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August 02, 2023

Members of Task Force on Law, Society and the Judiciary

The Report of the Task Force on Law, Society and the Judiciary was primarily authored by the Task Force members. Thomas Susman, the ABA’s Strategic Advisor for Governmental Affairs & Global Programs, served as Strategic Advisor to the members. Anagha Sundararajan and Perpétua B. Chéry of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP were the Rapporteurs. Their bios are below.
The Task Force members thank Frank Valadez, Director, and Catherine E. Hawke, Associate Director, of the ABA’s Public Education Division, as well as Melyssa Eigen, Basil Fawaz, and Alexander Demircan of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP who contributed to the Report in various capacities.

Linda Klein (Task Force Chair): Klein, a shareholder with Baker Donelson in Atlanta, served as president of the ABA in 2016-2017. She previously served as chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates, the association’s policy-making body. She has also served as chair of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, chair of the Coalition for Justice, and chair of ABA Day, the association’s congressional outreach effort. President Jimmy Carter appointed Klein to The Carter Center Board of Councilors for the 2019–2022 term. She also currently serves on the boards of directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Presidential Precinct. Klein the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. She was honored as an ABA Margaret Brent Award winner in 2004.

Susan G. Braden (Member): Braden is a former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to which she was appointed in 2003 by President George
W. Bush. On March 13, 2017, she was designated as Chief Judge. Since her retirement from the federal bench, she has been appointed as a Public Member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a Fellow of the American Bar Association, and to the Boards of Directors of privately-held companies in the software, artificial intelligence, and construction industries. Judge Braden was designated as one of ten U.S. Arbitrators to resolve disputes under the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement) Treaty and is the Jurist-in-Residence for the Center for Intellectual Property and Policy, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.

Sherrilyn Ifill (Member): Ifill served as the seventh president and director- counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) from 2013 to 2022, and currently serves as president and director-counsel emeritus. Ifill began her career as a fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union before joining the staff of the LDF as an assistant counsel in 1988, where she litigated voting rights cases. Ifill taught civil procedure and constitutional law at the University of Maryland School of Law and pioneered a series of law clinics, including one focused on challenging legal barriers to the reentry of ex-offenders. In 2021, Ifill was appointed to President Joe Biden’s Commission on the Supreme Court. She received the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall Award at its Annual Meeting in 2022.

Wallace B. Jefferson (Member): Jefferson is co-chair of Alexander Dubose & Jefferson’s Texas Supreme Court and State Appellate Practice. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, he served as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, making history as the court’s first African American Justice and Chief Justice. He led the court’s efforts to fund access to justice programs, helped reform juvenile justice and inaugurated a statewide electronic filing system for Texas courts. During his time on the bench, Jefferson was elected president of the Conference of Chief Justices.

Melissa Murray (Member): Murray is a legal scholar and law professor at New York University. She clerked for Sonia Sotomayor on the Second Circuit and Stefan R. Underhill of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Before NYU, Murray was a tenured law professor at Cal Berkeley School of Law. She is a leading expert in family law, constitutional law and reproductive rights and justice. Murray’s award-winning research focuses on the legal regulation of intimate life and encompasses such topics as the regulation
of sex and sexuality, marriage and its alternatives and reproductive rights and justice. Murray’s scholarship has won several awards, including the Dukeminier Awards’ Michael Cunningham Prize. Murray also co-hosted the popular podcast “Strict Scrutiny,” which focuses on the U.S. Supreme Court and the legal culture surrounding it.

Hossein Nowbar (Member): Nowbar is General Counsel for Microsoft’s Corporate and Legal Affairs organization. He is also Microsoft’s Corporate Secretary. In his General Counsel capacity, Nowbar leads a dedicated team of professionals responsible for Microsoft’s intellectual property, litigation, compliance and ethics, competition and market regulation, HR and immigration, finance, M&A, business development, and legal operations functions. He also leads the strategic projects, pro bono, and cloud initiatives team focused on advancing Microsoft’s broader aspirations. In his Corporate Secretary capacity, Nowbar leads a dedicated team of professionals that oversee corporate governance and are responsible for providing strategic legal counsel to the Company’s business leaders on a broad range of legal and regulatory issues.

Wendy Shiba (Member): Shiba is principal at The Red Bee Group and a corporate attorney who served in executive positions for three companies. Shiba is a member of the ABA’s House of Delegates and Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services, and is vice chair of the Committee on Rights of Women of the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice. She previously served on the board of directors of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and the ABA Presidential Diversity & Inclusion 360 Commission. She is a past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and a co-founder of the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy. Shiba received the 2022 ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

Thomas Susman (Special Advisor): Susman is the ABA’s Strategic Advisor for Governmental Affairs and Global Programs. He assumed that role after retiring in 2018 as the Director of the Governmental Affairs Office and Associate Executive Director of the ABA. Prior to joining the ABA, he was a partner at Ropes & Gray LLP for 27 years. Before joining Ropes & Gray, Susman served in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of
Justice and then for over 11 years in various senior positions in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He chaired the Administrative Law Section of the ABA and served in the ABA’s House of Delegates and on its Board of Governors.
He is a graduate of Yale University and received his J.D. from the University of Texas Law School.

Anagha Sundararajan (Rapporteur): Sundararajan is an associate in the Litigation Department of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where her practice focuses on complex commercial matters and on appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Sundararajan is also a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where she taught a seminar on appellate practice.
Before joining Debevoise, Sundararajan clerked for the Hon. Judge Douglas P. Woodlock for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Hon. Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard for the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is also a recipient of the Temple Bar Scholarship for 2020
from the American Inns of Court.

Perpétua B. Chéry (Rapporteur): Chéry is an associate in the International Disputes Resolution and Public International Law groups at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Before joining the firm, she served as a clerk to H.E. Judge Mohamed Bennouna at the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands. Ms. Chéry received a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Global Law Scholar, and a Master’s in Economic Law from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). Prior to law school, Ms. Chéry worked extensively with governments and non-State actors throughout West and Central Africa on issues related to peace and security, governance, and human rights. She obtained a B.A. with honors from the University of Florida in 2011.