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Mark Suchman Appointed Executive Director of the American Bar Foundation

January 31, 2023, ABF news

Mark Suchman has been appointed Executive Director of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). Currently a Professor of Sociology at Brown University, Suchman will join the ABF in September 2023. He will succeed Interim Executive Director Bryant Garth to become the tenth Executive Director in the ABF’s seventy-year history. 

“The ABF has an unparalleled history of innovative research, inclusive collegiality, and responsive engagement, and I’m eager to build on that tradition to expand the ABF’s breadth, vision, and impact for the future,” said Suchman. “I’m honored by the opportunity to head such a remarkable team, and I’m thrilled to be able to contribute my interdisciplinary leadership experience, my love of sociolegal scholarship, and my lifelong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.”  

Stepping into the role, Suchman will bring a wealth of leadership experience, both at public and private universities and within the wider research community. At Brown, Suchman leads the Department of Sociology’s Work, Organizations, and Economy Program and directs the Organizational Studies track. He has also served as Program Director at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure; chaired the American Sociological Association’s sections on Sociology of Law and on Organizations, Occupations, and Work; and led the Graduate Student Workshop of the Law and Society Association. Suchman’s own research looks at how legal conditions create—or foreclose—opportunities for innovation and technological change. He has studied law and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, business disputing practices, and patient privacy in the American healthcare system. 

Suchman also has a long history of engagement with the ABF. Having completed a graduate fellowship early in his career, he returned in 2013 to advise the Board of Directors Research Committee and later served as a committee member and then Chair of the Wheeler Committee, which provides external review of ABF research proposals.  

Says ABF Board President Jimmy K. Goodman, “We’re very pleased to welcome Mark, an experienced leader capable of advancing the ABF’s mission. He brings a deep understanding of the ABF’s enduring strengths and its emerging opportunities, and I am confident he will chart a successful course ahead, ensuring the ABF remains at the forefront of empirical research shaping better understanding of the law, lawyers, and legal processes. 

Interim Executive Director Garth, who previously served as ABF Executive Director from 1990 to 2004, will remain in the role of Affiliated Research Professor and continue to serve on the Executive Coordinating Committee of the hallmark research project After the JD, which he helped launch. Garth is also a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, where he codirects the Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession. 

“We are grateful to Bryant Garth for thoughtful guidance during his tenure as Interim Executive Director,” said Goodman. “We were very fortunate to have had an exceptionally qualified candidate, with a tremendous track of record of success within the ABF, available to serve during this transition. 


About the American Bar Foundation 

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation

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