Immediate-past ABA President Bass will leave Greenberg Traurig to launch diversity institute

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Immediate-past ABA President Hilarie Bass/Office of the president.

Immediate-past ABA President Hilarie Bass will leave her position as co-president of Greenberg Traurig at the end of the year to focus on a new institute she founded.

The Bass Institute on Diversity and Inclusion will be dedicated to advancing gender parity across industries, developing new policies to promote workplace diversity, and furthering recent research on what approaches work.

During her presidency, one of Bass’ initiatives focused on why women continue to leave the legal profession.

The ABA funded studies and focus groups that found the exodus stems partly from women lawyers’ feeling they have to work harder to achieve the same success as men. Women also reported implicit bias, lack of work-life balance, sexual harassment and discrimination. A survey released in September found women of color reported the highest level of bias, with 63 percent affirming they had to go “above and beyond” others in the workplace to receive the same recognition as colleagues.

According to a Greenberg Traurig press release announcing the move, the ABA presidency taught Bass about “the global power of the American lawyer.” She traveled to more than 25 countries for the association, discovering that people around the world appreciate the devotion of American lawyers to upholding the rule of law. That convinced Bass she has the power to make a global difference.

“I realized I have the ability to utilize my voice in a new way to move the needle in areas I am truly dedicated to and passionate about,” she said in the release.

Bass spent 37 years at Greenberg Traurig, beginning as an associate. She was co-president of the firm for six years, a member of the firm’s executive committee for more than 20 years, and global chair of the firm’s litigation department for eight years.

The Daily Business Review reported the move.

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