Paulette Brown




By Tyra M. Robinson


Paulette Brown became the first African American woman of color to serve as the American Bar Association President from 2015-16 and is currently the Senior Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Locke Lord, LLP.

Paulette was born in Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended segregated schools. She earned her bachelor's degree from Howard University and her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law.

She began her career working for Fortune 500 companies. Eventually, she established her own law firm, Brown, Lofton, Childress & Wolfe, which grew to New Jersey's largest minority firm at the time. She became Locke Lord, LLP's Chief Diversity Officer and Partner in the firm's Labor & Employment group in 2005.

Paulette has worked as in-house counsel, a certified mediator, and a Municipal Court Judge. Her private practice concentrates on all facets of labor and employment law, as well as commercial litigation. She has practiced in state and federal courts, and arbitration forums.

During her term as ABA President, she simultaneously served as the first African American chairwoman of the Labor & Employment section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Paulette also served as the President of the National Bar Association (1993-94).

Paulette has received numerous top-lawyer awards. In addition to these accomplishments, she has left a lasting impact on every organization she's encountered, including through diversity initiatives she championed. Paulette co-authored groundbreaking reports on women of color in the legal profession, including "Visible Invisibility" and "Left Out and Left Behind," which articulated key recommendations for transforming discriminatory cultures into inclusive cultures and effectively supporting and retaining women lawyers of color in the legal profession.

Further, she is a leader in her community, which is demonstrated through her service as President of the YWCA of Central New Jersey, member of the Board of Visitors of Seton Hall University, advocate for the Boys & Girls Club, and as a continued champion for mentorship.


Tyra M. Robinson, staff attorney, Public Justice Center. J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 2019. Tyra currently works in labor and employment law to enforce and expand worker rights. Tyra is on the Board of Directors for the Federal Bar Association, Maryland Chapter.


Sources: (2020)