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ABA President Paulette Brown to speak at Supreme Court Banquet

March 2, 2016

Paulette Brown, the first African-American female president of the American Bar Association (ABA), will serve as the keynote speaker at Drake Law School's 79th Annual Supreme Court Celebration Banquet.

The Supreme Court Celebration recognizes the history of academic excellence, leadership, and service at Drake Law School and honors the Law School’s long-standing relationship with the Iowa Supreme Court.

Events throughout the celebration include the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law Dinner, Drake Law Review Dinner, and Drake Moot Court Luncheon before concluding with the Supreme Court Celebration Banquet on Saturday, April 2 in Parents Hall, Olmsted Center. The reception starts at 6 p.m., dinner starts at 7 p.m.

During the banquet, Drake Law School award recipients will be honored, including the Alumni of the Year, and Brown will give the keynote speech.

“As president of the ABA, Ms. Brown’s work on issues related to diversity in the profession and throughout the justice system are much needed and align with our own commitment to diversity and public service,” said Ben Ullem, Drake Law School dean. “We’re honored to have her join us in this annual celebration and share her unique perspective as president of the ABA. The chance for students, the community, the bar, and bench to learn firsthand from her experiences is invaluable.”

Brown is partner and co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Locke Lord LLP in Morristown, N.J. She has held many positions throughout her career, including in-house counsel to a number of Fortune 500 companies and municipal court judge.

In addition to being named president of the ABA last August, Brown has held a variety of other leadership positions within the organization. She has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates, ABA Board of Governors and its executive committee, and the Commission on Women in the Profession. She also chaired the ABA Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice (now the Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice) and co-chaired the Commission on Civic Education in our Nation's Schools.

From 1993-1994, Brown served as president of the National Bar Association (NBA), which was founded in 1925 by Charles P. Howard, Sr., a 1922 alumnus of Drake Law School. It is now the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominantly African-American lawyers, judges, educators, and law students. Brown received the NBA’s highest honor, The C. Francis Stradford Award, in 2015.

Among her many accolades, Brown has been recognized as one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" by the National Law Journal and one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in the area of commercial litigation by US News.

In 2009, Brown received the Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and in 2011, she was honored with the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

Brown earned her J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law and her B.A. at Howard University.

To find more information and RSVP to the banquet, visit the Supreme Court Celebration webpage.