During her one-year term, which starts tomorrow, incoming ABA President Carolyn Lamm will seek to boost the association’s political advocacy in Washington, increase diversity in the profession and position the ABA for technological and international changes.
In a speech to the House of Delegates on Monday, Lamm laid out those three objectives, in addition to two others already discussed here, including softening the impact of the economic recession and boosting ABA membership.
Lamm, a White & Case partner who has worked in Washington since the early 1970s, wants to use the ABA’s bully pulpit in the nation's capital to support the rule of law, access to justice, and the legal profession generally. The ABA’s government affairs office currently has about 18 employees, including 10 lobbyists, said Tom Susman, director of the office. Building up the ABA’s profile won’t mean expanding the office but rather tapping members’ Washington ties, he said in an interview.
“Our focus is on volunteers,” said Susman, who joined the office a year ago.
As for positioning the ABA for the future, Lamm said she will use the new Ethics 20/20 Commission to explore how U.S. lawyers can best adapt to changes brought on by technological advancement and globalization, such as outsourcing of legal services overseas and regulatory changes in some countries that are allowing non-lawyer owners of law firms.