FBA National President’s Message: On the Shoulders of Giants
Ahn Kremer, Federal Bar Association National President*
I have been a member of the FBA my entire legal career—20 years to be exact. Though my career has changed course over the years (I moved from private practice to in-house counsel, to my current role as a leader of a behavioral health organization), one thing has remained constant: my involvement and commitment to the FBA. When I’m asked, “Why the FBA?” my response is simple. It’s the people. Amazing people brought me into the association 20 years ago, and amazing people have kept me here and engaged since. The FBA connects you to such a vast network of talented and passionate lawyers and judges from around the country—individuals that you learn from and collaborate with, and who will ultimately become your lifelong friends. It’s often referred to as the “Federal Family,” and there is no other bar association out there quite like it.
The FBA has been the voice of the federal bar and bench for over 100 years, and I am so tremendously honored and humbled to serve as its 94th national president. I am the first Asian American national president and the first national president from the Minnesota Chapter. The road to presidency in any organization is not a solo journey but is filled with people who support you, believe in you, and inspire you. I was in Huntsville, Ala., when Juanita Sales Lee was sworn in as the association’s first African American female national president in 2008. I remember being in awe of Juanita at that time (and still am to this day) and being thrilled at witnessing such a history-making moment. Lawrence Baca became the first Native American national president the following year. I’m here today because of the pioneers like Juanita, Lawrence, Russell Del Toro (first Hispanic national president, 2001-2002), and J. Clay Smith Jr. (first African American national president 1980-1981), who have led the way and allowed me to stand on their shoulders.
This issue of The Federal Lawyer is focused on Diversity & Inclusion. Diversity in the legal profession, in the judiciary, and in the membership of our association matters. We all know that we make better decisions when diverse voices from different backgrounds are part of the conversation. We foster public confidence in the legal profession and the judiciary when the American people see lawyers and judges who come from similar backgrounds in these roles. We are taking steps to incorporate D&I into the fold of the FBA so that the organization truly reflects the diversity of the American public that we serve. The FBA formed a D&I Standing Committee in 2020 (which began as a special task force under President Newman and President Bollin’s terms), and the D&I Committee created an Action Plan that the board of directors adopted in September 2020. The plan commits to increasing the diversity of the FBA’s membership and federal legal community, increasing the diversity of our leadership, and integrating our commitment to D&I in the way that the FBA operates and in our internal and external communications. As president, I am excited to work alongside the board of directors and the D&I Committee to continue to cultivate a diverse and inclusive federal legal community.
*Anh Le Kremer is the current President of the FBA and former business litigator at Stinson, LLP. She is currently the chief operating officer and general counsel for Nystrom & Associates, a behavioral health organization headquartered in Minnesota.