Chair’s column

On February 7-8, 2016, I traveled to San Diego to serve as one of the Illinois State Bar Association delegates to the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates. The ABA House of Delegates meeting had lots of exciting debate on important issues affecting the legal profession and women lawyers. The ABA’s top four leadership positions will soon be held exclusively by women with the recent election of:

• Hilarie Bass, a shareholder a co-president at Greenberg Traurig in Miami, who was nominated to become President-Elect in August 2016 (and president a year later);

• Deborah Enix-Ross, a senior adviser to the international dispute resolution group at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, who will become chair of the ABA House of Delegates for a two-year term starting in August 2016;

• Mary L. Smith, an attorney with the Office of the Special Deputy Receiver in Chicago, who will become ABA secretary for a three-year term starting in August 2017; and

• Michelle A. Behnke, principal of Michelle Behnke & Associates in Madison, Wisconsin, who will become ABA Treasurer starting in August 2017.

A copy of the ABA House of Delegates Daily Journal which summarizes all of the Resolutions considered by the House is available here. <>.

Of interest, the New Jersey State Bar Association proposed Resolution 10B which “supports constitutional equality for women, urges the extension of legal rights, privileges and responsibilities to all persons, regardless of sex, and reaffirms support of and affirmatively act toward the goal of the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” Resolution 10B was approved by the ABA House of Delegates.


Emily N. Masalski is Counsel at Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP (R3) and a member of the firm’s environmental and natural resources, health and safety, and litigation practice groups. She can be reached at

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March 2016Volume 21Number 4PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)