Skip to main content

Ellen J. Flannery, Washington, D.C. Lawyer, Becomes President of the American Bar Foundation

October 6, 2016, Press releases

Flannery at the Fellows State Chair Luncheon at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

©2016 Paul Sakuma Photography

Ellen J. Flannery, a Washington, D.C., attorney, has been elected president of the board of the American Bar Foundation, a position she will hold for two years.

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the nation’s leading research institute for the empirical study of law, legal institutions and legal processes. Flannery has been a part of the ABF’s board of directors since 2005, and was the chair of The Fellows of the ABF in 2007-08. For the past year, she has served as the vice president of the ABF board.

“[Flannery’s] experience as a leader of the ABF board and as a past chair of the Fellows of the ABF gives her a rich understanding of the ABF community,” said David A. Collins, the immediate past president of the ABF. “She has earned the respect of ABF researchers, staff and volunteers alike for her devotion to the Foundation, her leadership skills and her strength of character. The ABF is in good hands with Ellen Flannery at the helm.”

“Ellen is a thoughtful, innovative and considerate leader, possessing great vision,” ABF Treasurer Jimmy K. Goodman added. “Her subtle, forceful touch is evident in the most creative work accomplished by the board. She will no doubt lead the ABF skillfully.”

Flannery is a partner in the Food, Drug, and Device Practice at Covington & Burling LLP. She advises clients on matters relating to the regulation of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biological products, including novel technologies and personalized medicine. A highly experienced lawyer, Flannery helps both early-stage and established companies successfully navigate the regulatory process and effectively work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Flannery is co-editor of the book "In Vitro Diagnostics: The Complete Regulatory Guide," and has published several articles on regulatory developments. She is also co-editor-in-chief of Covington’s Inside Medical Devices blog. She is on the editorial boards of the Guide to Medical Device Regulation and the FDA Enforcement Manual, and has taught food and drug law seminars at the University of Virginia School of Law, Boston University School of Law and the University of Maryland School of Law.

Within the American Bar Association, Flannery is a member of the House of Delegates and an officer in the Section of Science & Technology Law. She has also served on several committees at the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Flannery has shown a strong commitment to pro bono work throughout her career. She was lead counsel for the mother of an anencephalic baby in the 1994 case, In the Matter of Baby “K”. She has participated in a volunteer telephone intake program for a Washington, D.C., legal services network, and led a team of lawyers in preparing a Lawyer Intake Manual for assisting 2005 Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Additionally, she served as litigation counsel for a class of individuals who challenged the strip search policy of a county detention center. She currently advises a community health organization on the FDA’s blood donation policies.

Flannery received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law and an undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College. After law school, she clerked for Judge David L. Bazelon at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“I am very proud to support the ABF and I look forward to serving as president of the board,” Flannery said. “The top-notch empirical research conducted by the ABF faculty and affiliated scholars inspires and informs evidence-based laws and social policy. This work is critically important to our justice system.”

Serving with Flannery for the 2016-18 term are David S. Houghton, of Omaha, Neb., as vice president; Jimmy K. Goodman, of Oklahoma City, Okla., as treasurer; and E. Thomas Sullivan, of Burlington, Vt., as secretary. The ABF also welcomes two new members to its board of directors: Judy Perry Martinez, former vice president and chief compliance officer at Northrop Grumman Corporation with a career in public service, and Lauren Robel, provost and executive vice president of Indiana University Bloomington.

Please find a PDF of this press release here.

Posted by: Cheyenne Blount

« Return to Press releases

Site design by Webitects

© 2023 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.