Benes Aldana

Benes Aldana: Leader Among Leaders


Who is that person that you see just below George W. Bush’s right hand? Why, it’s our own Benes Aldana. Benes is the Vice Chair of the Military Law Committee and a member of the Long-Range Planning Committee in the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division. He is grateful to James Durant, GPSS Nominating Committee Chair, for introducing him to the ABA through the YLD.

Benes immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1980. Benes majored in political science at Seattle University, where he was the student body president. He also was an intern on Capitol Hill. He began his legal career in the Coast Guard immediately after graduation from the University of Washington School of Law.

He finds working for the Coast Guard to be a fulfilling job because he is part of a law enforcement and humanitarian organization that is charged with numerous missions: maritime search and rescue, International Ice Patrol operations, polar and domestic waterway icebreaking, bridge administration, aids to navigation, recreational boating safety, vessel traffic management, at-sea enforcement of living marine resource laws and treaty obligations, at-sea drug and illegal migrant interdiction, and port security and safety.

As a Coast Guard attorney, Benes is able to do something different every few years. Currently, he is a trial attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. For more information on the Coast Guard Direct Commission Lawyer Program, check out

Benes is married to his high school sweetheart, and they have a nine-year-old son. In his spare time, he is training for the Marine Corps marathon and coaches his son’s soccer team.

Someday soon do not be surprised if you see Benes sitting on the bench or serving the public in an elected capacity. In the meantime, though, he is a true leader among leaders. Benes has a long history of community and bar involvement. Take a look at what he is currently doing and what he has already accomplished:

Current Bar Year
ABA President’s Advisory Council on Diversity in the Profession
ABA Working Group on Protecting the Rights of Service Members
Section of Litigation Young Lawyer Leadership Program
Section of Litigation Environmental Litigation Committee
YLD Liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law
YLD Liaison to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division
Diversity Committee Chair, 2002–2003
Liaison to the ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, 2002–2003
Long Range Planning Committee, 2002–2003

ABA Commission Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession
ABA National Conference for the Minority Lawyer, Planning Committee & Faculty Member, 2001–2003

Young Lawyers Division
National Conference Team, 2002–2003
Resolutions Committee, 2001–2003
Environment, Energy & Resources Law, Executive Subcommittee, 2002–2003
2003 Annual Meeting Environmental Law Hot Topics CLE Planning Committee
Coast Guard Delegate to the YLD, 1997–2003
Diversity Director, 2001–2002
Liaison to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, 2001–2002
2001 ABA Diversity Summit Participant
2002 National Conference of Bar Presidents Workshop Presenter on “Learning from Bar Leaders of Color”
ABA Legal Equal Opportunity Scholars Mentor, 2001–2002
2002 Annual Meeting Host Committee Member
2002 ABA/JAG Dining Out Committee Chair
District Representative, Federal & Military Bar, 1999–2001
Assistant Executive Council Coordinator, 1999–2000
Minorities in the Profession Committee Chair, 2000–2001
Special Committee on the Future of the Profession, 2000–2001
Assembly Parliamentarian, 2000–2001
Membership Board, 2000–2001
Judge, Awards Team, 2000–2001
Minorities in the Profession Committee Vice Chair, 1999–2000
Co-Chair & Moderator of CLE on Racial & Ethnic Profiling at 2000 Annual Meeting
Chair, 2000 Young Military Lawyer Service Awards
Judge, Awards of Achievement, 2000 Annual Meeting
Spring AOP Host Committee, 2000 (Star of the Quarter Recipient)
Vice Chair, General Practice Solo & Small Firm, Military Law Committee, 1999–2002
Vice Chair, YLD Military Service Lawyer Committee, 1997–1999
YLD Long Range Planning Committee, Bar Leadership Task Force, 1998–2000

ABA Grassroots Action Team Member, 2000–2003

The Washington Center, National Alumni Advisory Board, Vice Chair, 2000–2004
Judge Advocate Association, Board of Directors, 2001–2004
Philippine-American Bar Association, Secretary, 2002–2004
APABA of Greater District of Columbia, Vice President for Programs, 2000–2001
Bar Leadership Institute Coordinator, 2000 NAPABA National Convention
President, Farmwell Hunt Homeowners Association, Board of Directors, 2000–2003
President, National Association of Minority Leaders, 1999–2000
The Washington Center, Minority Leaders Fellowship Program Advisory Board, 1997–99
Washington State Bar Association’s Task Force on Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession, 1995–96

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