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March 14, 2022

Executive Compensation at the American Association For Justice

by Anne Paddock

The American Association For Justice (AAJ), formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America is a tax-exempt, non-profit advocacy and lobbying membership organization (a 501 (c) 6)) for trial lawyers. With 316 independent board members comprising the governing body, AAJ has a reported 56,000 members.

AAJ directly controls four (4) other tax-exempt organizations:

  • AAJ Education Fund:  a 501 (c) 3
  • AAJ Foundation:  a 501 (c) 3
  • AAJ Political Action Committee:  a 527
  • AAJ Robert L Habush Endowment:  a 501 (c) 3

In 2019, AAJ reported total revenue of $27 million (consistent with previous years), most of which came from membership dues ($19 million; which equates to an average annual membership dues of $500), registration ($5 million), and sponsorships/advertising ($3 million).

Expenses totaled $27 million (not including $1 million in depreciation) with the three largest expenses reported to be compensation ($12 million), office-related expenses ($6 million), travel and conferences ($5 million), and fees for outside services ($3 million).  Historically, the AAJ has spent what they received annually resulting in no savings (and actually a negative $5 million in net assets).  So, basically memberships dues go towards paying staff and outside vendors and office-related expenses.

139 employees received $12 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $87,000. 25 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 10 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $1,760,830:  Linda Lipsen, CEO
  • $  305,567:  Anjali Jesseramsing, General Counsel
  • $  280,907:  Anne B Enos, COO
  • $  252,491:  Mary K Berge, Former CFO
  • $  252,165:  Susan H Steinman, Sr Director, Policy and Deputy General Counsel
  • $  217,215:  Meredith Burns, Chief Development Officer
  • $  216,221:  Julia F Duncan, Director, Federal Programs
  • $  189,818:  Sarah E Rooney, Sr Director, Fed Regulatory Affairs
  • $  188,456:  Scott M Gehring, Chief Marketing Officer
  • $  162,782:  Jeffrey White, Senior Associate General Counsel

8 of the 10 most highly compensated employees are female while 2 of the 10 are male (with the 2 males number 9 and 10 on the. list).

AAJ paid for companion travel, which totaled $2,779 for Linda Lipsen’s spouse.

9 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the five (5) most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $366,000:  Nueva Vista Group, LLC, of Catharpin, VA for lobbying/legislative work
  • $316,869:  Centerplate, of Baltimore, MD, for event catering
  • $222,616:  Wilmerhale, of Philadelphia, PA for legal services and strategic work
  • $215,000:  Thorsen French Advocacy LLC, of Washington, DC for lobbying/legislative work
  • $195,000:  The Network Companies, LLC, of Austin, TX for lobbying/legislative work

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018 for the year ending July 31, 2019), click here.

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