne University School of Law, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, chairman of the board, Hershey Trust Company.

In his nomination, Byer cited Baldwin as a mentor for women of all ages and wrote that, "Anyone composing a list of the most prominent women lawyers in Pennsylvania would have to include Cynthia Baldwin at or near the top." Barazzone wrote that Baldwin "has inspired countless women to enter the legal profession and the judiciary through her own example." Joiner credited Baldwin as being "a constant reminder that women can achieve whatever we dare to dream." Zimmerman wrote that Baldwin "has always possessed the integrity, intellect and industry that are essential for a member of the court."

Baldwin is currently a partner at Duane Morris L.L.P. in the trial practice group, which she joined following her retirement from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in January 2008. She was nominated to the Supreme Court by Gov. Edward G. Rendell in December 2005 to serve an interim term and she was confirmed by the Senate in February 2006.

Previously, Baldwin served on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for more than 16 years in the civil, family and juvenile divisions. Baldwin is also a seasoned attorney, having been associated with several law firms and having served as attorney-in-charge for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Baldwin holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Penn State University. She earned her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law, where she was a member of its Law Review. Baldwin has dedicated many hours to support higher education and to teach others about the law. She also has written extensively about a wide range of legal issues.

From 1989 to 1991, Baldwin served as president of Penn State's Alumni Association. She was elected chair of the Penn State Board of Trustees in January 2004 and served until January 2007. She is a member-emerita of the board of directors at Duquesne University and past president of its Law Alumni Board. Last May, she was elected chair of the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, which is located in Washington D.C.

She has served in both visiting and adjunct professorships at Duquesne University. She has taught for the Widener School of Law Intensive Trial Advocacy Program and lectures widely about constitutional law and jurisprudence.

Baldwin is a guest scholar at the Woldfensohn Center of the Brookings Institution, which works on anti-corruption projects in developing nations. She was chosen as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zimbabwe in 1994, and she has taught on teams who went to China, Guinea, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda.

Baldwin is active with the International Women's Forum and the International Association of Women Judges. She is a former member of the PBA Board of Governors and she is a member of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession and PBA Minority Bar Committee. She is a former master in the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Inns of Court and the Matrimonial Inns of Court.

Among her numerous awards and honors is the 2006 A. Leon Higginbotham Award presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Attorney Committee. She has received honorary doctorates from Carlow University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, Point Park College and Widener University School of Law.

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.

Ramsden is a principal at Raphael, Ramsden and Behers P.C.

She was nominated for the Norton Award by Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Jacqueline O. Shogan and received letters of recommendation from Jay A. Blechman, president of the Allegheny County Bar Association, Judge Jill E. Rangos, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, and Robert Raphael of Raphael Ramsden and Behers P.C.

Shogan wrote that it is Ramsden's "unmatched commitment to obtain a positive result for her clients that sets her apart from other attorneys." Blechman wrote that Ramsden "has contributed both through community service and through bar associations, but has also participated in the community as part of family law organizational nonprofit boards." "She has always been a caring, concerned advocate on behalf of her clients; fastidious in her trial preparation; full prepared and excessively able in the trial of her cases," wrote Raphael. Rangos wrote she could "think of no other candidate who better epitomizes the ideals for which Lynette Norton stood."

Ramden has lectured and served as a seminar panelist on a range of topics, including custody issues, child welfare and family law. She is a former editor of the Child Protective Services Quarterly.

Actively engaged in efforts by the organized bar, Ramsden is a Zone 12 delegate in the PBA House of Delegates and a member of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession Committee.

Ramsden is a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association, serving on its Board of Governors from 2004 to 2006, serving as association secretary from 2004 to 2006 and serving as treasurer of the Family Law Section from 2002 to 2004. She also has been a member of numerous committees and sections of the association, including the Court Relations Committee, Judiciary Committee, Probate and Trust Section, Professionalism Committee, Mentor Committee and Women in the Law Committee. Ramsden is a charter fellow of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation.

In addition, Ramsden was co-president of the Women's Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania from 1998-2000 and secretary of the association from 1996 to 1998. She was a member of the American Inn of Court from 1993 to 1995, president of the Matrimonial Chapter from 1995 to 1997, master from 1997 to 1999 and master-emerita from 1998 to 2004.

Ramsden is a recipient of a YWCA Tribute to Women Award and received the Susan B. Anthony Award from the Women's Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania.

Ramsden graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

The awards will be presented at a noon luncheon, which will feature political analyst, writer and commentator Dee Dee Myers as the keynote speaker. Myers is the first woman and one of the youngest people to serve as a White House press secretary. She recently wrote a book, Why Women Should Rule the World, challenging readers to imagine a not-too-distant future in which increasing numbers of women reach the top ranks of politics, business, science and academia. Myers is currently a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine and a frequent political commentator on NBC and MSNBC.

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.