Monday, February 9, 2015

Metropolitan Bar Caucus at ABA Midyear

The Chicago Bar Association, in conjunction with a few other metropolitan bar associations, started the Metropolitan Bar Caucus in 1979.  Former CBA President, George Burditt, was its second president. The MBC is a sub-group of the National Conference of Bar Presidents that "seeks to address the interests and concerns of major metropolitan bar associations throughout the United States."  At midyear and annual meetings of the ABA, the MBC provides programming as well as an opportunity to discuss matters of importance to the metropolitan bars.

This past week, at the Houston ABA Midyear, the MBC put on a fantastic slate of programming.  Its first session discussed non-dues revenues ideas for metropolitan bars, including Amazon Smiles and lawyer referral services.  The second session focused on mentoring programs, especially for young lawyers.  At the end of Friday, the MBC held its In Vino Veritas session, which is a brainstorming program designed to address issues facing the metropolitan bars.  The session was great, with the only critique that one hour slotted for it was not sufficient to discuss the topics at hand.  The session focused on membership, finances and programming issues.  Those three topics came out of a survey the MBC performed last year of its members. 

The CBA is faring well on all three of those fronts and has outstanding programs in place to address non-dues revenue and mentoring.  However, it is always good to network and interact with our peer bar associations.  The sessions and programs confirmed that The CBA has the same issues facing it as other voluntary metropolitan bars and also confirmed that The CBA is a leading bar association addressing issues for its members and the community. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Barcelona and Spain Await Us

This past week I had the honor of attending the Barcelona Bar Association's Festivity of Sant Raimon de Penyafort.  The festivity is a celebration of the lawyers of the Barcelona Bar, with recognition for 25 and 50 year memberships, as well as a remembrance of those lawyers who have passed in the last

The program that is not only well attended locally, but also by the FBE (Federation of Bars of Europe) as well as many other parts of the world.  On Saturday, I spoke with attorneys from Milan, Paris and Osaka about legal aid systems in our various locations. It was a fantastic discussion.

Part of the reason for the trip was also to solidify the Barcelona portion of our International CLE.  The local bar is working hard to ensure that the dining, events, programs and experience will be second to none.  I spent time with the chairs of the International Committee and also with the staff who have responsibility for international programming. 

You do not want to miss this week of experiencing Spain, meeting new friends and visiting with old friends.  Es muy bien y   será un momento de diversión.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Annual Illinois Supreme Court Dinner - ISBA/CBA

Each year, The ISBA and The CBA cosponsor a dinner at The ISBA midyear to recognize the Illinois Supreme Court.  At the dinner, a Supreme Court Justice speaks. This year, Justice Robert Thomas spoke.  A video of his speech is available at  It is worthwhile to spend a few minutes and watch this serious presentation.

Justice Thomas opened by noting his normal approach is lighthearted and self-deprecating. But not on this occasion. He discussed the "crisis of trust" facing our nation on many fronts, including our politicians.  Justice  Thomas noted, " Earlier this year, an ABC news poll confirmed that, for the first time in the 25-year history of that poll, more than half the country disapproves not only of Congress as an institution, but also of their own local representative. This has never happened before, and it is deeply illustrative of the crisis of trust we are facing."

 He then turned to the situation in Ferguson, noting that it is something we as lawyers and judges are involved in the very system being attacked.  He stated, "But we do serve the legal system. And that system is at the heart of the Ferguson crisis, and there is no question that for many in our country, trust in the legal system – in the system you and I serve – has broken down." 

He explained that when we face such breakdown of trust, we can either "choose cynicism and despair, or we can choose hope."  If we choose the latter, "We commit ourselves to ensuring that, to the extent it is within our power, the shadow of injustice, inequality, or corruption never taints the work we ourselves do."

He closed by imploring each of us in the legal community to work with hope and trust and that "it is the very least we owe to one another."

It was a powerful speech and I encourage you to watch it and act upon the demand.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Past Presidents

Yesterday, the annual meeting of the Past Presidents of The Chicago Bar Association took place.  One reason for the meeting is the selection of the two past presidents and two at-large members for the Nominating Committee.  As current president, I have not been to these meetings before, but in a few months will join the group.

One of the most impressive parts of the lunch to me, in addition to being able to interact with the Past Presidents who were in attendance and are remarkable, is spending a few minutes with some of the folks in the room looking at the wall of photos of most of our past presidents. The people who have held the position are an amazing group of individuals, a true "Who's Who" of the Chicago legal community.  On the wall are names that every Chicago attorney knows, as well as so many others who have lead this fine legal community.

After spending time discussing past presidents and the lunch meeting itself, it reinforced what I have known for a long time - being CBA President is about as big an honor as one can imagine and it is humbling to be amongst such greatness.  Big shoes to fill for sure and so the efforts must never end to do our best. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Traffic Court Video

I’m excited to share the CBA and Illinois Judges Association video production of “How to Be Prepared for Traffic Court” with Judge Thomas R. Mulroy.


Before you head to Cook County Traffic Court, watch this short video on how to be prepared and present yourself in a professional, organized manner. Circuit Court of Cook County Associate Judge Thomas R. Mulroy shares tips on how to be prepared for Traffic Court. Presented by The Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois Judges Association. Watch now at

Join Me and The Chicago Bar Assocatoin for a Very Memorable Trip to Spain - Don't Delay

I invite you to join myself and The Chicago Bar Association in Barcelona this April! I am very excited to announce that the CBA is headed to Barcelona, Spain from April 7-10 for a continuing legal education excursion. Our travel plans also include the option to add-on pre- and post-travel to Madrid and Seville. Having participated in previous CBA CLE travel to Dublin, Rome, Manila,  Paris and London, I know firsthand how terrific these trips are. In addition to the educational opportunities these trips provide, the personal connections I’ve made are second to none. To learn more, feel free to reach out to me or visit to see our planned itinerary. However, don’t delay. Registration ends Friday, January 16.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chinese Delegation

On Monday, December 15, The Chicago Bar Association was host to a U.S. Department of State Visiting Delegation of Chinese Law Professors and Lawyers. The main request of the meeting was to discuss the topic, "Preventing Wrongful Convictions through Reliable Evidence."

The panel consisted of Darryl Goldberg, a private criminal defense attorney; Christoper Hotaling, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Nancy Galassini,
with the Illinois States Attorneys; and, Patrick Reardon, with the Office of the Public Defender. The meeting was a great discussion of how our federal and local systems work. The Chinese delegation had a number of questions, including a discussion of the Hearsay Rule.

We were honored to be hosts to this outstanding delegation. The CBA continues to be a place of not only local law profession concerns, but global.