Greenberg Traurig Co-President Hilarie Bass steps down to focus on diversity venture

Hilarie Bass, president of the ABA and co-president of Greenberg Traurig.
Hilarie Bass, president of the ABA and co-president of Greenberg Traurig. Greenberg Traurig

Hilarie Bass, co-president of the powerhouse Miami legal firm Greenberg Traurig, will step down from her position to start an organization that will address issues critical to women and minorities, she and the firm jointly announced Wednesday. She will leave at the end of 2018.

Bass, who is also immediate past-president of the American Bar Association, will be the founding member of the Bass Institute on Diversity and Inclusion. The nonprofit aims to advance gender parity across industries and develop new policies for employers to make the workplace more hospitable to diverse employees.

“As much as l love my clients, cases and colleagues, nothing is more important to me than this work,” Bass said in a statement. “I will be forever grateful to the firm, and my friends and colleagues at Greenberg Traurig, for the years of support and the many opportunities provided to me by them,”

In her 37 years at Greenberg Traurig — a multi-practice firm employing over 1,700 lawyers in 38 offices worldwide — Bass has served as its co-president for six years, as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee for more than 20 years and as the global chair of its 600-member litigation department for eight years. As the co-president, Bass was responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans and effectively implementing alternative fee arrangements across the firm. In the course of her career, she worked and settled more than 100 cases, tried more than 20 cases to conclusion and argued numerous appeals.

Outside of Greenberg Traurig, the University of Miami graduate has traveled to more than 25 countries as head of the ABA. She also was instrumental in overturning Florida’s 20-year ban on gay adoption and was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In a 2014 interview with the Miami Herald, Bass acknowledged that women in the legal profession still had some ways to go:

“For highly accomplished women the opportunities are endless, but there are still challenges. We will know we have truly arrived when it’s not just the superstar women who can be successful,” she said.

In her new line of work with the institute, Bass hopes that she can better address these issues.

“I realized I have the ability to utilize my voice in a new way to move the needle in areas I am truly dedicated to and passionate about,” Bass said in a statement. “Speaking out on these topics and talking granularly about what we need to do is critical to ensure we are not having this discussion 37 years from now.”