Paulette Brown, who comes from a background in labor and employment law, has accepted her role as President of the American Bar Association after its annual meeting in Chicago, Il. Ms. Brown is the first African American woman to take on this role in the history of the 136 year-old organization.
The new president plans to focus her energy on highlighting the value of diversity and inclusion.
At the annual meeting, Brown continued to express her priorities for the need to encourage young children in schools to understand the justice system and become interested in legal professions by “disrupting the school to prison pipeline” as a total of “one in 16 African Americans are subjected to the criminal justice system, compared to one in 106 of white people.” Brown continued to explain that “a lot of that is drugs. The evidence, however, shows that black people don’t use drugs any more [than white people]. Yet they are being arrested for it and charged for it [more frequently] and some of that is implicit bias - particularly on the part of prosecutors. Prosecutors are overcharging.” She added: “Ninety-five percent of all prosecutors are white; 88% of all lawyers in US are white.”
Brown, who grew up in Baltimore but later moved to New Jersey, has focused her career in Commercial litigation and employment law. She also served as a municipal court judge for three years and has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates since 1997.
Ms. Brown has earned her J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law and her B.A. at Howard University.