ABA pioneers visit law school to promote diversity and inclusion
May 4, 2016 - Tamara Williams
Two women who broke the gender barrier in the legal field came for a historic visit to the UNM Law School on Monday, April 25.
Paulette Brown, President of the American Bar Association, is the first woman of color to lead the ABA in the association’s 136-year history.
Roberta Cooper Ramo was the first woman to lead the ABA as president (from 1995-96) and currently is president of the American Law Institute. She is the first woman to hold that position as well.
“The joint appearance of Paulette Brown, the first woman of color to serve as president of the ABA with New Mexico’s Roberta Cooper Ramo, the first woman president of the ABA, was an historic treat for our students and legal community,” says Dean and Professor of Law Alfred Mathewson. “Their conversation about diversity in the legal profession and the pathway to leadership in the ABA was priceless.”
A luncheon was held in the Hart Wing, when students, faculty as well as local diversity leaders were able to meet with Brown.
After the luncheon, ABA Young Lawyer’s Division Chair Spencer Edelman moderated a fireside chat open to the law community.
Brown and Ramo answered questions about diversity and inclusion in the legal field and discussed implicit bias, biased behavior that we may not initially recognize in ourselves. They discussed the importance of being aware of implicit bias in working towards inclusion.
Both discussed their respective paths leading to their ABA presidencies, the role of the ABA, and mentoring.
ABA Secretary Mary Torres (‘92), the first Hispanic woman to be elected as an ABA officer, and Orlando Lucero, member of the ABA Board of Governors, coordinated Brown’s visit to New Mexico.
Brown also attended the Swearing In Ceremony for recent inductees into the New Mexico Bar and visited the Boys and Girls Club in Albuquerque.