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Judy Perry Martinez takes over as ABA President

Judy Perry Martinez became the American Bar Association’s 143rd president when the House of Delegates adjourned Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco. Martinez, who has held leadership positions in the ABA for more than 30 years, will serve a one-year term as president ending in August 2020. 

New Orleans attorney Judy Perry Martinez became the American Bar Association president at the conclusion the ABA Annual Meeting.

New Orleans attorney Judy Perry Martinez became the American Bar Association president at the conclusion the ABA Annual Meeting.

Martinez, who has held leadership positions in the ABA for more than 30 years, will serve a one-year term as president ending in August 2020.

“The American Bar Association will continue to stand up for an independent judiciary and bolster the integrity of our democratic institutions, especially those that depend on due process, equality, civility, respect, and fairness,” Martinez said.

She is of counsel at Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn in New Orleans. Her previous positions with the ABA include chair of the ABA Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services (2014-16). She also was a member of the ABA Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System. In 2011, she was appointed chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which evaluates all prospective nominees to the federal bench. Martinez has served as the ABA lead representative to the United Nations and as a member of the ABA Board of Governors and its executive committee.

Martinez was chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, and a member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

A member of the ABA House of Delegates since 1991, Martinez has been a member of the ABA Task Force on Attorney Client Privilege, the Council of the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity and the ABA’s World Justice Project Committee.

Martinez said she will devote her year as president to fulfilling the ABA’s core goals. She said she wants to rally the legal profession to do more to champion the rule of law and create a public dialogue regarding trust and respect for our justice system. Since this is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed and protected women’s right to vote, Martinez said she would use the centennial to highlight how the law relates today to equal rights and our democracy. The 19th Amendment will be the Law Day 2020 theme.

“As lawyers, advancing the rule of law, which protects everyone’s liberties, is of paramount importance,” Martinez said. “The ABA will work to increase public awareness, so more people understand the vital role they can play in protecting democracy. Working together, we can ensure that laws are fair and justly enforced, and our rights are never taken for granted.”

Martinez worked for Northrop Grumman from 2003 to 2015, where she served as assistant general counsel for litigation managing litigation for the western half of the country before becoming Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer in 2011. Martinez then became a Fellow at the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard, where she spent a year in residence.

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