Paulette Brown: ABA’s First African-American Female President-Elect

Photo By kconnors of

Photo By kconnors of

Paulette Brown, 63, made history. She is the first African American female president-elect of the American Bar Association. Currently, the organization consists of nearly 400,000 members and is headed by William C. Hubbard. Brown is set to take office in August 2015.

This is a major historical moment. In 1943, African-Americans weren’t even allowed to join the ABA. According to the Boston Globe, 7% of the members are African American and the number of women in the field has fallen in the last five years.

During an interview with Boston Globe, Brown stated  that “she plans to use her platform to raise awareness on implicit bias in law offices, the legal system, and American society as a whole. ”

She said: “Once you recognize that it’s a possibility that you could have some unconscious bias, then it hopefully will adjust your behavior. You will take a second to say, wait a minute, am I reacting this way because I could have some sort of bias in this situation? As a result, I think that you will be more fair in any kind of deliberation that you are engaged in.”

Brown has been named as a New Jersey Super Lawyer and by US News as one of the Best Lawyers in America in commercial litigation, and in 2009, she was a recipient of the Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. In 2011, she was honored with the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. She earned her J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law and her B.A. at Howard University.

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