Paulette Brown, a longtime advocate for diversity in the profession, is the uncontested nominee for American Bar Association president in 2015, which would make her the first minority woman to hold the post.
Brown, 61, a labor and employment partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer in Madison, N.J., and the firm’s chief diversity officer, was named Sunday to a standing ovation before the Nominating Committee at the ABA’s midyear conference in Dallas.
Assuming Brown remains the lone nominee, she’ll be up for a committee vote at the next midyear conference, scheduled for February 2014. She’ll need a simple majority to be nominated officially as president-elect. The next step would be approval by the ABA House of Delegates at the annual meeting that August. Her term would begin at the conclusion of the next year’s annual meeting.
"People view this as a very, very positive step," Brown sainew d Monday. "At the same time, they recognize that it’s not an end. … We have more work to do" in the diversity realm, she says. Wayne Positan, New Jersey’s representative in the ABA House of Delegates, who made the nomination, said he had discussed it with Brown as early as 2009. "It’s not because of her color—it’s because she’s qualified," says Positan, a partner at Lum, Drasco & Positan in Roseland.
The first African-American ABA president was Dennis Archer of Michigan, in 2003-04, followed immediately by Robert Grey Jr. of Virginia in 2004-05.