Albany Law School’s Kate Stoneman Honorary Committee is proud to announce that Berta E. Hernández-Truyol ’78 — an internationally-renowned human rights scholar — has been named the recipient of the prestigious 2022 Miriam M. Netter ’72 Stoneman Award.
Hernández-Truyol frequently travels, writes, and teaches about efforts to develop, expand, and transform human rights discourse around the world.
“Berta E. Hernández-Truyol has a proven record of tireless work to advance human rights from her travels to her scholarly work. Her achievements embody the pioneering spirit of our iconic Kate Stoneman,” said Albany Law School President and Dean Alicia Ouellette ’94. "We are delighted to honor her accomplishments this Kate Stoneman Day.”
The Hon. Shirley Troutman ’85, Hon. Marsha D. Michael ’02, and Rita Pasarell ’08 will also be honored with awards as each is recognized by Albany Law School for their outstanding contributions to ensuring equity and fairness in the legal profession. Each are role models and mentors for women attorneys and aspiring attorneys and have served as inspirations to others.
The awards are part of the law school’s 28th Kate Stoneman Day scheduled for March 7.
First awarded in 1994, Albany Law School's Kate Stoneman Awards are presented to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to seeking change and expanding opportunities for women within the legal profession. Awardees have influenced other women to pursue legal careers and have opened doors that historically have been closed to women lawyers. The awards are named in honor of Kate Stoneman, the first woman admitted to practice law in New York State and the first female graduate of Albany Law School, Class of 1898. Read more: https://www.albanylaw.edu/kate-stoneman
Past Stoneman Award honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, New York State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Honorable Constance Baker Motley, former New York Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye—who delivered the inaugural keynote in 1994—and other leaders in the private sector, public service, and academia.
About the 2022 awardees:
Berta E. Hernández-Truyol ’78
Currently the Stephen C. O'Connell Chair within the University of Florida's Levin College of Law, Hernández-Truyol is an internationally renowned human rights scholar who utilizes an interdisciplinary and international framework to promote human well-being around the globe.
She develops, expands, and transforms human rights discourse with a focus on issues of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, language, marginabilities (vulnerabilities and marginalizations), and their interconnections.
As part of a team of Florida scholars engaging with Cuba and re-establishing relations between the Levin College of Law and the University of Havana Law School, she has traveled to Cuba to develop associations with professors across the Havana campus. She has also written numerous articles about Cuba and human rights.
Beyond Cuba, she travels broadly to discuss and teach human rights. She has made presentations and offered courses in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Germany, Guatemala, France, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
Hernández-Truyol’s upcoming essay, “Awakening the Law: A Latcritical Perspective,” explores an innovative theory for “awakening” the law – a concept that brings together many disciplines to develop a deep consciousness about the law and a connection to the human condition. It is the first piece in a series to develop a model for law and legal structures and deconstruct unjust established hierarchies.
Her written work critically examines equality, privacy, and dignity through a human rights lens with a focus on gender, race, culture, and sexuality. Among her hundreds of published articles and book chapters is a chapter about the impact on children and families of discrimination on the basis of sexuality, in a book she co-edited with Italian law professor Roberto Virzo, “Orientación sexual y tutela de menores: perspectiva del derecho internacional y comparado.” Other chapters focus on the conflict between religion and other rights, LBGTQ+ and transnational law, embracing LGBTQ+ youth, international organizations and gender discrimination, and more.
She is also engaged in researching, writing, and co-editing works for an Oxford Handbook on International LGBTI Law from an international-comparative perspective.
With colleague Steve Powell (an expert in International Trade Law), Hernández-Truyol developed a new paradigm in 2009 that unveiled the intersections of trade and human rights regimes in, “Just Trade: A New Covenant Linking Trade and Human Rights” that explained how embracing the interdependence of these fields promotes human flourishing.
She graduated cum laude from Albany Law School after receiving her undergraduate degree from Cornell University. She earned her LL.M. from New York University School of Law.
Hon. Shirley Troutman ’85
After her confirmation on Jan. 12, Troutman became the newest Associate Judge on the New York State Court of Appeals. She is the second Black woman to serve on New York’s highest court.
Before her current role, she was a Justice on New York State's Appellate Division, Fourth Department.
Previously, she served as a trial judge in New York State Supreme Court, assigned to the Eighth Judicial District, where she handled matrimonial and general civil litigation matters. Before that she was a County Court Judge, where she handled felony criminal cases, appeals, and civil matters. Additionally, she served as a City Court Judge, where she presided over criminal and civil cases within that court's jurisdiction.
Academically, she has served as an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, a lecturer for the New York State Judicial Institute, a presenter in various CLE programs and seminars, and as a faculty member for the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence.
Prior to joining the bench, Troutman was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, Assistant State Attorney General and an Assistant District Attorney.
She is also designated as an Advanced Science Technology and Resource (ASTAR) fellow, which is a program sponsored by the United States Department of Justice. As an ASTAR fellow she serves as a resource judge for members of the judiciary of New York State handling complex cases involving scientific evidence.
Troutman was co-chair of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, appointed by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. The Commission is responsible for developing programs to address and eliminate barriers to racial and ethnic fairness within the court system and to help ensure equal justice in New York State. She was also a member of the Ethics Commission of the New York State Unified Court System and was a Member of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics.
She has received numerous honors including:
- M. Dolores Denman Award - WNY Chapter of WBASNY
- Legal Service Award - Minority Bar Association of WNY
- Achievement Award - Committee on Women in the Courts and Local Specialty Bar Associations
Troutman graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1982 with a degree in business administration before attending Albany Law.
Hon. Marsha D. Michael ’02
Michael is a justice for the Bronx County Supreme Court (Criminal Term) in the Twelfth Judicial District of New York.
Prior to her election in 2018, she served as a judge for the Criminal Court of the City of New York in Bronx County. She was elected to the New York City Civil Court in 2015 and designated to criminal court seat by Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks in 2016.
As a law student, Marsha dedicated herself to enhancing her legal research/writing skills and leadership skills. She also completed an international internship, at the American Chamber of Commerce, in Casablanca, Morocco.
After passing the bar exam in 2002, she returned to Bronx County where she worked at a small law firm. She represented many clients on civil cases and trust and estates matters as a first-year associate, often interviewing clients to draft pleadings. She became a law clerk in Bronx County Supreme Court, Civil Term, and later took a position working as the principal law clerk to a New York State Supreme Court Justice, sitting in the Criminal Term from 2007-2015. In November 2015, she was elected to the bench as a New York City Civil Court Judge in Bronx County.
Michael is a member of the Judicial Friends Organization, the Women’s Bar Association, Bronx Chapter, and the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association. She is also the Chair of the Gender Fairness Committee in Bronx County. She volunteers her time to work with many students who intern in her chambers and maintains an open-door policy in chambers where she mentors many students from the community.
To expand educational opportunities for all, she served as a trustee for and was the founding chair of the Ivy Hill Preparatory Charter School, an independent K-5 public elementary charter school in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Born in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, she earned her degree from Albany Law in 2002 after she received her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1997.
Rita Pasarell ’08
Pasarell is a co-founder of the Sexual Harassment Working Group (SHWG), a volunteer group of former New York State Legislature staffers, all of whom experienced or reported sexual harassment while working for the state.
In June 2018, the SHWG released a policy paper, and in 2019 it successfully advocated for the first public legislative sexual harassment hearings in more than 27 years. The group’s advocacy led to improved statewide discrimination and harassment protections, including New York’s elimination of the “severe or pervasive” standard, a high threshold previously required for workers seeking to prove harassment.
SHWG is currently advocating for its 2022 legislative agenda for additional improvements to worker protections.
Pasarell is a lawyer at the New York City Law Department.
She graduated from the University at Albany in 2004 before attending Albany Law School.