Search begins for a new executive director for the American Bar Association

The American Bar Association has begun a nationwide search for a new executive director to replace Jack L. Rives, who left the association March 3 after more than 12 years in the top post.

The search is being conducted by a committee of ABA leaders led by Palmer Gene Vance II, Chair of the ABA House of Delegates.

The recruitment firm of Korn Ferry has been retained to help conduct the search, which is co-led by Lorraine Lavet, Korn Ferry Global Association Practice leader, and Julie Norris, Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner, Board & CEO Technology and Legal Services Practices.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

The ABA executive director oversees a staff of more than 1,000 and a consolidated budget of approximately $220 million. The ABA is headquartered in Chicago, with another office in Washington, D.C., and significant operations in Texas and California.

The executive director is responsible for membership and non-dues revenues programs, directs implementation of the ABA’s strategic goals and has responsibility for programs and activities adopted by the ABA’s governing and policymaking bodies, the Board of Governors and the House of Delegates.

The ABA Executive Director Search Committee is seeking candidates with at least 10 to 15 years of relevant executive leadership experience and a successful track record of effective organizational leadership for a large, complex organization. An advanced degree (J.D., MBA or other relevant degree) is preferred.

The ABA has several thousand entities that operate semi-independently. The association offers programming that reaches its members across 21 sections, seven divisions and six forums.

It also serves the public through the work of its centers and commissions. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) provides technical assistance in more than 50 countries around the world.  
For a detailed description of the executive director’s job and to apply, visit


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