May 20, 2002
Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer to Deliver Keynote Address at Bar Assn. Luncheon June 18American Bar Association leader and former Detroit mayor Dennis W. Archer will deliver the third annual Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Public Interest Lecture at the Philadelphia Bar Association Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Tuesday, June 18 at noon in the Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Broad and Walnut Streets.
Named after the late chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Higginbotham Lecture has been presented annually since 1999 by a prominent African American, to honor the memory of Judge Higginbotham and his efforts to eradicate inequities between the law and black Americans.
As the sole nominee for the post of president-elect of the American Bar Association, Dennis Archer is all but guaranteed a successful election. In August 2003, following a year as president-elect, Archer would become the first African-American president of the 123-year-old organization. Appropriately, Archer will deliver the Higginbotham Lecture on the eve of Juneteenth?the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. It was on June 19, 1865 that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, TX with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free?a notable two and a half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
As the mayor of Detroit, Archer earned both national and international respect for his success in changing the city's image and direction. During his two-year term as mayor, from 1993 to 2001, the city of Detroit saw a 27 percent decrease in its crime rate, the elimination of a $88.5 billion budget deficit, and a surge of $13 million in new investments bringing the city's bond rating on Wall Street from junk-bond grade to an A rating.
"We're delighted to be able to welcome Dennis Archer to Philadelphia during our bicentennial year because Dennis Archer himself is making history," said Chancellor Allan H. Gordon. "He is a vanguard for success and an inspiring model for everyone."
Archer received a Bachelor of Science Degree in education from Western Michigan University in 1965, and from 1965 to 1970 taught learning disabled students in the Detroit public school system. He went on to earn his JD from Detroit College of Law in 1970.
He has worked as a trial lawyer for several Detroit law firms, served as an associate professor at the Detroit College of Law and as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School. In 1985, Michigan governor James Blanchard appointed him to the state's Supreme Court where he served an eight-year term. In January, following his two terms as mayor, Archer joined the Detroit law firm of Dickinson-Wright PLLC as chairman.
Archer is a member of the Advisory Board of the Brookings Institute Center and has served as president of the Wolverine Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the State Bar of Michigan. He is a life member of the Fellows of the American Bar Association and the National Bar Association, a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, and a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.
Archer was Governing magazine's Public Official of the Year in 2000, and Engineering News-Record magazine's 1998 Newsmaker of the Year. Newsweek called him one of the 25 most dynamic mayors in America; Ebony magazine named him to its 100 Most Influential Black Americans list; and The National Law Journal has listed him as one of the 100 Most Powerful Attorneys in the United States.
Also at the luncheon, the Association will honor senior lawyers of the Bar by inducting new members into the Association's 50-, 60-, 65- and 70-Year Clubs.
Tickets to the luncheon are $40 for Association members and $45 for non-members. For ticket information, call the Bar Association at (215) 238-6300, or visit www.philadelphiabar.org.