HARRISBURG, Pa. (Sept. 6, 2023) — President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark, Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, and Judge Charles Hayden, Philadelphia Municipal Court, will be honored with A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Lifetime Achievement Awards during the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Minority Attorney Conference, Oct. 5-6 at the Hilton Harrisburg.
The A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the accomplishments of a lawyer or judge who has demonstrated dedication to the legal profession and the minority community through civil, community or legal service. Higginbotham, who died in 1998, was a civic leader, author, academic and federal appeals court judge who fought tirelessly against racial discrimination.
President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark
Judge Clark has served on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas since 1999. Former Gov. Tom Ridge appointed her to a 10-year term and she was retained for additional 10-year terms in 2009 and 2019. In 2018, former Gov. Tom Wolf appointed her as the first African American president judge to serve in Allegheny County.
In her current capacity, Judge Clark oversees all divisions of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, including Civil, Criminal, Family and Orphans' courts. Previously, she served as administrative judge of the Family Division and supervising judge of the Juvenile Court.
Understanding that many people who enter the family division experience trauma, Judge Clark worked to develop a "trauma-informed" courthouse, which has served as a model for other courts in Pennsylvania and nationwide.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Clark served as an assistant and deputy district attorney in Allegheny County for nearly 16 years. During her tenure, she tried more than 150 jury cases, including some of the first gang-related and drive-by shooting homicide cases in Allegheny County. In addition, she led the Crimes Persons Unit, which handled all sexual assault, child abuse cases and serious violent crimes in the county.
Active in the legal community, Judge Clark serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Juvenile Procedural Rules Committee; Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee; Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Racial, Gender and Ethnic Fairness; Pennsylvania State Children’s Roundtable; and the American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Standards Task Force. She also serves as president of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Board of Directors. Previously, Judge Clark served as president of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, and chair of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission and the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board.
The recipient of numerous awards, Judge Clark received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence from the National Center for State Courts in 2017; it is one of the nation’s highest judicial awards. Additionally, she received the Philip Werner Amram Award from the Allegheny County Bar Association, the Susan B. Anthony Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania and the History Makers Award from the Heinz History Center. In 2013, Judge Clark had the honor of moderating a panel discussion at the White House on the needs of caregivers for children of incarcerated parents.
Judge Clark earned her Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, Nashville.
Judge Charles Hayden
Judge Hayden was elected to the Philadelphia Municipal Court, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in 2009. Prior to taking the bench, he had nearly 30 years of legal experience, serving as chief counsel and AA for the U.S. House of Representatives, senior assistant regional counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmental counsel for Waste Management Inc. and assistant public defender for the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
In 2021, Judge Hayden was nominated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and selected for a national initiative, the Blueprint for Racial Justice, which works to improve racial justice, equity and inclusion in the justice system. The court also appointed him to the Minor Court Rules Committee, for which he is the current chair, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court-mandated Pennsylvania Pre-Trial Practices Workgroup. In addition, he was appointed to the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention.
A member of the American Judges Association (AJA), Judge Hayden serves on its Board of Governors and Access to Justice, Diversity, Education and Executive committees. He is also the association’s historian and former co-chair of the 2022 AJA Annual Conference in Philadelphia.
Currently, Judge Hayden is the coordinating judge of The Choice is Yours Diversion Program, which is operated by JEVA Human Services in partnership with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Municipal Court and Defender Association of Philadelphia. Previously, he was the coordinating judge for the Accelerated Misdemeanor Program, housed within the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
Judge Hayden is the immediate past chair of the Clifford Scott Green Chapter (CSGC) of the National Bar Association Judicial Council and a past historian. He served on the CSGC Ad Hoc Committee, which initiated the renaming of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center after Justice Juanita Kidd Stout in 2012. In addition, he serves on the Philadelphia Bar Association Civil Gideon and Housing Workgroup Committees and has been a member of the Temple American Inn of Court.
During his more than 40-year career, Judge Hayden has been honored with numerous awards, including three U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Special Achievement awards, three USEPA Region 3 Office of Regional Counsel awards and three The Barristers’ Association President’s awards. He has also received a U.S. Department of Justice Certificate of Commendation, and recently received the Legal Intelligencer 2023 Professional Excellence Award in the Power Players category.
Judge Hayden earned his Juris Doctor from Antioch School of Law, Washington, D.C., and his bachelor's degree from Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.
For more information about the PBA Minority Attorney Conference and the award presentation, visit https://www.pabar.org/pdf/2023/MAC2023_Brochure.pdf.