ABA Nominating Committee picks candidates for top 4 leadership positions
The House of Delegates will go through the formality of making the elections official in August when it convenes during the association’s 2016 annual meeting in San Francisco.
Due to the different lengths of time that officers serve, this is one of those uncommon years in which all four of the ABA’s officer positions are voted on at the same time. The most recent year in which it happened was 2010.
But even more notable is the fact that, for the first time in the ABA’s history, the nominees for all four positions—president-elect, chair of the House of Delegates, secretary and treasurer—are women, including two African-Americans and one Native American.
The Nominating Committee’s action sends an important message to the ABA membership and the legal profession as a whole, said Hilarie Bass shortly after her selection to become president-elect became official at the midyear meeting.
“One of the challenges of diversity is that we’ve made huge progress in making American law schools more diverse while there is less diversity in law firms,” Bass said. “And that explains why young lawyers, especially women and people of color, are leaving law firms. It’s not just about diversity; it’s about a sense of belonging. Diversity in the ABA’s leadership shows younger lawyers that there is a place for them in the profession.”
Bass, a shareholder and co-president at Greenberg Traurig in Miami, will become president-elect in August after a House vote at the annual meeting. She will then automatically take office as president for a one-year term starting at the close of the 2017 annual meeting in New York City.
Another first for the ABA is the fact that Bass will be the third woman in a row to serve as the association’s president. She will follow the current president, Paulette Brown, a partner at Locke Lord in Morristown, New Jersey, who is the first African-American woman to hold the office; and Linda A. Klein of Atlanta, who is managing shareholder in the Georgia offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Klein will begin her term as president in August.
The other candidates the Nominating Committee selected to serve as association officers are:
Deborah Enix-Ross, an African-American, who will become chair of the House of Delegates for a two-year term starting in August. She is senior adviser to the international dispute resolution group at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City.
Mary L. Smith, who will become ABA secretary for a three-year term starting in August 2017. She is an attorney with the Office of the Special Deputy Receiver in Chicago. She is a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation.
Michelle A. Behnke, an African-American, who will become ABA treasurer starting in August 2017. She is principal at Michelle Behnke & Associates in Madison, Wisconsin.
In other action, the Nominating Committee announced its choices to fill 13 seats on the Board of Governors, whose membership will increase from 38 to 43 as a result of changes in the ABA’s governance structure that were adopted by the House in 2015. Those changes will bring more diversity to the Board by creating two at-large seats to be filled by women and two at-large seats to be filled by minorities. Another new position on the Board will be filled by a member who self-identifies either as LGBT or as having a disability.
The nominees to the Board of Governors will serve three-year terms starting in August. Six of the nominees will represent regional districts, and five will represent sections.
WHO SHE IS: Shareholder and co-president at Greenberg Traurig in Miami, where she also served eight years as national chair of the litigation department. Member of ABA House of Delegates in 1988-95 and again since 2000. Currently serves on Nominating Committee as state delegate from Florida. Member of House Committee on Issues of Concern to the Legal Profession in 2008-2010. Chaired Rules and Calendar Committee in 2012-14, Select Committee in 2006-08, and Admissions and Credentials Committee in 2002-04. Member of Board of Governors in 1990-93. Member of Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline. Member of Commission on Women in the Profession in 2002-05. Past chair of Legal Opportunity Scholarship Committee (2005-08), Midyear Meeting Host Committee (2007 and 1995), council for the Fund for Justice and Education (1999-2002), Standing Committee on Meetings and Travel (1998-99), and Committee on Public Education and the Law (1993-96). Chaired Section of Litigation in 2010-11, and currently serves on council of Section of International Law. Member of University of Miami Board of Trustees since 2005. Past chair, secretary and general counsel of Orange Bowl Committee. Received JD in 1981 from University of Miami School of Law.
CHAIR, HOUSE OF DELEGATES
WHO SHE IS: Senior adviser to the international dispute resolution group at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City. Member of ABA House of Delegates since 2010; currently serves as minority member-at-large. Vice-chair of House Committee on Credentials and Admissions. Member of Commission on Governance. Chairs Africa Law Initiative Council for Rule of Law Initiative. Chaired Section of International Law in 2006-07, and currently serves on section council. Co-founded section’s Women’s Interest Network, and was instrumental in creating Women’s Interest Group at International Bar Association. Past chair of ABA Section Officers Conference (2007-09). Vice president of World Justice Project. Received JD in 1981 from University of Miami School of Law.
MARY L. SMITH
WHO SHE IS: Special counsel and trust officer for the Office of the Special Deputy Receiver in Chicago. Member of ABA House of Delegates in 2007-12 and again since 2013; currently serves as delegate-at-large. Member of House Committee on Credentials and Admissions. Member of Board of Governors in 2009-12. Chaired Non-Dues Revenue Committee in 2011-12. Member of Standing Committee on Constitution and Bylaws in 2012-15, and served as chair in 2013-15. Member of Commission on Women in the Profession in 2006-09. Secretary of Section of Litigation. Section council member in 2011-12. Council member of Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (now Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice) in 2007-11. Immediate-past president of National Native American Bar Association. Member of executive council for National Conference of Bar Presidents. Received Spirit of Excellence Award in 2012 from ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. Counselor in civil division at U.S. Department of Justice in 2010-12. Member of Obama-Biden transition team following 2008 election. Held posts at the White House in 1997-2000. Received JD in 1991 from University of Chicago School of Law.
MICHELLE A. BEHNKE
WHO SHE IS: Principal of Michelle Behnke & Associates in Madison, Wisconsin. Member of ABA House of Delegates since 2008. Currently serves on Nominating Committee as state delegate from Wisconsin. Chairs executive committee of Conference of State Delegates. Member of Board of Governors in 2010-13, and served as chair of Operations and Communications Committee. Member of Commission on Governance. Serves on board of directors of American Bar Foundation as chair of council of Fund for Justice and Education. Chaired Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services in 2006-09. Member of Standing Committee on Membership in 2009—2010 and 2013—present. President of State Bar of Wisconsin in 2004-05. Received JD in 1988 from University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison.
J. TIMOTHY EATON
WHO HE IS: Partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Chicago. Member of ABA House of Delegates in 1999-2002. Member of Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs in 2012-14. Past chair of Appellate Advocacy Committee in Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. Past president of Illinois State Bar Association (2001-02) and Chicago Bar Association (2013-14). Received JD in 1977 from Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale and LLM in 1979 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. (District 7 encompasses Illinois and Ohio.)
ANDREW J. MARKUS
WHO HE IS: Shareholder and head of international practice at Carlton Fields Jorden Burt in Miami. Member of ABA House of Delegates in 2005-14. Member of Commission on Women in the Profession. Chaired Section of International Law in 2003-04, and currently serves on section council. Recipient of section’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Past member of Standing Committees on Publishing Oversight (2010-13) and Membership (2004-07). Florida state chair for Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. Founder of Commercial Dispute Resolution Center for the Americas, and served on center’s board in 1992-2003. Received JD in 1973 from University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law in Gainesville and LLM in 1974 from Vrije Universiteit in Brussels. (District 8 encompasses Florida and Texas.)
DAVID S. HOUGHTON
WHO HE IS: Managing member of Houghton Bradford Whitted in Omaha, Nebraska. Member of ABA House of Delegates in 1998-2010. Chair of Standing Committee on Constitution and Bylaws. Secretary of American Bar Foundation, and chaired the Fellows in 2009-10. President of National Conference of Bar Presidents in 2002-03. Past president of Nebraska State Bar Association (1995-96) and Omaha Bar Association (1993-94). Received JD in 1975 from University of Iowa College of Law in Iowa City. (District 10 encompasses Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.)
LESLIE B. MILLER
WHO SHE IS: Pima County Superior Court judge in Tucson, Arizona, since 1985. Member of ABA House of Delegates since 2002; currently serves as delegate-at-large. Chairs House Committee on Credentials and Admissions. Vice-chair of Committee on Scope and Correlation of Work. Served previously on Board of Governors in 2009-12. Member of Special Committee on Annual Meeting Program Planning. Member of Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Judicial Division liaison to council of Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. Member of Gender Equity Task Force in 2012-13 and Africa Law Initiative Council in 2002-05. Chaired Judicial Division in 2006-07 and National Conference of State Trial Judges in 2000-01. Member of World Justice Project commission in 2008-09 and advisory commission in 2007-08. President of Pima County Bar Association in 1989-90 and Arizona Judges Association in 1992-93. President of Susan G. Komen Foundation Board of Directors in 2009-11 and member of executive committee for International Mariachi Conference in 1992-96. Received JD in 1976 from Saint Louis University School of Law. (District 11 encompasses Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma.)
MARYANN E. FOLEY
WHO SHE IS: Principal at Law Office of Maryann E. Foley in Anchorage, Alaska. Member of ABA House of Delegates since 2004; currently serves on Nominating Committee as state delegate from Alaska. Chaired Section of Family Law in 2012-13, and currently chairs section’s Finance and Pro Bono Awards committees. Alaska state chair for Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. Past president of Alaska Legal Services Corp. (1987-88). Received JD in 1979 from State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. (District 13 encompasses Alaska, Montana, Oregon and Puerto Rico.)
PAULA E. BOGGS
WHO SHE IS: Attorney and retired executive in Sammamish, Washington. First elected as a member of the ABA House of Delegates in 1993, followed by a four-year term that ended in 1997, when she moved to Texas for an in-house position with Dell Computer. Elected as a delegate-at-large in 1998, served as a Texas State Bar delegate in 2001-2002. Became House of Delegates member representing Washington State Bar Association in 2003, prompted by a move back to the state. Served as state delegate since 2007. Member of the Nominating Committee’s Steering Committee. Chaired Standing Committee on Constitution and Bylaws in 1997-98. Received Spirit of Excellence Award in 2006 from ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. Past chair of Legal Aid for Washington, 2006-08. Served as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of Starbucks Corp. in 2002-12. Served as assistant U.S. attorney for Western District of Washington in 1988-94. Songwriter and lead singer for Paula Boggs Band. Member of President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities since 2013. Member of White House Council for Community Solutions in 2010-12. Received JD in 1984 from University of California at Berkeley School of Law. (District 18 encompasses Indiana, Maryland and Washington.)
WILLIAM N. SHEPHERD
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SECTION
WHO HE IS: Partner at Holland & Knight in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Member of ABA House of Delegates in 2009-12. Member of Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs. Member of Global Anti-Corruption Initiatives Task Force. Chaired Criminal Justice Section in 2011-13. Currently serves on section council and co-chairs Long Range Planning Committee. Received JD in 1994 from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.
LINDA L. RANDELL
SECTION OF PUBLIC UTILITY, COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION LAW
WHO SHE IS: A lawyer in Hamden, Connecticut, Randell was senior vice president and general counsel at UIL Holdings Corp. until 2016, after it was sold to the Spanish utility Iberdrola. Member of ABA House of Delegates since 2013; currently serves on Nominating Committee as delegate representing Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law. Chaired that section in 2009-2010. Vice-chair of section’s Nominating, Electricity, Corporate Governance and Antitrust committees, as well as its Book Board. Section liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight since 2014 and a member of the committee in 2011-2014. Past president of the Yale Law Journal Co., 2009-2010 and 2013-2014; currently serves as senior adviser to the board. Past president of Jewish Family Service of New Haven, 2012-2014. Received JD in 1973 from Yale Law School.
DARCEE S. SIEGEL
GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SECTOR LAWYERS DIVISION
WHO SHE IS: A Florida Supreme Court-certified civil circuit mediator based in Bal Harbour, Florida, Siegel is the former city attorney for North Miami Beach. She has held many leadership roles with the ABA’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division and the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, including vice-chair of the TIPS Government Law Committee, 2015-2016. She served as chair of GPSLD and currently represents it in the House of Delegates. She is chair of the Section Officers Conference Membership Committee, and a member of the ABA’s Diversity & Inclusion 360 Commission and the Standing Committee on Gun Violence. Received JD in 1985 from Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University.
KEVIN L. SHEPHERD
SECTION OF REAL PROPERTY, TRUST AND ESTATE LAW
WHO HE IS: Senior partner at Venable law firm in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Member of ABA House of Delegates since 2011; currently represents Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law. Chaired the section in 2005-06. Chairs the section’s Committee on USA Patriot Act and Gatekeeper Regulation and the Working Group on Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Financing Efforts Affecting Lawyers. Chaired ABA Task Force on Gatekeeper Regulation and the Profession in 2010-15. Past member of Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight, 2003-06. Maryland state co-chair for Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. President of American College of Real Estate Lawyers in 2009-2010. Received JD in 1984 from University of Baltimore School of Law.
BENJAMIN E. GRIFFITH
SECTION OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW
WHO HE IS: Principal at Griffith Law Firm in Oxford, Mississippi. Adjunct professor at University of Mississippi School of Law. Member of ABA House of Delegates since 2009. Chair of International Committee of the Section of State and Local Government Law; co-chair of International Law Section’s International Election Law Task Force; 2010-13 chair of ABA Standing Committee on Election Law; 2007-08 chair of ABA Section of State & Local Government Law. Chair of International Steering Committee of the International Municipal Lawyers Association. Past president of National Association of County Civil Attorneys. Mississippi Bar Foundation fellow. Received JD in 1975 from University of Mississippi School of Law.
SCOTT C. LABARRE
GOAL III DISABILITY MEMBER-AT-LARGE
WHO HE IS: Principal at LaBarre Law Offices in Denver. Member of ABA Commission on Diversity & Inclusion 360. Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division liaison to Commission on Disability Rights (2004-07 chair). Former director and vice-chair of Young Lawyers Division Bar Leadership Team. President of National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and National Association of Blind Lawyers. Chair of Disability Rights Bar Association. Colorado Bar Board of Governors (1999-2001). Received JD in 1993 from University of Minnesota Law School.
LORELIE S. MASTERS
GOAL III WOMAN MEMBER-AT-LARGE
WHO SHE IS: Partner at Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C. Member of ABA Gender Equity Task Force (2012-15); member of Commission on Women in the Profession (2009-12); various leadership roles in Section of Litigation (2003-present); chair of Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee (2000-03). Member of Board of Governors of the District of Columbia Bar Association (2010-13). Member of Board of Directors of the DC Bar Foundation. Member of Board of Directors of the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center. President of Women’s Bar Association of DC (2007-08). Various leadership roles in Women’s Bar Association Foundation of Washington, D.C. Received JD in 1981 from Notre Dame Law School.
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: “Turnover Time: ABA Nominating Committee selects candidates for the association’s top 4 leadership positions and 13 seats on the Board of Governors.”