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Warren E. Burger Society honors national court, legal leaders
Williamsburg, Va. (Nov. 20, 2023) – Seven leaders in the court and legal community have been inducted into the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) Warren E. Burger Society.
Named for the NCSC visionary and former Chief Justice of the United States, the Burger Society honors individuals who have used their time, talent and support to advance the organization in exceptional ways. This year’s inductees were celebrated at an event in Washington, D.C., Nov. 16.
The 2023 inductees include:
- Retired Judge Ronald B. Adrine of the Cleveland (Ohio) Municipal Court. Adrine retired in 2018 after serving for 36 years on the bench, including nine years as the administrative and presiding judge. Prior to his election in 1981, his legal experience included private practice and work for the Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney and U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations. Judge Adrine served as a valuable member of NCSC’s Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices.
- Judge Jennifer D. Bailey of the 11th Circuit Court of Florida. Judge Bailey has served as a circuit judge in Miami-Dade County for 31 years, including a 15-year term as the administrative judge of the civil division. She handles a docket of complex business litigation cases, and previously served in the family and criminal divisions. A past member of NCSC’s Board of Directors, Judge Bailey has participated in numerous state and national court initiatives focused on future-ready courts, technology, case management, mortgage foreclosures, and data standards. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Miami Law School.
- Retired Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer. Appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2001, Balmer practiced with firms in Portland, Boston, and Washington, D.C. He was Oregon’s deputy attorney general for four years, where he advised agency heads and elected officials and represented the state in trial and appellate courts. Balmer served on the Supreme Court for 21 years, including six years as chief justice, and now sits as a senior judge. He also chaired the Conference of Chief Justice’s Civil Justice Initiative, which developed a set of recommendations for civil justice reform to meet the needs of the 21st century. He is a member of the American Law Institute in 2017 and currently serves on its Council.
- Tracy “T.J.” BeMent. As the district court administrator for the 10th Judicial District of Georgia, BeMent oversees general jurisdiction superior courts in seven circuits that cover 21 counties. Prior to his work in Georgia, BeMent served courts in Nevada and the District of Columbia. He is a fellow of NCSC’s Institute for Court Management, past president of the National Association for Court Management and past member of NCSC’s Board of Directors.
- Randall M. Ebner. Ebner served as vice president and general counsel of Exxon Mobil Corporation before retiring in 2020 after 40 years of service. He continues to be involved in professional organizations including the Center for American and International Law. Ebner is a past member of NCSC’s Board of Directors and serves as co-chair of the General Counsel committee. Additionally, he is a mentor for Baker & McKenzie’s Executive Institute for Legal Leaders and a Distinguished Research Fellow at Tulane Law School.
- Virginia A. Seitz. A former assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice, Seitz is a partner in Sidley Austin LLP’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice and serves in the firm’s general counsel office. She has represented a wide range of clients in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals and state appellate courts. In her role with the Department of Justice, she provided legal advice to the President and executive branch departments and agencies. Earlier in her career, Seitz was confirmed by the Senate to the first board of directors of the Congressional Office of Compliance where she served for five years. She is a member of the American Law Institute in 2017 and currently serves on its Council. Seitz has contributed considerable time and energy to supporting the amicus brief committee of the Conference of Chief Justices.
- Lynda Zeller. Zeller served as a senior fellow at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund where she supported multi-system, collaborative work to improve health and sustained change in areas where behavioral health and justice meet. She is now the Region 5 director for the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), where she is working to increase collaboration in behavioral health in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Previously, Zeller spent seven years as the senior deputy director of behavioral health and developmental disabilities with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.