About Us

Sharon Pandak

Sharon Pandak

Welcome to the ABA's Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division!

As public sector attorneys, we all have skills and talents that no mere mortals have attained. Can you write a brief faster than your colleagues on four hours of sleep and copious cups of coffee? Are you powerful enough to convince a roomful of city councilmembers that the legal strategy they envision is unsound? Can you leap over tall stacks of pleadings to find that one file that everyone in the office is franticly searching for? Public sector lawyers are super. What is your super power?

I am delighted to be serving as Division chair this year. Let me tell you a bit about myself. After graduating from the College of William and Mary and its Marshall-Wythe School of Law, I served in the Prince William County Attorney’s office in Virginia and later became the County Attorney, serving in that position for 15 years. I continue to represent localities, other public entities and associations interested in public policy as a partner of Greehan, Taves & Pandak PLLC, Woodbridge, Virginia. I am also General Counsel for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

My goal this year is to manifest and grow our commitment to protect, enhance and promote public service, our vocation. Harkening back to the superpower theme, one of the ways I want to do that is to promote the good work that members across the country are doing. Have you received an award, or been singled out for a special commendation? Have you worked on a project or served on a board that accomplished something so cool? Send us your accomplishments at GPSLD@americanbar.org and we will publish them in our GPSLD newsletter. We have a professional obligation to nurture our profession and champion it.

Throughout my legal career, my membership in the ABA and this Division has enhanced my skills and has been an important part of my professional life. It's both enjoyable and worthwhile and I'm confident that the same will be true for you. Please review the Division’s activities detailed below as well as the other pages on this website. You'll see that there are many ways for members to become involved and I hope you'll decide to do so.

The Division presents CLE programming on a variety of topics. From FOIA to negotiation skills, to ethics, we have something for every public sector lawyer. We present most of our programs in a convenient webinar format.

Outreach to law students is one of the Division's top priorities. The Division’s Public Lawyer Career Program, designed to provide law students information about various public sector jobs, practical advice about securing positions and general job-hunting tips has helped hundreds of law students. Using a user-friendly toolkit, Division members are encouraged to present a program in their community. Please contact Alison Hill at alison.hill@americanbar.org for more information on presenting a program.

All Division members receive the quarterly e-newsletter, Pass It On, which reports on Division activity and carries pieces on topics such as obtaining grants for public law offices, determining who is the government lawyer's client, and improving office efficiency. The Division's magazine, The Public Lawyer, provides the latest information on complex issues such as government attorney-client privilege, the hiring of private outside counsel, politically motivated dismissals, and government sponsored social media.

Our Pro Bono Webpage features a step-by-step guide to creating a government office pro bono program; sample federal, state, and local government office policies; relevant articles; and other helpful links. The Division's members-only Public Law Office Management webpage offers resources on improving communication with clients, dealing with the media, supervising employees, and staff mentoring programs.     

Created to provide benefits and services for military lawyers, the Division's Military Lawyers Conference (MLC) continues to thrive. The MLC offers online resources such as information on transitioning to civilian life and professional development opportunities. Membership in the Military Lawyers Conference is free for Division members and I encourage all interested members to join.  

The Hodson, Dorsey and Nelson awards are presented annually at the General E. E. Anderson Awards Reception, to an exceptional public law office and to outstanding public lawyers.  These awards provide an opportunity to recognize the extraordinary achievements of public lawyers and to help the community at large gain a better understanding and appreciation of their important work.  

If you are already a Division member and want to become more involved, please browse our webpage for information about serving on a committee, writing an article, or proposing a project. If you are not a Division member, I hope that you will join us. We warmly welcome your involvement in our dynamic group.

Should you have questions or comments please contact us at GPSLD@americanbar.org. I welcome your suggestions.

Very truly yours,
Sharon Pandak
Chair

More about GPSLD

Officers and Council

Mission Statement

Diversity Plan

Contact Us

American Bar Association
Government & Public Sector Lawyers Division
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Phone: 202-662-1020
Fax: 202-662-1751
Email: gpsld@americanbar.org

For general inquiries, please contact the ABA Service Center at 1-800-285-2221 or service@americanbar.org