Michael S. Greco, a partner in the Boston office of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP (K&LNG), recently was sworn in as the 129th president of the American Bar Association (ABA) at the close of the ABA Annual Meeting, held in Chicago.
As president, Mr. Greco will focus on three major initiatives that support the central goal of the ABA. First, he will lead a "Renaissance of Idealism" aimed at inspiring the legal profession to reinvigorate and revitalize the profession's commitment to pro bono and public service work. He will also work to enhance civic education regarding the roles of our three branches of government, with a particular emphasis on highlighting the importance of an independent judiciary. Greco's third priority will involve expanding access to justice to the disadvantaged and the poor, a cause he has championed throughout his career.
Mr. Greco, who immigrated to America from Italy as a young boy, is the first ABA president to be born outside the United States. Over the past several decades, Mr. Greco's involvement in the ABA has included service in the ABA House of Delegates since 1985 and as State Delegate from Massachusetts since 1993. He has chaired the association's Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary and its Individual Rights and Responsibilities section.
Mr. Greco is a trial lawyer with more than 30 years of litigation experience in business, employment and real estate law. He has also served as mediator and arbitrator in complex business and other disputes on both the state and national levels. He joined K&LNG in 2003, after 30 years as partner with Hill & Barlow of Boston.
A recent survey commissioned by the ABA shows that a large majority of American adults believe that the constitutional concept of separation of powers, and the related idea of checks and balances, are important principles for the federal government. But at the same time, the majority of Americans could use a civics refresher course. Just over half of adult Americans surveyed (55 percent) can correctly identify the three branches of government, fewer than half can identify the meaning of the concept of separation of powers (45 percent) or that one role of the judiciary in the federal government is to determine how existing law applies to the facts of a case (48 percent). And just over one-third (36 percent) cannot correctly identify the principle of checks and balances.
Mr. Greco has appointed a Commission on Civic Education and the Separation of Powers to improve public understanding of the government's functions. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley have agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs of the commission.