Hilarie Bass, co-president of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP today assumed the prestigious role of president of the American Bar Association (ABA) at the ABA Annual Meeting in New York. She will serve a one-year term, through August, 2018, during which she will work to further the organization’s mission of defending liberty and delivering justice for all.
Speaking at the ABA Annual Meeting, Bass highlighted her priorities for the organization whose 400,000 members make it the world’s largest voluntary professional organization.
“Never before has there been a more urgent need for the American Bar Association to lead the way toward needed changes in the profession and to educate our citizens about the rule of law,” Bass said. “As I begin my year as ABA president, my passion for our justice system and connecting individuals with legal services will drive my efforts to bring together a diverse group to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We will focus on issues that go to the core of our profession: how we provide access to justice, educate law students, and serve our clients.”
Specifically, in her year as president, Bass will focus on issues involving the future of legal education, the legal needs of homeless youth both in the United States and worldwide, and the precipitous exodus of experienced female lawyers from many firms. She also will institute an ABA Legal Fact Check service to help answer legal questions in the news. Under Bass’ direction, the ABA has created a new 10-member Commission on the Future of Legal Education to help lead the discussion of how the nation educates future lawyers. It will study issues such as the bar exam and passage rates, the length of law school, alternative teaching methods, and more.
“If we as a profession want to guarantee that the best and the brightest will continue to join us, we must ensure that their training and testing to become lawyers will be relevant, appropriate, and truly based on their competency to provide accurate and appropriate legal advice,” Bass said. “The ABA is uniquely positioned to work with the important stakeholders to explore possible changes that could transform legal education.”
Bass serves as co-president and a member of the executive committee for Greenberg Traurig, a multi-practice firm that has approximately 2,000 attorneys across 38 offices worldwide. She previously served an eight-year term as national chair of the firm’s 600-member litigation department. Bass is based in Miami. She has been actively involved with the ABA for more than 30 years, beginning as a young lawyer and working her way up to become chair of the 70,000-member Section of Litigation (2010-11). As chair, Bass spearheaded the creation of a Task Force on Implicit Bias in the Justice System. She has held several other notable positions at the ABA, including serving as chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendar (2012-14).
Outside the firm, she has led many top legal and community organizations and received numerous awards and accolades. Among them, she is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal: Florida, and Chambers USA. In recognition of her work, Bass has been honored with the Judge Learned Hand Award from the American Jewish Committee (2017), Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Outstanding Practitioner Award (2016), silver medallion from the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews (2011) and C. Clyde Atkins Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU in Florida (2009), among several other awards throughout her career. Bass serves as Vice Chair of University of Miami’s Board of Trustees. She was formerly Chair of the United Way of Miami-Dade County and a president of the Florida Bar Foundation (1994-95). Bass earned her law degree at University of Miami School of Law and her bachelor’s degree at George Washington University.
About Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GTLaw) has more than 2,000 attorneys in 38 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. One firm worldwide, GTLaw has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, was named the largest firm in the U.S. by Law360 in 2017, and among the Top 20 on the 2016 Am Law Global 100. Web: www.gtlaw.com Twitter: @GT_Law.