The keynote speaker for this year's Gould School of Law Commencement Ceremony will be Paulette Brown, president of the American Bar Association, and Partner and co-chair of the firmwide Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Locke Lord LLP, a national law firm.
Brown has held a variety of leadership positions within the ABA. She has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates since 1997 and is a former member of the ABA Board of Governors and its Executive Committee as well as the Governance Commission. While serving on the Board of Governors, Brown chaired the Program, Planning and Evaluation Committee. Brown has served on the Commission on Women in the Profession and was a co-author of "Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms." Brown also chaired the ABA Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice (now Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice) and is a past co-chair of the Commission on Civic Education in our Nation's Schools. Brown served on the Section of Legal Education's Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and its Executive Committee. Brown joined the ABA Young Lawyers Division in 1976. She became active in the Section of Litigation in 1995, which has continued to be her section "home" ever since. She is a former member of The Fund for Justice and Education (FJE), FJE President's Club and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Brown has held many positions throughout her career, including as in-house counsel to a number of Fortune 500 companies and as a municipal court judge. In private practice, she has focused on all facets of labor and employment and commercial litigation.
Brown has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" and by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of the "prominent women and minority attorneys in the State of New Jersey." She has received the New Jersey Medal from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation and currently serves on its Board of Trustees.
Brown has repeatedly been named as a New Jersey Super Lawyer and by US News as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of commercial litigation. In 2009, Brown was a recipient of the Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. In 2011, she was honored with the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Brown, who served President of the National Bar Association from 1993-1994, received the NBA's highest honor, The C. Francis Stradford Award, in 2015.
Brown earned her J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law and her B.A. at Howard University.