CHICAGO, Aug. 31, 2022 – Ernestine S. Gray, retired judge of the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court in Louisiana, has been named chair of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division. She took office at the ABA’s Annual Meeting earlier this month in Chicago.
The Judicial Division is the ABA's home to judges, lawyers, tribal members, court administrators, academics and students interested in the courts and the justice system.
Gray’s theme for the upcoming year is For Our Children: A Justice System that Protects, Corrects and Prepares. The goal is to bring attention to the impact of courts on the lives of children and families, while maintaining the division’s focus on the rule of law, diversity in the profession and security of judges.
Gray served 36 years as a judge. She was first elected to the Juvenile Court in 1984 and retired in 2020. She began her legal career with the Baton Rouge Legal Aid Society, handling family law cases, and later worked with the antitrust unit of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission.
She is past president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National Court Appointed Special Advocates and the local YMCA, YWCA and Volunteers of America.
As a judge, Gray developed innovative programs and is a recognized leader in the legal community. She was honored in 2020 with the Charles R. English Award for a lifetime of service from the ABA Criminal Justice Section. In presenting the award, an attorney praised Gray as a “champion for the children of this country” who worked “tirelessly to divert children from the path that leads to dependency, delinquency, prison and ruined lives.”
Gray has a juris doctor degree from Louisiana State University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College.
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.