On August 13, 2019, Judy Perry Martinez began her term as the 143rd president of the American Bar Association (ABA), after being chosen earlier this year by the ABA’s House of Delegates at the organization’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Martinez’s one-year term will run until August 2020. Martinez takes over for previous president Bob Carlson.
Martinez announced plans to devote her presidential term to rallying the legal profession, better champion the rule of law, and encourage public dialogue that promotes respect for and trust in the country’s justice system. In support of those efforts, Martinez announced plans for a new social media campaign to spread the ABA’s message.
“As lawyers, advancing the rule of law, which protects everyone’s liberties, is of paramount importance,” Martinez said. “The ABA 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.”
Additionally, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted equal voting rights to women, Martinez intends to focus on the relation of today’s laws to equal rights and democracy. The 19th Amendment will also be the theme for the ABA’s Law Day 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.
Currently, Martinez is Of Counsel at New Orleans law firm Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn. She has previously held various ABA leadership positions spanning over 30 years, and has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates since 1991. From 2014-2016, Martinez served as chair of the ABA Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services.
In 2011, she became chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which evaluates all prospective judicial nominees to the federal bench. She also previously served as chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division and the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence.
Martinez has been a member of several ABA committees over the years, including the Council of the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, the ABA’s World Justice Project Committee, the ABA Task Force on Attorney Client Privilege, the ABA Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System, the ABA Board of Governors and its executive committee, and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Additionally, she served as the ABA lead representative to the United Nations.