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August 08, 2023

ABA President Mary L. Smith outlines priorities

Mary L. Smith became president of the American Bar Association on Aug. 8 at the end of the ABA Annual Meeting in Denver.

Stating that the theme of her term as president is “Lifting Our Voices, Charting the Future,” Smith announced the creation of an ABA Task Force for American Democracy, co-chaired by former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig and former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Charles Johnson. “This task force will consider and propose solutions for educating our citizens on the importance of an inclusive, strong and enduring democracy and help to provide bulwarks to bolster our democracy as conceived,” Smith said.

In addition, she spoke of the far-reaching effects of generative artificial intelligence, which she said would challenge democracy and, “frankly, all aspects of society.” Calling on lawyers “to harness both the promise – and the peril – of AI,” Smith announced the formation of an “AI task force that will take a comprehensive look at the use of AI and make recommendations on the impact on the practice of law, access to justice and laws and regulations.

“We are called again to lead the association through a thicket of challenges,” said the first female Native American president to lead the ABA. “There is no more critical time to be a member of the American Bar Association.”