Midyear Meeting

President-elect nominee emphasizes membership, collaboration

Paulette Brown acknowledges the symbolic value of her nomination to become the first woman of color to lead the ABA.

“Whenever one is the first anything the expectations are a bit different,” Brown said in a speech to the association’s House of Delegates on Monday. The expectations will be high, she said, and she will do her best to meet them.

Brown is nominated to become ABA president in 2015, an accomplishment she says is not entirely her own. “I know I stand on the shoulders of giants and unsung heroes, and I did not get here on my own,” she said.

Brown told the ABA Journal in an interview on Sunday that her goal is to make the ABA “the go-to organization for all lawyers, everywhere.” In her speech to the ABA House, Brown said she has heard members’ concerns about membership numbers and was curious why some people didn’t join the association.

After speaking with some nonmembers, Brown said, she learned that many weren’t aware of the magnitude of ABA services and benefits.

In addition to membership, Brown said her concerns include legal education, the lack of employment for law school graduates and the future of the legal profession.

Brown emphasized collaboration among all components of the ABA, calling the sections “a critical spoke.”

“I know that working together, widening our net, having diversity of opinion and thought, we can accomplish great things,” she said.

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