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As important as D.C. lawyers are (or think they are) in the nation’s legal landscape, it has been 50 years since a lawyer from the nation’s capital has presided over the American Bar Association. That drought will end next year, when White & Case D.C. partner and international trade litigator Carolyn Lamm takes the helm of the 413,000-member association. She was nominated as president-elect on Feb. 10 at the ABA midyear convention in Los Angeles. The one-time president of the D.C. Bar says she too is puzzled by the absence of D.C. lawyers at the top, since “we’re very active in the ABA.” Her guess is that “D.C. lawyers tend to be very busy, at the highest levels,” and therefore may be less able to devote the time for the years-long climb up the ranks in the ABA. “It’s a sacrifice,” she says. The firm’s chairman, Hugh Verrier, applauded Lamm’s nomination. “For many years, Carolyn has been a leader within White & Case, the Washington, D.C., legal community, and the American Bar Association,” Verrier said in a statement. “The ABA will benefit from Carolyn’s energy, wisdom, and international experience.” When she takes over in August 2009, Lamm says, she will focus on boosting the ABA’s membership and diversity. According to the ABA Journal Web site, Lamm told the ABA’s House of Delegates, “That only 6 percent of solo and small-firm practitioners are members of the ABA is unacceptable. The fact that young lawyers account for only about a third of our membership is unacceptable.” She also wants to further reduce the discrimination that “still exists in the profession,” directed not only at minorities but at older lawyers.
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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