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David A. Collins, Michigan Lawyer, Becomes President of the American Bar Foundation

September 16, 2014, Press releases


Contact:         Lucinda Underwood
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Chicago, IL – David A. Collins, an attorney with long experience practicing in Detroit, has been elected President of the Board of Directors of the American Bar Foundation, a position he will hold for two years.

The American Bar Foundation is the nation’s leading research institute for the empirical study of law. Collins has served on the Foundation’s board since 2005.

Collins, who officially took office on September 1, said, “The ABF is a crown jewel of the legal profession. For more than six decades the remarkable people here have conducted pioneering research on the impact of law on society.” He added, “I am honored to have this opportunity to advance their important work.”

David K.Y. Tang, past president of the American Bar Foundation, observed of Collins, "Through his long experience as a legal practitioner, his service in the ABA and his personal engagement in scholarly research, David recognizes and appreciates the leading role played by the Foundation in the empirical study of law. At this important moment in the work of the Foundation, his wise leadership of the Board is most welcomed."

Dennis Archer, past president of the American Bar Association, former mayor of Detroit and fellow Michigander said, “Dave Collins will make an outstanding president of the American Bar Foundation. He brings to the ABF his experience as a consummate lawyer, his dedication to service to the profession, and as a scholar himself, an abiding respect for the rigorous, independent research on law and society that is the hallmark of the ABF.” He added, “I am confident that Dave will lead the Foundation to new heights in serving the legal profession and our system of justice. I congratulate him on his election as President of the ABF.”

Collins 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.

In addition to his service to the ABF, Collins has served the American Bar Association in numerous 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, the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID), as National Law Day Chair, and on the Standing Committee on Public Education.

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 holds a MA in history from Wayne State University and in 2014 he completed the requirements for his PhD in history, also at Wayne State.

He has published several articles on corporate compliance and ethics.

Before entering law school, Collins served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural El Salvador, where he met his wife, Cynthia. They have three adult children and two granddaughters.

Serving with Collins for the 2014-2016 term are Ellen J. Flannery, Washington, DC, as Vice President, George S. Frazza, New York, NY as Treasurer, and David S. Houghton, Omaha, NE, as Secretary.

About the American Bar Foundation

The American Bar Foundation’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. Primary funding for the ABF is provided by the American Bar Endowment.

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