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Locke Lord Partner and President of the American Bar Association (ABA) Paulette Brown addressed the 2016 convocations for the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and the University of Houston Law Center over the weekend, encouraging graduates at both institutions to continue to work toward the elimination of bias and promoting equal participation in the legal sector.
“Too many Americans are refused access to justice,” said Brown. “Our public defender system is crumbling in many cities. And, too many of our constitutional rights, including one of the most precious—the right to vote—remain under attack. These are real issues that need real answers. They need real leaders: smart, innovative, optimistic leaders. They need lawyers. They need you.
“Your law degree and licenses are more than just fancy pieces of paper. They are power. With that power comes responsibility to ensure that our justice system works fairly and impartially and that all have equal access without regard to race, ethnicity or economic status.”
Recognized by the National Law Journal as one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America”, Brown’s message on the importance of diversity and inclusion was given at both commencements just one day apart.
Brown is the first woman of color to lead the ABA and is nationally known for speaking out to eliminate bias in the U.S. legal system and advocating for the advancement of diverse lawyers, including women. In addition to her current position and other various posts she’s held within the ABA throughout her legal career, Brown has served as a past President of the National Bar Association, former President and Founder of the Association of Black Women Lawyers in New Jersey and a trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.
Brown is a Labor and Employment Partner based in Locke Lord’s Morristown office and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. For nearly 40 years, Brown has focused her practice on all facets of labor and employment and commercial litigation. Prior to entering private practice, she held a number of positions, including in-house counsel to Fortune 500 companies and as a Municipal Court judge.
Brown has been recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of the prominent women and minority attorneys in the State of New Jersey. She has also repeatedly been named by US News as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of Commercial Litigation. Brown was named to the EBONY Power 100 List in 2014 and one of the country’s “Most Influential Black Lawyers” by Savoy Magazine.
About Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord is a full-service, international law firm of more than 20 offices designed to meet clients’ needs around the world. The Firm has a history that spans more than 125 years and is a worldwide leader in the middle market sector. Locke Lord advises clients across a broad spectrum of industries including energy, financial services, fund formation, health care, insurance and reinsurance, private equity and venture capital, real estate, and technology, media and telecommunications, while providing a wealth of experience through its complex litigation, intellectual property, regulatory and transactional teams.