National expert on labor and employment law elected chair of the board of The National Judicial College

One of the country’s pre-eminent attorneys representing management in labor and employment law issues, Peter Bennett of The Bennett Law Firm of Portland, Maine, has been elected chair of the Board of Trustees of The National Judicial College, the nation’s oldest and largest institution of judicial education.

Bennett’s practice stretches from Maine to Pennsylvania with an active multistate litigation docket that includes defense of both individual and class/collective actions. He is widely recognized as a leader in labor and employment law, having been named to Martindale Hubbell’s Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, Chambers USA, the Nation’s 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and other respected peer-reviewed lawyer-rating publications.

His contributions to the profession include service as chair of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association (2007-2008): chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence (2013-2014); Maine State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates (2018–); and a member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (2016-2019). He received the Silver Shingle Award for Service to the Profession from Boston University School of Law. He joined the NJC Board of Trustees in 2014.

The new board chair succeeds Sandra Yamate, CEO of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, who has been a trustee since 2014 and will continue on the board.

Meeting today at the NJC headquarters, the board elected these additional officers for 2019-20:

Chair-Elect Christopher T. Whitten, a trustee since 2014, served as board secretary in the past year. He serves as a general jurisdiction trial court judge on the Superior Court of Arizona and presiding tax judge for the state. He is also a past chair of the ABA’s National Conference of State Trial Judges.

Secretary Leslie Hayashi, a trustee since 2017, is a retired judged who served more than 25 years on the District Court for the First Circuit in Honolulu, Hawai`i. . She served as the past Academic Committee chair and has been an NJC faculty member since 1995.

Treasurer Alan R. Brayton, a trustee since 2012, is an attorney in Novato, California, with more than 28 years of experience. He enjoys a national reputation as one of the foremost attorneys representing victims of asbestos–related disease.

Today’s meeting also marked the mandatory completion of service for former board chair and NJC alumnus Matt Sweeney. A former Davidson County (Tennessee) Circuit Court judge and presiding judge of the district’s Trial Courts, he is a current shareholder of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. in Nashville. He served the maximum three, three-year terms on the board and was chair in 2015-16.

“Matt’s many contributions to the College have helped the College develop into what it is today,” said President Benes Z. Aldana. “He’s been a great source of insights and candid advice to me since I joined the College, and I will miss his presence on the board. I join his fellow trustees in wishing him all the best.”

The College’s 21-member Board of Trustees sets policy and provides leadership in achieving the College’s mission. Members come from diverse fields, including the law and judiciary as well as business and corporate areas.

Contact: Ed Cohen, Director of Communications/Marketing or (775) 327-8285

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Based in Reno, Nevada, and offering courses nationwide, The National Judicial College has been the nation’s leading provider of judicial education for more than half a century, drawing participants from every state and more than 150 countries. The NJC offers more than 200 judicial education programs in person and online in support of its mission: “to make the world a more just place by educating and inspiring its judiciary.”

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