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President Emeritus

David A. Collins

David A. Collins was president of the board of the American Bar Foundation from 2014 to 2016. He has practiced law both as an in-house lawyer for General Motors and its subsidiaries and then Of Counsel at the national law firm of Dykema Gossett. At Dykema, he headed the firm’s corporate compliance practice. At GM, he served in various capacities, including Corporate Secretary, General Counsel of Saturn Corporation, and Executive Director of Corporate Compliance.

Mr. Collins earned his BA from Amherst College (1967) and his JD from Washington University (1972), where he served as an editor of the law review (The Washington University Law Quarterly). He earned an MA in history from Wayne State University in 2003, and in 2014 he completed the requirements for his PhD in history, also at Wayne State University.

He has served in numerous ABA roles, including the Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession, the Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice, the Administration Committee of the ABA employee pension plan (A-E-F-C), the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID), National Law Day Chair, and the Standing Committee on Public Education.

Before entering law school, Mr. Collins served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural El Salvador.   He and his wife Cynthia met there and have been married since 1970. They have three adult children and (so far) two granddaughters.

He has published several articles:

  • "Persuading Business Clients to Implement Gold-Plated Compliance Programs: Sell It As Quality Control,"  Practices for Corporate Governance and Compliances, Thomson Reuters/Aspatore  (2008)
  • "Diligent Oversight of Legal Compliance: A Four-Step Guide," Corporate Governance Advisor (September/October 2008)
  • "'Corporate Ethics' Are the How, Not the What," Corporate Officers and Directors Liability (November 2008)
  • "Compliance Programs as Quality Control," Corporate Secretary  (July 2008)
  • "Overseeing Legal Risk: First Make It Visible," The Corporate Board (September/October 2010)

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