“Creative collaboration” is the tool that ABA President Paulette Brown will use as she undertakes an ambitious agenda to enhance diversity in the profession and increase the association’s membership.
In her Aug. 3 speech to the House of Delegates during the Annual Meeting in Chicago, Brown said her efforts to further the association’s work toward a more diverse and inclusive profession and to highlight the tremendous value of the ABA can only be achieved through association-wide collaboration as well as partnering with external organizations – efforts that are already taking place.
“We are a nation driven by interconnectedness of diverse, vibrant multicultural communities. Yet our profession does not reflect the people we serve,” she said. To rectify this, Brown, a partner at the law firm of Locke Lord in Morristown, New Jersey, has launched the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360, which aims to give lawyers from all backgrounds a “seat at the table” and to develop sustainable action plans for advancement of diversity over the next 10 years. The commission also will develop implicit bias training materials for judges, prosecutors and public defenders.
“Diversity and Inclusion will closely examine equal justice and rule of law issues to address a system where disparities are often stark and ambiguous,” Brown said.
As part of another initiative, Main Street ABA, Brown will visit at least two states a month during her presidency and invite young lawyers and law students to join her as she visits local Boys & Girls Clubs to plant the seeds that may produce future lawyers.
She also is planning “And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service,” a signature pro bono event Oct. 30 to mobilize tens of thousands of lawyers to volunteer their legal services.
Her fourth initiative, ABA Everyday, will promote the benefits of ABA membership and “showcase the tremendous value of our association, with all its entities, and help our members expand their legal skills, expand their connections to the legal community, and make the most of their personal time,” she said.
Brown has held numerous leadership positions within the ABA. She has been a member of the House of Delegates since 1997 and is a former member of the Board of Governors and its executive committee as well as the Governance Commission. She chaired the ABA Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice and is a past co-chair of the Commission on Civic Education in our Nation’s Schools. A former president of the of the National Bar Association, she has repeatedly been named as a New Jersey Super Lawyer and as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of commercial litigation.
Brown earned her J.D at Seton Hall University School of law and her B.A. from Howard University.