Brooksley E. Born
Brooksley E. Born is a retired partner of the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP and a former chairperson of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. At Arnold & Porter, Born was the head of the firm’s derivatives practice and represented domestic and international clients in legislative, litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters involving derivatives transactions and financial markets.
In 1997 as head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Born warned in congressional testimony that unregulated trading in derivatives could "threaten our regulated markets or, indeed, our economy without any federal agency knowing about it." Born called for greater transparency - disclosure of trades and reserves as a buffer against losses.
In 2009, Sheila Bair, who pushed lenders to prevent foreclosures, and Born, who sought to rein in derivatives, won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for “sounding early warnings” on the financial crisis.
In June of 2009, she was rumored to be on a short list of possible nominees for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a bipartisan panel being formed to investigate the causes of the 2007 financial crisis.
In 2021, Born was inducted into the Futures Industry Association's Futures Hall of Fame, which was established in 2005 to commemorate outstanding contributions to the futures and options community.
Born was nominated by President William Clinton on May 3, 1996 and confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 2, 1996 and served until 1999 as CFTC chairperson. She was also a member of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets and the technical committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.
In 1992, NBC television reported that Born was in line to be named Attorney General in the Clinton Administration.A 2008 Washington Post story said Born had been on the short list to become Clinton's Attorney General, but did not get the post. She was offered the CFTC Chairmanship four years later and accepted that position.
In 2005, the American Lawyer, a legal industry publication, honored Born with a lifetime achievement award.
Born grew up and attended public schools in San Francisco. Her parents were both civil servants. Her mother was an English teacher and her father was the head of the city’s public welfare department. Both her parents were Stanford graduates.
Born is a 1964 graduate of Stanford Law School where she was the first woman president of the Stanford Law Review and received the Outstanding Senior Award. Born was one of seven women in the Class of 1964 at Stanford Law School and graduated at the top of her class. She is credited with being the first woman to edit a major American law review.
She served as law clerk to Judge Henry W. Edgerton of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She has served on the boards of governors of the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Bar Foundation, and the District of Columbia Bar. At the ABA, she has chaired the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, the Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, the Consortium on Legal Services and the Public, and the Council of the Fund for Justice and Education. Born is a founder of the ABA Women’s Caucus and chairs the board of the National Women’s Law Center. She is a member of the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission and serves on the Board of Directors of ALI-ABA. She has taught Women and the Law at Georgetown Law Center and the Columbus School of Law of Catholic University of America.
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