The Section is pleased to announce that one of its own Council members, Paulette Brown, has been named as a recipient of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, to be presented at the upcoming 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association in Toronto.
This year, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession has selected five women lawyers to receive this distinguished award, which was established in 1991 to honor outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty, paving the way to success for other women. The award is named for Margaret Brent, the first woman lawyer in the United States, noted for winning each of her 124 court cases between 1638 and 1648. The award winners are selected each year based on their professional achievements and their role in opening doors for other women lawyers. The Section is thrilled to see such an honor bestowed on Paulette Brown.
Brown is a partner and the first chief diversity officer at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP. Over the past thirty years, she has held a number of positions, and has focused on labor and employment issues most recently. She is a past president of the National Bar Association, the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, and the YWCA of New Jersey. She has been a frequent contributor to books and publications, and a speaker at distinguished scholarly engagements. To say that Paulette Brown has achieved professional excellence and opened doors for other women lawyers would be a bit of an understatement.
A Mentor to Countless Women Attorneys
Brown has been a mentor and a guide to countless women attorneys, though she had no such mentor herself. She did not know any women lawyers as a young adult but wound up sharing a room with two women planning to become attorneys at Howard University, and there her interest was sparked. Though she did not grow up with a role model within the legal profession, Brown’s parents inspired her to achieve academically, and encouraged her to challenge traditional gender roles. She also credits her parents with instilling in her the value of giving back, ingraining a spirit of voluntarism and charity.
Alhough she has had more than 30 years as a practicing attorney, Brown says she is still learning. In fact, she has sought out peer mentors, even as she continues to mentor new attorneys and students. Her son jokes that she has 216 children, as her love for helping others causes her to stay closely engaged with friends, family, and mentees. One of Brown’s proudest achievements as a mentor is to hear that women she has advised and counseled are now reaching back to help other women, and continuing to give back. Knowing that this legacy continues makes Brown feel she can indeed retire one day.
An Active Member of the Community
Outside of her professional accomplishments and mentorship, Brown gives back to her community and to causes about which she feels passionate. This July, for the fourth consecutive year, Brown will join thousands for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60-mile walk to support breast cancer research. She feels this cause needs her continued support, and this is indicative of Brown’s energy and outlook on mentorship. She sees her role going forward as continuing to encourage women and build support systems for them. She sees success as a combination of hard work and being prepared. We are so pleased that her hard work and dedication have been recognized with the prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. Please join us in congratulating Paulette Brown.