Alabama State Bar
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Gray M. Borden

Assistant US Attorney, Department of Justice
United States Attorney’s Office – MD of Alabama
131 Clayton Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334)223-7280 / gray.m.borden@usdoj.gov

Gray graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2005, as well as Washington And Lee University in Lexington with a degree in Business Administration in 2001. Gray’s area of law is Criminal Prosecution with the US Attorney’s Office – Middle District of Alabama.

While at the University of Alabama School of Law, Gray was a member of Order of the Coif and was a Hugo L. Black Scholar. He was Editor in Chief of the Alabama Law Review during 2004-2005. He
clerked for Senior US District Judge William M. Acker, Jr. before becoming a litigation associate at Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC from 2006-2010. Since moving to Montgomery in January 2011, he has organized a Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force engaging in the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking and money laundering organizations through Title III wiretaps and other sophisticated techniques, is a Freedom of Information Act coordinator, a Hispanic Outreach Program representative to the Middle District of Alabama Diversity Committee, and has gained prosecutorial experience ranging from narcotics distribution and domestic terrorism to gun crimes, tax fraud, and white-collar offenses. Gray is presently a member of Friends of Cloverdale Playhouse, part of the Alumni Council for The Montgomery Academy, is on the Board of Directors for Family Guidance Center of Alabama, and was involved with The Freshwater Land Trust as President of the Junior Board of Directors from 2009-2011 and a member of the Board of Directors from 201-2011. His bar involvement includes being a member of the Birmingham Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section from 2005-2010, Executive Committee for Young Lawyers’ Division in Montgomery from 2006-2011, as well as a part of the Young Lawyers Section with the Montgomery County Bar Association from 2011-present.
    
The attorney who recommended Gray said, “I met Gray Borden early in the evening of March 11, 2008. Within 24 hours I had a pretty good sense of the kind of person, servant and lawyer he is. That evening, Alabama Appleseed hosted its annual Brewer-Torbert Public Service Award reception, and presented the award to former Chief Justice Gorman Houston. Gray was then a second-year associate in Justice Houston’s law firm, Lightfoot, Franklin & White, and as I introduced myself to Gray I assumed, frankly, that he was one of many of the firm’s associates whose presence that evening was ‘suggested.’ Gray politely moved past the small talk and wanted to know about the public interest law work Appleseed does, and among the initiatives outlined I discussed how Hurricane Katrina has exposed me to the problem of low-wealth families owning ‘heir property,’ and how that ownership often results in that family’s loss of that land and its associated equity. Unfortunately, I am usually able to put most folks to sleep when I get going on this issue, as I recall I did to a number of others that night. The next morning Gray followed up our chat and expressed his interest in assisting me in our heir property work. He was the only one who did. We discussed a number of elements of our advocacy and he offered, in addition to his time and energy, to use his leadership in the Young Lawyers’ Division of the State Bar. Over the next couple of years, until he moved to the US Attorney’s Office, he established and led a committee on heir property of the YLD to which I have referred a number of cases of low-wealth families needing pro bono counsel, and which helped to publicize Appleseed’s advocacy. Another law firm had prepared a first draft of a Lawyer’s Heir Property Manual, and when I indicated I was struggling to wrap up the project, Gray and his firm undertook to complete it. Appleseed presented this manual to hundreds of pro bono lawyers in a training session in response to the 2011 tornadoes. So, my surprise at the phone call March 12 four years ago, concerning an otherwise obscure social and legal problem, evolved into my realization that Gray is who he demonstrated himself to be that morning; a enormously talented lawyer who quickly processes information and just as promptly acts on it; someone who intuitively understands how to employ his bar leadership to galvanize talent for important change; a man of quiet commitment to the professional responsibilities of being a lawyer who leads by personal example, thoughtful involvement of colleagues and who has no hesitancy to encourage other to lead and be recognized. Incidentally, I also was pleasantly surprised that that second-year associate made a financial donation, but never mentioned to me that he had. Over my 35-year career, as a lobbyist for the American Bar Association and in doing international rule of law and human rights work in Africa, the former Soviet Union and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, I have been exposed to an enormous range of highly educated, talented and accomplished jurists. I am not able to recall one, at the relatively early stage in the career, who has done as much to lead by how he lives his life as has Gray. A number of months ago I ran into Gray at an outdoor food event (and learned to my great delight that he cures his own meats, grows all kinds of produce on a family farm and brews his own beer!) and asked how his transition to prosecutor was going. He clearly was thriving in putting the bad guys away, and said that he was at the point where he would like to undertake more pro bono work with Appleseed. I was pleased at his offer and will meet with him shortly. Gray will most likely learn a good deal from his hoped-for participation in Class 9 as he does in everything he undertakes; he most certainly will contribute far more than what he learns, for that is who he is. Indeed, he might even supply a fresh salad, smoked ham and a brew!”

In his own words, Gray said, “One of the most significant attributes I would bring to Class 9 is increased practice diversity. There are many issues facing the Alabama Bar for which the criminal-law viewpoint is critical, and leaders in the criminal bar are at no less of a premium than on the civil side. On a more personal note, I am a dedicated student of the law and I have a genuine desire to use lawyers to effect positive change in our state. As a federal prosecutor, my guiding principles must be a sense of fairness and justice for all those with whom I interact. I would like to think that I bring a high level of professionalism, empathy, and even-handed judgment to my practice, and that these attributes reflect well on the profession. Before my appointment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, I might have struggled with being asked what my most important contribution to the community would be. My move to the public sector was prompted, in part, by the feeling that my practice was not as rewarding as it could be. This problem has been corrected. As the prosecuting arm of the Middle District of Alabama’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task, I no longer question whether my work is meaningful. Perhaps, this is simplistic, but when I prosecute drug dealers I never have to ask if I am on the right side of the fight. When I am not deluded into thinking that from a macro level I can win the ‘war on drugs’ single-handedly, I do believe every successful prosecution positively impacts a community, a neighborhood – even a single kid. That, for me, is what makes the work worthwhile. I hope to gain not only a skillset for leadership – whether within the Bar or within my community – but also increased awareness of the pro bono projects and other opportunities for leadership existing within the Bar today. My experience has been that the latter-linking the right people to the right projects, and at the right time – is as critical as the former.”