CHICAGO, July 31, 2023 — American Bar Association President Deborah-Enix Ross announced today that Alpha M. Brady has been named the association’s new Executive Director, following an extensive nationwide search. Ms. Brady is the first person of color to lead the ABA, the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world.
“It gives me great pleasure to make this historic announcement,” President Enix-Ross said. “Alpha has a deep well of knowledge about the association and the needs of its members based on her many years of experience. Her vision for the American Bar Association’s future and her talents at leading a large organization are exactly what we need today.”
As Executive Director, Ms. Brady has overall management responsibility for staff operations at the association’s headquarters in Chicago, at its Washington, D.C., office and at program sites in Texas, California and some 60 countries throughout the world. She oversees a staff of more than 1,000 and a consolidated budget of more than $200 million.
The Executive Director is also responsible for membership and non-dues revenue programs, directs implementation of the ABA’s strategic goals and has responsibility for programs and activities adopted by the ABA’s governing and policymaking bodies, the Board of Governors and House of Delegates.
“I am deeply honored and excited to lead the ABA,” Ms. Brady said. “Our association is the national voice of the legal profession. Our members are devoted to defending the rule of law in the United States and around the world, and our dedicated professional staff is second to none. I look forward to working with every lawyer, judge and legal professional in the country to improve our nation’s justice system.”
The ABA Board of Governors selected Ms. Brady for the Executive Director position following a nationwide search that was overseen by a committee of ABA volunteer leaders working with international search firm Korn Ferry.
“I am confident that we have chosen the best candidate to lead the ABA at this moment in time,” said Palmer Gene Vance II, who headed the committee and is chair of the ABA House of Delegates, the association’s policymaking body. “During our search, we evaluated many outstanding candidates. Alpha Brady, with her long history within the ABA and her abundant talents as a leader, stood out as clearly the best.”
Ms. Brady has been serving as ABA Interim Executive Director since the departure of former Executive Director Jack Rives in March. She joined the ABA staff in 1988 after a year as assistant corporation counsel with the City of Chicago. She rose through the ranks at the association, starting as assistant director of the ABA Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession (now the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession). Later, she became special assistant to the president, director of policy administration, senior manager of the Governance and Public Services Group, and senior associate director and chief governance officer.
Ms. Brady was named Deputy Executive Director in September 2022, serving on the Executive Director’s Leadership Team along with the ABA general counsel, chief financial officer and chief of staff. She holds a juris doctor degree from the Northwestern University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois.
The American Bar Association 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.