Thomas M. Susman

International Policy Coordinator and Strategic Advisor, American Bar Association

Mr. Susman served as Director of the Governmental Affairs Office of the American Bar Association for over a decade before assuming part-time status in September 2018. He is currently the ABA’s International Policy Coordinator and Strategic Advisor to the Governmental Affairs Office, which serves as the focal point for the Association’s advocacy efforts before Congress, the Executive Branch, and other governmental entities on diverse issues of importance to the legal profession

Mr. Susman was editor of the first edition of the American Bar Association’s Lobbying Manual and is co-editor of the 5th ed. (2016); taught Lobbying and Legislative Process as an adjunct professor at The American University’s Washington College of Law; and chaired the Ethics Committee of the American League of Lobbyists (later the Association of Government Relations Professionals) for over a decade. Each year he teaches the Lobbying Ethics certification courses, now for the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics, on whose board he serves. His articles on lobbying include: “Lobbying in the 21st Century—Reciprocity and the Need for Reform,” 58 Admin. L. Rev. 373 (2006); “Lobbying Disclosure:  A Recipe for Reform,” 33 Notre Dame J. of Legis. 32 (2006) (with co-author William Luneburg); “Contingent Fee Lobbying:  Inflaming Avarice or Facilitating Constitutional Rights?” 31 Seton Hall Legis. J. 311 (2007) (with co-author Margaret Martin); “Private Ethics, Public Conduct – An Essay on Ethical Lobbying, Campaign Contributions, Reciprocity, and the Public Good,” 19 Stanford L. & Policy Rev. 10 (2008); and “Where to Look, What to Ask? – Frames of Reference for Ethical Lobbyists,” 41 McGeorge L. Rev. 161 (Fall 2009). He also co-authored (with Craig Holman) the OECD report “Lobbyists, government and public trust: Promoting integrity by self-regulation.” Mr. Susman served on the Board of ALL; was counsel to the ABA Task Force on Federal Lobbying Laws (report published as “Lobbying Law in the Spotlight: Challenges and Proposed Improvements,” 63 Admin. L. Rev. 419 (2011)); and is an Advisor to the American Law Institute’s project on government ethics. He taught a course on Lobbying and the Legislative Process at the American University’s Washington College of Law for 6 years.

Before joining Ropes & Gray, Mr. Susman spent 12 years in various capacities in the U.S. Senate, including Chief Counsel to the Administrative Practice and the Antitrust Subcommittees, General Counsel to the Judiciary Committee, and Legislative Director for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In private practice his lobbying clients included The Business Roundtable, the American Library Association, General Mills, DuPont, Gillette, the Navajo Nation, and numerous other associations and businesses. He has served as an advisor on lobbying regulation to the chairman of the Senate Ethics and Transparency Committee in Chile, has advised the Parliamentary leadership in the Czech Republic on lobbying disclosure, and participated in a European Parliament advisory convocation on lobbying disclosure. He currently serves as a member of the National Archives’ Advisory Committee on Freedom of Information.

Mr. Susman’s community and bar activities have included:  member of the ABA’s House of Delegates and Board of Governors; Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; Life Member of the American Law Institute; former Chairman of the Board of the National Judicial College; President of the District of Columbia Public Library Foundation; Founding President of the D.C. Open Government Coalition; Board member of the National Conference on Citizenship.

Susman received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Texas Law School, where he was Editor-in-chief of the Texas Law Review. Following law school he was law clerk to Judge John Minor Wisdom on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, followed by service in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice.