September 26, 2016

Member Spotlight: Jack Hardin Young

Jack Hardin Young is a national and international expert on election administration and the establishment of democratic governance, and the resolution of electoral disputes, challenges and recounts.

Tell us a little bit about your career.

I’ve been a national and international expert on election administration and the establishment of democratic governance, and the resolution of electoral disputes, challenges and recounts. I’ve also been an administrative law and regulation attorney for more than 40 years. I’m currently senior counsel at SandlerReiff in Washington, D.C.

I’ve tried cases throughout the United States in the state and federal courts as well as in arbitrations in Europe. I also have been involved in strategic planning in U.S. elections and in supporting political transitions and state building in the Philippines, Armenia, Turkey, Mexico, and Afghanistan, and in developing preventive electoral mediation programs in Nigeria. I have participated in rule of law programs in Poland, Turkey, Ireland, Japan, Georgia and the United States.

I’m the editor of "International Election Remedies," which will be published this fall. I was the editor and a contributor to "International Election Principles: Democracy & the Rule of Law" (ABA Press, fall 2008). I just completed a three-year term as chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Election Law. I’m also an adjunct professor of international and comparative election law at William & Mary Law School, and a former Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the George Mason University School of Law.

In the Senior Lawyers Division, I’ve served as vice chair of the pro bono committee, chair of the non-dues revenue committee and chair of the programming committee. I will take over as chair of the Division in August 2017.

How were you involved in the 2000 presidential election recount that led to the Bush v. Gore U.S. Supreme Court decision?

I was one of Al Gore’s lead recount attorneys in Florida in 2000, and I was the lead lawyer involved in the actual recount process. It was an interesting and frustrating process, as I had advocated for an early statewide recount – which did not occur until, at least in the eyes of a majority of the Supreme Court in issuing the recount stay, it was too late. I’m featured in the movie "Recount."

Is your career what you had planned when you started law school?

When I went to law school it was the next stage on the education path. I really did not think hard about the alternatives. If I had, I still would have gone to law school. I went to the University of Virginia Law School and loved it.

What advice would you give to someone considering law school today?

Decide if you really want to be a lawyer. If the answer is "yes" then do it; if not, go graduate in a field for which you have a passion.

What were the biggest changes you saw in the legal profession over the course of your career?

The biggest changes are related to technology. When I graduated from law school, discovery, even in large cases, was all done by hand. I was involved in the creation of an ABA program and book in the early 1980s titled "Computers in Litigation." It opened my eyes to the potential for the automation of the document management process. Today, you would be negligent not to be heavily invested in electronic document management and discovery.