New Orleans lawyer takes over as ABA president


Judy Perry Martinez, of Simon, Peragine, Smith, & Redfearn in New Orleans, recently 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 in 2011. She retired from Northrop in 2015 to become a fellow in residence 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 has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates since 1991 and has served as a member of the ABA Task Force on Attorney Client Privilege, the Council of the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity and the ABA’s World Justice Project Committee.

Martinez earned her bachelor of science degree from the University of New Orleans and graduated from Tulane University Law School in 1982.