About Us

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

As 2018-2019 Chair, I'm honored to serve this Division by working to provide practical, timely products and services to our members.

I have served as a state district court judge in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 2005.  

Prior to my election to the bench, I served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota from 1994-2004. From 1992-1994, I worked as a Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch in Washington DC.  

While at the Department of Justice, I was the first to litigate a case interpreting the John F. Kennedy Records Collection Act of 1992. I also defended the FBI’s investigation of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

I am pleased to bring my experience as a government litigator and judge to my position as Division Chair. Throughout my legal career, my membership in the ABA and the 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 Kiren Jahangeer at kiren.jahangeer@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,
Judge Susan Burke

About the Division
The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division's mission is to serve the nation’s public lawyers. By promoting integrity and excellence among public advocates, providing meaningful services not obtainable elsewhere, and by highlighting the extraordinary work of public lawyers, GPSLD works to enhance the position of public lawyers, create camaraderie within the public sector, and provide representation within the ABA for public lawyers.

Information about Serving on Council
In the spring, the Division contacts state bars, relevant ABA entities and ABA affiliated organizations seeking nominations to council. The Division’s Nominating Committee also nominates at-large members to council. Nominees then stand for election in August at the ABA Annual Meeting. Council member terms are three years and they are eligible to serve two three-year terms. Council members are required to attend three council meetings per year.

More about GPSLD
Officers and Council
Mission Statement
Diversity Plan


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