chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
August 21, 2019

ABA Welcomes New Leadership

Congratulations to Incoming and Sincerest Thanks to Outgoing ABA Leaders

On August 13th, the gavel passed from ABA now-Past President Bob Carlson to ABA President Judy Perry Martinez at the end of the ABA’s annual meeting in San Francisco. President Martinez hails from Louisiana and from Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn in New Orleans.  She has been active in the ABA for over 35 years, holding various leadership positions including Chair of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, ABA lead representative to the United Nations, and member of the ABA Board of Governors and its Executive Committee.  Excited to take the helm of this great organization, in her first speech as President, President Martinez voiced support for due process for asylum seekers and other immigrants, governmental actions to end gun violence, and equality within the legal profession and the country. As one of her first official duties, President Martinez is scheduled to provide pro bono support at the southern border of the United States later this month, putting personal action behind her professional commitment to advance the rule of law and protect personal liberties.

Also ascending to a new leadership position is ABA President-Elect Patricia Lee “Trish” Refo. President-Elect Refo is a partner at the Phoenix office of Snell & Wilmer. President-Elect Refo’s previous ABA leadership positions include Chair of the House of Delegates, Chair of the Litigation Section, and Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Membership, among several other ABA positions and state bar positions. President-Elect Refo will also be providing pro bono legal services at the border later this month.

William “Bill” Bay will continue to serve as Chair of the ABA House of Delegates, the policymaking arm of the ABA, helping to manage the dozens of new policies offered for consideration at each meeting and to report back to the House on the impact other ABA policies have already had. Immediate Past Chair of the House of Delegates Deborah Enix-Ross will serve a second year as Chair for the ABA Day in Washington 2020 planning committee.

As the ABA welcomes these new leaders and wishes them well, we also thank Immediate Past President Bob Carlson for leading this Association with unending professionalism and heart this year. Past President Carlson will now return to Butte, Montana where he is a shareholder for the law firm of Corette Black Carlson and Mickelson. We also thank Past President Hilarie Bass for her last three years of service in the ABA’s senior leadership. In addition to pursuing new professional opportunities as Chair of the University of Miami Board of Trustees and founder of the Bass Institute for Diversity and Inclusion, Ms. Bass has agreed to serve as Chair of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative Council for the next year.   

The ABA is fortunate to have such high-quality leaders at all levels of our association. Congratulations to each of them and sincerest thanks for their enduring commitment to the legal profession and to advancing the policy interests of the American Bar Association. For more information about ABA leaders in the Office of the President, please visit