“Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice” is the motto of the American Bar Association, and among the association’s four stated goals, one is to “advance the rule of law.” Toward this goal, the ABA is committed to “hold governments accountable under law,” “assure meaningful access to justice for all persons,” and “preserve the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary.”
Given these pledges, it may seem odd that the association’s newly appointed president has worked as both a lawyer and lobbyist for some of the world’s most repressive regimes, as well as institutions and corporations connected to them. Nonetheless, it is true: Carolyn Lamm, a D.C.-based corporate attorney who was named ABA president in August, has registered as a lobbyist in the past for such authoritarian states as Libya and Zaire. A longtime partner at the prestigious international firm White & Case, Lamm has also had close ties in recent years to entities associated with the tyrannical government of Uzbekistan and its ruling family, working, for example, as the legal counsel of Zeromax, a massive Swiss-registered company widely reported to be controlled by Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s authoritarian President Islam Karimov.
Lamm declined to comment for this story, and an ABA spokeswoman stated in an email refusing to comment that “she is comfortable that her work with a wide range of clients around the world speaks for itself.”
Yes, it does.