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Hatchett wins Spirit of Excellence Award

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Hatchett wins Spirit of Excellence Award

Former U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joseph W. Hatchett recently received the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity 2007 Spirit of Excellence Award, which celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession.

The ABA noted Hatchett is an African-American pioneer in Florida law having been the first black man appointed to the Florida Supreme Court since Reconstruction, and the first black man ever elected to public office in a statewide election in the South.

Under Hatchett’s direction, Akerman Senterfitt’s Diversity Committee received the Thomas L. Sager Award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association last year. Hatchett chairs Akerman Senterfitt’s Diversity Committee and continues to practice in the firm’s Tallahassee office.

Hatchett also has hired, trained, and mentored dozens of minority law clerks while serving on the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lawyers who faced him on the bench also credit Hatchett as a role model and an advocate, as he has authored many opinions recognizing the rights of minorities, women, and the disabled, according to the ABA.

Hatchett also was the first African-American U.S. Department of Justice lawyer in the South, serving as the assistant U.S. attorney in Jacksonville.

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