ABA Welcomes New President

San Francisco – Attorney Judy Perry Martinez of Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn in New Orleans became president of the American Bar Association at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. She will serve a one-year term ending in August 2020.

“The American Bar Association will continue to stand up for an independent judiciary and bolster the integrity of our democratic institutions, especially those that depend on due process, equality, civility, respect, and fairness,” Martinez said. “As lawyers, advancing the rule of law, which protects everyone’s liberties, is of paramount importance. The ABA also will work to increase public awareness, so more people understand the vital role they can play in protecting democracy. Working together, we can ensure that laws are fair and justly enforced, and our rights are never taken for granted.”

Martinez returned to SPS&R in 2015, previously serving the firm from 1982 to 2003 as a partner, member of its governing committee and commercial litigator. In 2003, she joined Northrop Grumman as assistant general counsel for litigation, managing litigation for the western half of the country before becoming vice president and chief compliance officer there in 2011. She retired from Northrop in 2015, to become a fellow in residence for one year at the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard, and then returned to New Orleans.

For more than 30 years, Martinez has held various leadership positions at the ABA. From 2014-16, Martinez was chair of the ABA Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services. She also was a member of the ABA Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System. In 2011, she was appointed chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which evaluates all perspective nominees to the federal bench.

Martinez has served as the ABA lead representative to the United Nations and as a member of the ABA Board of Governors and its executive committee. She previously has served as chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, a member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and chair of the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence. She has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates since 1991. She is also a member of the board of directors of the American Bar Foundation, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Louisiana Bar Foundation, and a member of the American Law Institute.

Martinez is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2017, she was honored with the David A. Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award by the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Presidents’ Award by the New Orleans Bar Association. In 2012, Martinez received the Camille Gravel Pro Bono Public Service Award from the New Orleans chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Martinez is also a past recipient of the Sam Dalton Capital Defense Advocacy Award from the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Counsel (1997), the Michelle Pitard Wynne Professionalism Award from the Association of Women Attorneys (1998) and the Alliance for Justice Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Law Association (1999).

Martinez earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Orleans, and graduated from Tulane University Law School, with honors, in 1982.


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