Turner noted several hopeful signs for the association, starting with the ABA’s diversity pipeline programs — the Judicial Clerkship Program, the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program and the Legal Opportunity Scholarship — which “call to mind when a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court spoke to a group of us law students and encouraged us to be active in the bar. I later clerked for that justice, [past ABA president] Dennis Archer, and he has been my primary mentor ever since.”
He urged the delegates to “reflect on your own commitment to welcoming new, diverse generations of lawyers — smart, eager and dedicated individuals who see a career in law as a higher calling to achieve justice for all under the rule of law.”
Turner, a member of the law firm Clark Hill PLC, thanked those who rose to the challenge and helped the ABA reaffirm its commitment to diversity among the panelists and speakers at CLE programs. “We will no doubt continue to face challenges on diversity and inclusion, but our demonstrated persistence on overcoming whatever obstacles arise leave me deeply hopeful,” he said.
In addition, Turner thanked the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. “Many Americans were deeply impressed by the committee’s informed, apolitical testimony on the unassailable professional qualifications of Ketanji Brown Jackson,” for the Supreme Court, he said.
Other bright spots the outgoing president saw were “the ABA’s engagement with our partners in Ukraine as we stand in solidarity in support of international law” and the association’s work to assist Afghan refugees.
Turner also pointed to the success of ABA Free Legal Answers, which in seven years has been adopted by most state bars and seen “nearly 250,000 civil legal questions from low-income people … and more than 10,000 volunteer lawyers have signed up to answer them.” That program, he said, was just part of the ABA’s unwavering support of legal aid and pro bono with events like ABA Day in Washington, the National Celebration of Pro Bono and the annual Equal Justice Conference.
The ABA responded to the troubling threats to judicial security as “a leading advocate for legislation that would limit disclosure of federal judges’ personal information, and we were pleased when Congress enacted legislation to protect Supreme Court justices and their families,” he said.
Turner concluded by saying, “Lawyers like you are the sunshine I see over the horizon. Lawyers like you feed my hope for our profession and legal system.
“You are what our profession’s commitment to the rule of law is all about.”
President-elect Mary L. Smith looks to lawyers to play ‘special role’
“It’s the people who keep democracy alive but we as lawyers have unique skills and a special role to play,” said President-elect Mary L. Smith when she addressed the HOD on Aug. 9.