Alumnus Stephen Zack Elected ABA House of Delegates Chair
Stephen N. Zack (UF BA 69, JD 71) has been elected chair of the American Bar Association House of Delegates, the ABA’s second-highest office. He is the first Hispanic American to assume that role, where he will lead the ABA’s policymaking body and stand in for the ABA president as needed.
A partner in the Miami-based firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner, Zack was referenced last week in the Miami Herald as one of the most influential Hispanic Americans in the country. He served as president of The Florida Bar 1988-89, the youngest president in that organization’s history and the first Hispanic American to lead a state bar association. He said he hopes his two-year tenure as ABA chair will demonstrate to Hispanics and other minorities that the ABA is a welcoming group where their leadership skills and talents will be appreciated.
Zack was born in the U.S., then lived in his mother’s native country of Cuba until he was 14, when he came to Miami, his primary residence since that time.
“Loss of liberty is not a theoretical threat to me,” Zack said. “It’s a fact I’ve had first-hand experience with. As someone whose family had to flee the dictatorship of Cuba that abolished the rule of law, I welcome the opportunity to work to strengthen the rule of law and human rights through the ABA’s efforts.”
Zack helped found the Cuban-American Bar Association, and said one of his major goals during his term is to reach out to diverse bar associations to encourage partnerships with the ABA. He also encourages UF law students to get involved as early as possible with the ABA and local law organizations.
“The lawyers you meet in these organizations are the same people you will work with in your professional life,” he said. “Relationships are so important and these lawyers need to know you and know what your word means.”
Zack’s activities during his college years included presiding over Florida Blue Key and the Interfraternity Council, and resulted in him being named to the 1970 UF Hall of Fame and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He continues to be an avid supporter of the college and is a UF Law Center Association Board of Trustees Member Emeritus.
“Everything I’ve achieved so far has been possible because of my education from the University of Florida,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience and prepared me very well.”
As chair of the House of Delegates, he will lead 537 delegates consisting of representatives of state and local bar associations, substantive legal sections and divisions of the ABA, affiliated organizations and conferences of the Judicial Division, former officers, members of the Board of Governors, at-large delegates and state delegates. He has been a member of the House since 1988, and was the Florida state delegate 1997-2000.
Zack has established a lengthy record of ABA service in a variety of capacities. Currently, he is chair of the Select Committee of the House. He served as a member of the ABA Board of Governors 1992-1995, and as board liaison to the Sections of Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
He is a past chair of the ABA Latin American Council, and former member of the Commission on the Judiciary in the 21st Century. He has been president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, is a former chair of the Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services, and is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Zack represented the Al Gore campaign in the last election before Judge Sanders Sauls (UF JD 66) in Leon County Circuit Court. At Boies, Schiller & Flexner, he concentrates his practice on civil litigation, and is a member of the firm’s executive committee.