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"I am honored to serve the ABA's members and walk in the footsteps of so many legal giants," Refo said. "This moment presents a unique opportunity to advance the ABA's mission and lead the profession in finding new tools all attorneys can use to better serve their clients. Now, more than ever, our nation's lawyers will step up to help solve the challenges we face."
Refo, who has been an attorney at Snell & Wilmer for 24 years, became the first ABA president to be sworn in virtually, accepting the honor by video from the porch of the Sandra Day O'Connor House in Tempe due to safety concerns caused by the pandemic. She was sworn in by Arizona's Judge Mary Schroeder, the first woman to serve as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on the patio of the home of Arizona's Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
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"Focusing on the legal needs of our nation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic will remain a top priority for the ABA under my leadership," Refo said. "We will continue our work to address the pandemic and its impact on our justice system. The legal needs arising out of the pandemic are incalculable – in evictions, foreclosures, bankruptcies, domestic violence and so many other matters. At the same time, we will help lawyers and our justice system to adapt to this new virtual environment."
Refo will also help lead the organization in redoubling its efforts to advance racial equity and reinforce equal treatment under law for all persons, without regard to race, gender or any other impermissible factors. Under her guidance, the ABA will also help America vote in November and encourage lawyers to serve as poll workers and in other roles to protect the integrity of the election. Additionally, Refo will oversee the ABA's continued support of the rule of law around the world.
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