Let say the kinetic rate of neutralization $$\ce{CH3COOH + OH- -> CH3COO- + H2O}$$ is $k_\mathrm{f}[\ce{CH3COOH}][\ce{OH-}]$ And the kinetic rate of hydrolysis is $$\ce{CH3COO- + H2O -> CH3COOH + OH-}$$ is $k_\mathrm{b}[\ce{CH3COO-}][\ce{H2O}]=k_\mathrm{b}^{*}[\ce{CH3COO-}]$ Then the equilibrium constant of the neutralization is $K = k_f/k_b^*$.


Perhaps the nitrogen next to the aromatic ring could attack the carbonyl group. However: The bulky phenyl group is closer to the reaction site, and thus causes more steric interference, than would be the case with the primary nitrogen attack. The nitrogen next to the phenyl ring conjugates its electron pair to the ring just as in a typical aromatic amine, ...

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