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Thomas Susman

Strategic Advisor—Global Programs & Governmental Affairs

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Thomas M. Susman is the ABA’s Strategic Advisor for Governmental Affairs and Global Programs. He assumed that role after retiring in 2018 as the Director of the Governmental Affairs Office and Associate Executive Director of the American Bar Association, a position he held since May 2008.

Prior to joining the ABA, he was a partner in the Washington Office of Ropes & Gray LLP for 27 years. There his work included counseling, litigation, and lobbying on a wide range of regulatory, antitrust, healthcare, lobbying, ethics, and information law issues.

Before joining Ropes & Gray, Tom served on Capitol Hill for over 11 years. He was Chief Counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure and General Counsel to the Antitrust Subcommittee and to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Prior to that, he served in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice

He is a nationally recognized expert on lobbying, freedom of information, and administrative law. Tom co-edits the Lobbying Manual; served as an adjunct professor at The American University’s Washington College of Law; and chairs the Ethics Committee of the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics. His articles address lobbying reform, reciprocity, contingent fee lobbying, and campaign contributions. He has also written, taught, and lectured both in the U.S. and abroad on transparency, access to government information, and administrative law; he received the American Library Association’s “Champion of Public Access” award in 2009 and the Collaboration on Government Secrecy’s “Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend” award in 2008, and is Founding President of the D.C. Open Government Coalition.

His activities in the international arena include consulting, speaking, teaching, and election monitoring in over 30 countries spanning the globe from New Zealand to Russia, the Philippines to Chile, South Africa to France.

Tom chaired the Administrative Law Section of the ABA and served in the ABA’s House of Delegates and on its Board of Governors. He is a member of the American Law Institute, was Chairman of the National Judicial College Board, and was president of the District of Columbia Public Library Foundation. He is a graduate of Yale University and received his J.D. from the University of Texas Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Texas Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. In 2011 he was named Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Texas Law School. In November 2023, Tom was honored by the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics with its inaugural “Best Lobbyist” Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tom lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Susan Braden, retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. His four children and ten grandchildren are dispersed throughout the country.