Buck Bond Group
A salute to Paulette Brown: Trailblazer, leader, and former Buck employee

A salute to Paulette Brown: Trailblazer, leader, and former Buck employee

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I’ve been with Buck for 46 years … let that sink in for minute. 46 YEARS! I felt it necessary at a moment such as this to reflect on that time. Throughout the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing people, sharing time, talent, and many experiences. This year, we at Buck are celebrating a lot of “firsts.” One person who falls into that category of “firsts” is my former Buck colleague, Paulette Brown. I met Paulette when she joined Buck many years ago as an attorney. At the time, being one of only a few Black professionals within Buck, we developed a bond similar to the one I’ve developed with all of the founding members of Buck’s Black Leadership Council (BLC). As our friendship grew, we continued to work closely together until she left to open her own private practice. As her practice and experience grew, Paulette went on to become a founding partner of Brown & Childress, was elected president of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, was elected president of the National Bar Association (NBA), — the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges — and became a municipal court judge in Plainfield, NJ.

While president of the NBA, Paulette led a delegation to monitor the first free and democratic elections in South Africa in 1994. She became a member of the American Bar Association in 1997 and 10 years later was elected as a member of the American Bar Association’s board of governors. She co-chaired the Commission on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools in 2010, and in 2015 became the first woman of color to be elected as president of the American Bar Association. Paulette is currently Senior Partner, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Locke Lord LLP, a leading law firm.

Today, I focused on one legendary Black woman and former Buck employee who has inspired me to do better and hopefully will inspire you to pick up the torch. While her tenure at Buck may have ended more than 30 years ago, the extraordinary trail she left behind is still burning. For me, a girl from the Bronx, and others like me, it’s encouraging that a girl from Baltimore who graduated from Howard University — one of the most prominent Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) — has accomplished so much and is positioned to accomplish so much more. We salute you, Paulette Brown!

In honor of Black History Month, and with my greatest appreciation to Paulette Brown for not only being a valued colleague and treasured friend but also for paving the way for Black women, I’d encourage today’s Black women to stay FOCUSED, stay STRONG, and continue the movement that our ancestors and predecessors started for us. You may not know your purpose, but remember to be proud of your heritage and get to know more about our “unsung” Black heroes and s-heroes. It could be you someday!