Talk Justice: Episode Five
In this episode of Talk Justice, Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, and ABA President Patricia Lee Refo join LSC President Ron Flagg to discuss how the COVID pandemic is transforming the courts and the practice of law.
|Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht is the 27th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. He has been elected to the Court six times, first in 1988 as a Justice, and most recently in 2014 as Chief Justice. He is the longest-serving Member of the Court in Texas history and the longest-tenured Texas judge in active service. Throughout his service on the Court, he has overseen revisions to the rules of administration, practice, and procedure in Texas courts, and was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. He is also active in the Court's efforts to assure that Texans living below the poverty level, as well as others with limited means, have access to basic civil legal services.
Chief Justice Hecht was appointed to the district court in 1981 and was elected to the court of appeals in 1986. Before taking the bench, he was a partner in the Locke firm in Dallas. He holds a B.A. degree with honors in philosophy from Yale University, and a J.D. degree cum laude from the SMU School of Law, where he was a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar. He clerked for Judge Roger Robb on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps. He is President of the national Conference of Chief Justices, a Life Member of the American Law Institute and a member of Council, and a member of the Texas Philosophical Society.
|Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack joined the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2013, and became the Chief Justice in January 2019.
An NYU Law graduate, Chief Justice McCormack started her legal career in New York City. In 1996 she joined the Yale Law School faculty. She then joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty, in 1998, where she taught criminal law, legal ethics, and various clinics. She was named Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in 2002.
Chief Justice McCormack was elected to The American Law Institute in 2013. The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology appointed her to the National Commission on Forensic Science in 2014. She serves as an editor on the ABA’s preeminent journal, Litigation. In 2019, Governor Whitmer appointed her as Co-Chair of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration. In 2020 she was appointed as Board Member of the Kids Kicking Cancer non-profit organization, and Board Member of the American Bar Association Legal Education Council. Chief Justice McCormack continues to teach at the University of Michigan each year as well as publish in professional journals and law media.
Chief Justice McCormack is married to Steven Croley, a partner at Latham and Watkins. They have four children.
|ABA President Patricia Lee Refo is a partner at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, where her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and internal investigations. She chairs the firm’s Professional Liability Litigation Group. As President-Elect of the ABA this past year, she worked alongside outgoing President Emeritus Judy Perry Martinez to advance the goals of lawyers across the nation, focusing particularly on diversity, inclusion and voting rights.
From 2014 to 2016, she was the ABA’s second-highest ranking elected official as chair of its policymaking House of Delegates. She has served as Chair of numerous other ABA groups. She previously served as a director of the American Bar Endowment and as co-chair of the National Association of Women Lawyers Committee for the Evaluation of Supreme Court Nominees. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Michigan.
|Ronald S. Flagg was appointed President of the Legal Services Corporation effective February 20, 2020 and has served as Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel since 2013. He previously practiced commercial and administrative litigation at Sidley Austin LLP for 31 years, 27 years as a partner. He chaired the firm’s Committee on Pro Bono and Public Interest Law for more than a decade.
Flagg served as president of the District of Columbia Bar in 2010-2011 and currently serves as Chair of the Bar’s Pro Bono Task Force. He presently also chairs the board of the National Veterans Legal Services Program. He has also served as Chair of the District of Columbia Bar Pro Bono Committee, Chair of the Board of the AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly, as a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, on LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force, and as a member of the Board of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the Board of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Foundation, and the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission.