Brooksley Born practiced law for many years in Washington DC. She joined the firm of Arnold & Porter in 1965, became a partner in the firm in 1974 and retired from the firm in 2002. She was the head of the firm's derivatives practice and represented domestic and international clients in legislative, litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters involving derivatives and financial markets.
From 1996 to 1999 she was chair of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the federal government agency that oversees the futures and commodity option markets and futures professionals.
While at the CFTC, Ms. Born served as a member of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets and the Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.
Ms. Born is a 1961 graduate of Stanford University and a 1964 graduate of Stanford Law School where she was president of the Stanford Law Review and received the Outstanding Senior Award. She is a member of the Order of the Coif and the District of Columbia Bar. 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, 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. Ms. Born is a founder of the ABA Women's Caucus and chairs the board of the National Women's Law Center. She has taught Women and the Law at Georgetown Law Center and the Columbus School of Law of Catholic University of America.
Ms. Born is a 2009 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's Profile in Courage Award "presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences." She received the award in recognition of her efforts as chair of the CFTC to urge that the over-the-counter derivatives market should be subject to federal oversight and regulation. The failure to regulate that market is now seen to be a major cause of the recent financial crisis.
Among other awards, she was recognized as a "Champion" in Legal Times' list of "The 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years" in 2008 and was a recipient of The American Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award for her career-long leadership in private practice and public service in 2005. Ms. Born lives in Washington DC. She is married to Alexander E. Bennett, and they have five children and four grandchildren.