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July 01, 2020

ABA to co-sponsor ‘Black Lawyers in America’ town hall webinar series

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2020 — The three African Americans who have served as president of the American Bar Association will be featured in the first of a three-part webinar series titled “Black Lawyers in America: A National Town Hall Series” on Tuesday, July 7 from 1-2:30 p.m. EDT.

Former ABA presidents Dennis Archer, Paulette Brown and Robert Grey Jr., will be joined by a guest speaker, current ABA President Judy Perry Martinez, on the collaborative series co-sponsored by the ABA. Joseph K. West, partner and chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Duane Morris law firm, will serve as moderator.

The town hall series will examine the struggle for change and racial equity in the legal profession from the past, present and future. Dates for the final two sessions are to be scheduled.

Over the course of their distinguished careers, Archer, Brown and Grey have advocated for the change so many now seek and have helped create a foundation of racial equity upon which the legal profession can now build. The discussion will identify the issues and set the table for a solution-driven dialogue in subsequent sessions.

Following the webinar series, the ABA will produce and release a toolkit on the three programs and provide a Q&A framework that law firms and law department leaders can tailor to their needs


Dennis Archer is a noted attorney, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, two-term mayor of Detroit and the first person of color to serve as president of the American Bar Association (2003-04). He is chairman emeritus of the Detroit-based firm Dickinson Wright and focuses on labor and employment law.

Paulette Brown is senior partner and chief diversity & inclusion officer at Locke Lord LLP, where she is also a member of the labor & employment practice group. She served as president of the ABA from 2015-16 and is a past president of the National Bar Association. Throughout her career, she has held several positions, including in-house counsel to several Fortune 500 companies and as a municipal court judge. For more than 35 years, Brown has engaged in the private practice of law, focusing on all facets of labor and employment and commercial litigation. She regularly provides diversity and inclusion/implicit bias training to companies, law firms and industry organizations.

Robert Grey Jr. is president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and a board member of the Legal Services Corporation. He was president of the ABA from 2004-05. Grey is retired senior counsel at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, where he focused on regulatory, administrative and government-relations matters before state and local governments and their agencies.

Guest Speaker

Judy Perry Martinez is currently president of the ABA and of counsel at Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn. For the past 35 years, she has held various leadership positions with the ABA and served on numerous committees dealing with critical issues in law and society.


Joseph K. West is a partner in the Trial Practice Group at Duane Morris and practices in the area of complex litigation. He is also a member of the firm’s Partners Board and serves as the chief diversity and inclusion officer as well as chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Practice.

This event is open to members of the press. For media registration, please contact Robert Robinson at [email protected].

Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today’s legal and business challenges. Duane Morris manages its diversity and inclusion program with the objective of utilizing the best talent worldwide in solving legal problems. The firm recruits a diverse pool of lawyers that collectively possess an awareness of cutting-edge 21st century issues — legal, social and economic — for which clients require solutions. Because diversity management is integral to the core business of our management and each of our practice groups, our programs for the recruitment, retention and promotion of historically minority groups will continue and grow. The firm’s attorneys and its leadership believe in accentuating the added value that diverse attorneys possess and generating profitable new business opportunities from this added value.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at  and on Twitter @ABANews.