Bradley Gayton, 2018 Exemplar Award Honoree

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A lifelong Ford man, Bradley Gayton has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to promoting and preserving the principle that the quality of representation received should not be dependent on economic status. As Group Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of Ford Motor Company, Gayton leads the company’s litigation, tax, corporate and intellectual property efforts. He also champions the company’s pro bono practice. 

Gayton believes it is a privilege to practice law and that lawyers “have an obligation to give back and help people gain access to justice.” He encourages all attorneys at Ford Motor Company to commit at least 30 hours to pro bono work annually, and his goal is 100 percent participation. Under his direction, Ford Motor Company’s pro bono program has continued its impressive legacy as a nationally recognized program. In fact, it was one of Gayton’s predecessors, Jack Martin, then General Counsel for Ford Motor Company, who founded NLADA’s Corporate Advisory Committee (CAC) 25 years ago. For more information about CAC, look here.

Under Gayton’s direction, Ford Motor Company attorneys provide a wide variety of pro bono services across the globe. Gayton was instrumental, for example, in overcoming regulatory obstacles to Ford Motor Company’s pro bono program in Brazil. In the US, Ford Motor Company participates in the Wills for Heroes program that provides wills for firefighters, police, and military personnel. They also run food stamp clinics to help people navigate the complexities of applying for food stamps. In addition to supporting pro bono efforts among his staff, Gayton leads by example.

Gayton himself is heavily involved in a Ford Motor Company program that helps victims of crimes who are willing to assist law enforcement’s investigations apply for a U-Visa. Designed for victims of human trafficking, sexual assault, domestic abuse and other significant crimes, the U-Visa program protects survivors and places them on a path towards legal permanent residence. Transforming the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our nation, Gayton’s work helps women – and their families – stay in the country legally and lead confident lives. His pro bono efforts reflect his passion for making the world a better place for women and girls.

Gayton’s impactful leadership extends beyond Ford Motor Company to his broader community through his work with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Alternatives for Girls, Michigan Advocacy Program and many other organizations. He has earned a reputation for dedicated, passionate commitment to community involvement and pro bono work.