Midyear Meeting

Nominating Committee Selects New York Lawyer James Silkenat to Become ABA President


Running as an unopposed candidate, James R. Silkenat has known for more than a year that his selection to become president-elect nominee of the ABA was inevitable. But still, standing in a hallway outside the room where the ABA Nominating Committee was confirming that result in executive session, Silkenat acknowledged that the final wait was cause for a good case of butterflies.

“Oh, huge, still,” said Silkenat. “Until they’re finished meeting, they’re still not finished meeting.”

But the Nominating Committee finished its meeting soon enough, and now Silkenat can fret a bit about his first official speech as president-elect nominee to the ABA House of Delegates when it convenes on Monday during the association’s 2012 Midyear Meeting in New Orleans. The House is scheduled to hold a one-day session that will close out the week-long meeting.

In the ABA, a presidential nominee chosen by the Nominating Committee is virtually assured of becoming president according to rules of succession set forth in the association’s constitution and bylaws. Under that process, Silkenat, a partner at Sullivan & Worcester in New York City, will be president-elect nominee until the House officially votes to name him president-elect in August at the Annual Meeting in Chicago. Silkenat will then serve a year as president-elect before automatically becoming president at the close of the 2013 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. He will serve a one-year term as president.

Silkenat is a past chair of the ABA Section of International Law and the Section Officers Conference. He currently is secretary of the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and a member of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. He is a past chair of the World Justice Project, of which the ABA was a founding sponsor.

The Nominating Committee also selected Robert M. Carlson to serve as chair of the House of Delegates. He also was running unopposed, making his final confirmation by the House of Delegates a given. Carlson, a member at Corette Pohlman & Kebe in Butte, Mont., will start serving his two-year term in August at the close of the Annual Meeting.

Silkenat already knows who will follow him as president. William C. Hubbard, a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Columbia, S.C., also is running unopposed. The Nominating Committee will formally select him as president-elect nominee at the 2013 Midyear Meeting in Dallas. Hubbard, a past chair of the House of Delegates, will become president-elect in August 2013, then start his one-year term as president in August 2014.

There is a little more doubt about who will be the next nominees for the offices of ABA treasurer and secretary, where there are contested races.

The two candidates for treasurer are Timothy L. Bertschy, a partner at Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen in Peoria, Ill.; and G. Nicholas Casey Jr., a member of Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins in Charleston, W.V.

The three candidates for secretary are Mary L. Smith, an attorney in the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Chicago; Mary T. Torres, a member of Beall & Biehler in Albuquerque, N.M.; and Pauline A. Weaver, a sole practitioner in Fremont, Calif.

The Nominating Committee will select candidates for treasurer and secretary at the 2013 Midyear Meeting. The candidates selected and confirmed by the House of Delegates will serve as treasurer-elect and secretary-elect for a year starting in August 2013, then start three-year terms as treasurer and secretary in August 2014.

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