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ABA president-elect nominee Reginald Turner seeks to fulfill lawyers' oath

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Reggie Turner

Photo by Mitch Higgins/ABA Media Relations

Reginald M. Turner believes that being a member of the American Bar Association is one of the most effective ways to fulfill the commitment lawyers make in their oath.

“In the oath, we pledge to support the constitutions of our nation and our state, to respect our courts and judges, to practice law with civility and integrity and to work to ensure that there are legal services available to people who cannot afford them,” he says.

This belief also motivated Turner, an executive committee member of Clark Hill in Detroit, to aspire to greater leadership within the ABA. Now the president-elect nominee, he has served in the ABA House of Delegates and as chair of its Rules and Calendar Committee from 2016 to 2018. His many other roles include being chair of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession from 2011 to 2014.

When considering what he hopes to accomplish during his term, Turner contends it’s important for every officer of the ABA to be cognizant of the association’s mission to defend liberty and deliver justice as the national representative of the legal profession.

“I believe that our members want the ABA to continue to address public policy issues that are central to the administration of justice, not unduly divisive or political, and upon which the ABA can have significant impact,” he says.

Turner adds that the rule of law is an important component of the ABA’s work, as well as ensuring members receive high-quality continuing legal education through methods that are convenient for them.

He also hopes during his term to continue to support the member value proposition and its aim to build a more engaged and financially stable association.

“The organization realized it needed to be more innovative in seeking and retaining members, and the progress is promising,” he says. “That initiative is bearing fruit, and that’s exciting news.”

Turner was nominated in February at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Austin, Texas. He will face a vote in August by the House of Delegates at the ABA Annual Meeting, after which he will become the president-elect.

Patricia Lee Refo is currently serving as president-elect and will assume her one-year term as president at the close of the annual meeting.

She will pass the gavel to Turner after the 2021 ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto.

The close of the 2020 ABA Annual Meeting will mark the end of Mary L. Smith’s three-year term as secretary and William R. Bay’s two-year term as chair of the House of Delegates.

Pauline A. Weaver, the owner of the Law Office of Pauline A. Weaver in Fremont, California, was nominated to assume Smith’s position.

She has previously served as a member of the Board of Governors and House of Delegates, and as the chair of the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division.

Barbara J. Howard, principal at Barbara J. Howard Co. in Cincinnati, was nominated to succeed Bay as the next chair of the House of Delegates.

She has served as chair of its Committee on Issues of Concern to the Legal Profession, Select Committee and Committee on Credentials and Admissions.

Michelle A. Behnke’s three-year term as treasurer also will end after the annual meeting. Kevin L. Shepherd, a partner with Venable in Baltimore, was nominated to assume her position. He has been a member of the Board of Governors since 2016 and serves as chair of its Finance Committee.

This article appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of the ABA Journal under the headline: “Making a Pledge: ABA president-elect nominee seeks to fulfill lawyers’ oath.”

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