Annual Meeting

Always focus on hope, ABA president tells House of Delegates

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Reggie Turner 2022 ABA Annual

ABA President Reginald Turner speaks at the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting on Monday. Photo by Matt Marton Photography.

Reginald Turner, president of the American Bar Association, is not giving up hope, he told its House of Delegates Monday at the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“After a year of continued and seemingly insurmountable division in our country, the increasing embrace of the notion that violence is an acceptable way to resolve our differences and government actions that many experience as attacks on life and liberty, I have not wavered in my belief of a rising sun on the rule of law in America,” said Turner, an executive committee member of Clark Hill in Detroit.

He said various ABA offerings affirm hope. Turner’s remarks acknowledged the Coordinating Group on Practice Forward, which provides practical tools and resources to help navigate the legal profession as it transitions beyond COVID-19, as well as the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.

Turner also spoke of ABA’s engagement with partners in Ukraine and work to help Afghan refugees.

Additionally, Turner spoke about ABA diversity pipeline offerings, including a judicial clerkship program. He noted that Dennis Archer, who in 2003 became the first Black president of the ABA, is a former Michigan Supreme Court justice for whom he served as a judicial clerk. Turner still considers Archer a mentor today.

“I ask that you reflect on the mentors who have brought you to this point, along with those you have mentored. I ask that you reflect on your own commitment to welcoming new, diverse generations of lawyers—smart, eager and dedicated individuals who see a career in the law as a higher calling to achieve justice for all under the rule of law,” Turner said.

And as he did when his term as president started, at the August 2021 annual meeting, Turner spoke of Focus Hope, a cultural exchange program between city and suburban residents started shortly after the 1967 Detroit riot. The child of a Detroit police officer and a librarian, Turner said his parents signed the family up for Focus Hope because they were looking for ways to heal from the unrest.

“Please hold fast to that 7-year-old boy from Detroit as you see the sun rise on the rule of law,” said Turner, pausing briefly as his voice cracked. “And focus, always focus, on hope.”

Watch Reginald Turner’s speech to the ABA House of Delegates

Follow along with the ABA Journal’s coverage of the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting here.

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