George Barrett Award Judges
Mary Barrett Brewer, George Barrett’s daughter, is a native Nashvillian. She received her undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis Tennessee in 1982 and her J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1986.
In 1984, Mary worked for ACTWU under the tutelage of General Counsel Arthur Goldberg. She clerked for the Honorable Thomas A. Higgins, U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee from 1986-1988. Upon completion of her federal clerkship, she practiced labor law with the Law Firm of Branstetter, Stranch and Jennings in Nashville before joining the Tennessee Supreme Court as a Staff Attorney from 1989-1991. Her legal work with the Supreme Court involved reviewing and researching issues of first impression before the Court.
In 1991, she joined the Nashville Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office as an Attorney Advisor. As an Attorney Advisor, she was hired to do affirmative civil litigation and recover federal tax payer dollars from investors who had defrauded the federal government. Her work has continued with the Department over the years working with all program areas in the three Tennessee offices, Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis. She has provided legal advice to the Field Office Directors, Office of Multifamily Housing, Public and Indian Housing, Single Family, and Community Planning and Development. Her work with HUD also involves the Office of Healthcare Programs.
In 2010, she was appointed as the Associate Regionals Counsel for Housing Finance and Program for HUD for the State of Tennessee. She has continued her work at HUD as a public servant for over 26 years, marrying her social justice mission with her legal career, providing affordable housing.
She has attended The United States Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference for many years as a judicial delegate and is now a life member of this conference. In 2002, Ms. Brewer was inducted as a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation. She lives in Nashville with her husband Mark H. Brewer and they have three grown children, Matthew, Sarah Kate and Elizabeth.
David Prouty was promoted to General Counsel of the Major League Baseball Players Association in February 2013, after spending the previous five years as Chief Labor Counsel. He is just the fourth individual in the union’s 48-year history to hold the position of General Counsel. In his current role, Mr. Prouty oversees the MLBPA’s legal staff and he presides over all legal and collective bargaining matters between active Major Leaguers and the 30 Major League Clubs.
Prior to joining the MLBPA in 2008, he served from 2004–2008 as General Counsel of UNITE HERE, the union formed by the 2004 merger of UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, with HERE, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, and as General Counsel of UNITE from 2001–2004. From 1986–2001, Mr. Prouty was Southern Regional Counsel for UNITE and its predecessor, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, and litigated many of that union’s landmark organizing cases including Fieldcrest Cannon, S. Lichtenberg, Tultex and Kmart. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a member of the National Lawyers Guild, and a member and the former Union Co-chair of the ABA’s Committee on Practice and Procedure Under the National Labor Relations Act. From 1997–1998, he was a member of the NLRB Union Advisory Panel established by then-NLRB Chairman William Gould.
Daniel J. Ratner (George Washington University, B.A., 1969, New School University, M.A., Economics, 1973, Brooklyn Law School, J.D., 1982) is a senior partner at Levy Ratner. He began his career in labor with twelve years as an organizer for 1199SEIU and the UAW. His legal career has spanned over 25 years, during which time he has represented a variety of unions in the profit and not-for-profit sectors, including the SEIU, Teamsters and the UAW. He currently serves as General Counsel to 1199SEIU, representing over 300,000 healthcare workers.
Ratner has litigated labor disputes extensively before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the federal courts. He was a member of the AFL-CIO national litigation team that established the health care bargaining unit rules through NLRB rule making and subsequent litigation up to the United States Supreme Court. He has participated in national oral arguments before the NLRB on the issues of RN supervisory status, independent contractor status, and joint employee status of agency workers. He is responsible for the legal victory that initially established the right of graduate teaching assistants to organize under the National Labor Relations Act.
Ratner has extensive negotiating experience in the profit and not-for-profit sectors. Among the agreements he has bargained is the master contract between 1199SEIU and the League of Voluntary Hospitals, a multi-billion dollar contract covering approximately 150,000 workers in over 100 hospitals and nursing homes.
Judy Scott is a partner in the labor law firm of James & Hoffman in Washington, D.C. Since 1997, Ms. Scott has served as General Counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Judy Scott has practiced labor law for over 40 years, including representation of the United Mine Workers, AFSCME, the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Partnership for Woman and Families, the Alliance for Justice, and the American Constitution Society. She co-authored a handbook for union organizers, Organizing and the Law, and has lectured widely on labor law matters. Ms. Scott is a 1974 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and received her BA from Wellesley College in 1971. She recently served as the Union Co-Chair of the ABA International Labor and Employment Law Committee.
Peter Ward is a Senior Counsel practising in Dublin, Ireland, who specialises in employment law, trade union law and human rights law.
He is the chairperson of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), a non-governmental organisation of lawyers committed to promoting equal access to justice. As non-executive chairperson he presides over the board of the organisation which employs a staff of fifteen lawyers, researchers and administrators who carry out legal and social research, publish policy papers and law reform proposals, and pursue strategic litigation. The most recent FLAC test case resulted in legislative reform recognising the rights of transgender persons. This was the culmination of a fifteen year court battle asserting the rights of transgender persons under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
He is a former Research Scholar at University College Dublin, Lecturer in Law at University College Cork, and member of the executive of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
He was Chairperson of the Employment Bar Association of Ireland from 2012 to 2014.
He was a founder of the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a network of lawyers, NGOs and public bodies committed to the use of the legal process in the public interest.