ABA president-elect confirmed, woman of color next in line
Posted Mar 31, 2013 11:59 PM CST
By James Podgers
As the ABA Nominating Committee confirmed its selection of a president-elect nominee, it also had its first meeting with the attorney who is seeking to be the first woman of color to lead the organization.
William C. Hubbard, a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Columbia, S.C., is running unopposed, so the committee’s announcement after a short executive session came as absolutely no surprise. But waiting to get the official word gives rise to a bit of anxiety, Hubbard said.
“It still comes as a relief” to hear that the nomination is official, he said. “I’m glad the nominating process is concluded because I’m anxious to get to work. Now I can start planning in a productive way.”
The next day Hubbard told the ABA House of Delegates the association must reach out to younger members of the profession. Speaking at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Hubbard told of his first ABA meeting, when he felt lost in the huge hotel, then under different management. He recalled how leaders in the ABA Young Lawyers Division made him feel welcome and how he soon be-came involved in the association. Hubbard served as chair of the House from 2008 to 2010.
Today, Hubbard said, too many young lawyers are lost because they don’t have jobs, they face a mountain of debt and their future is uncertain. They are probably not ABA members, he said, and they may never become members unless things change.
He cited some statistics to illustrate the problem. Currently, only 17.3 percent of law students are ABA members. Fewer than 20 percent of young lawyers retain their membership in the association after a one-year membership following law school.
“We must nurture the next generation of lawyers,” Hubbard said. “The future of our association and our profession depends on it. The ABA must be the place where young lawyers can find the guidance and support they need to be successful.”
The House will go through the formality of confirming Hubbard as president-elect in August at the annual meeting in San Francisco. He will begin his one-year term as president at the close of the 2014 annual meeting in Boston.
‘MORE CAN BE DONE’
Paulette Brown made her first formal appearance before the nominating committee as a candidate for president-elect. Because she is running unopposed, her election is virtually assured. Brown is a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer who is based in Madison, N.J. She has served in the House of Delegates since 1997, and is a past member of the Board of Governors. She co-chairs the Commission on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools, serves on the Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession, and is a council member for the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
“I know it sounds hokey, but I believe I’ve contributed in a number of ways, and I believe I can contribute more,” Brown said. “More can be done to demonstrate that the ABA has value. I hope I can use my persuasive skills to show American lawyers the great work we do.”
Meanwhile, two candidates announced they are running to become chair of the House of Delegates starting in August 2014. They are Patricia L. Refo, a Phoenix-based partner at Snell & Wilmer, and Mark I. Schickman, a partner with Freeland Cooper & Foreman in San Francisco.
And the nominating committee selected G. Nicholas Casey Jr. as its nominee to become the association’s treasurer and Mary T. Torres to serve as ABA secretary. Casey is a member of Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins in Charleston, W.Va., and Torres is a member of Beall & Biehler in Albuquerque, N.M.