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Thomas Susman, a veteran partner at Ropes & Gray with a regulatory and legislative practice, is leaving time sheets behind for a new gig as director of the government affairs office of the American Bar Association. The ABA’s new executive director, Henry White, made the announcement in Chicago last week. Susman, who will start the new job in May, replaces Bob Evans, who retired last year. “I’ve been doing this for 27 years, and a position of public service and public advocacy seemed perfect,” says Susman, who is a longtime active member of the ABA and once chaired its Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section. Susman had Capitol Hill experience before going to Ropes & Gray and is an expert on freedom-of-information issues. During the current Bush administration, the ABA was painted as a left-leaning organization, and its longtime role in the judicial nomination and confirmation process was curtailed. But Susman says, “The legislative agenda of the ABA is human rights, public service, civil rights, the rule of law, independent courts — and that is not an ideological agenda.” Susman predicts that whichever candidate wins the presidential election this fall, “it is highly likely that the ABA’s role in the judicial nomination process will increase.”
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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