Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Celebration and Discussion of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts

On April 30, The Chicago Bar Association had a day of activities to celebrate these two pieces of legislation, arguably the most important two pieces in our nation's history.  The day began with a taping of a show at WYCC, "Bridging the Divide."  (The show will air originally on WYCC 20 at noon on Sunday, May 24.) 

The town hall featured a conversation about the Civil Rights movement with two of the history makers who were there, Mrs. Juanita (Ralph) Abernathy and the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.   They shared  their recollections of that turbulent time and the status of those two landmark bills in today’s America.  They also challenged the current youth to engage.  The town hall was moderated by Chicago newswoman Renee Ferguson (formerly of WMAQ TV),  and airs Sunday, May 24, at noon and will be repeated on Monday, May 25, at 9:00 pm and Sunday, May 31, at 4:00 pm on Channel 20 - WYCC (PBS).

That evening, The CBA, with its wonderful cosponsors, the Cook County Bar Association and the Black Women Lawyers' Association, held "A Gala Dinner Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts." The evening began with a performance by the Chicago Children's Choir and we then played a number of video vignettes of trailblazers.  After the presentations and recognition of the essay award winner, we recognized four people for their incredible contributions to the Civil Rights Movement:

- Mrs. Juanita Abernathy
- Hon. Martha Mills
- In Honor of President Lyndon B. Johnson, accepted by Mrs. Lynda Johnson Robb
- Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.

Dr. Moss then gave a wonderful keynote presentation. It was an incredible evening and inspirational as well.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Something Wonderful

On Sunday, April 26, The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, joined by the Elgin Master Chorale and four award-winning soloists of The American Prize in Voice, played at Orchestra Hall.  The event, titled "Something Wonderful: The Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein," was something wonderful.

We are fortunate and unique at The CBA.  We have a phenomenally talented full orchestra and also an amazing chorus.  The 1500 attendees were treated to an amazing performance of songs from the collection of Rodgers & Hammerstein.  The music was very moving and the songs, as was Rodgers & Hammerstein norm, were very upbeat and optimistic.

Special thanks to David Katz, the music director and conductor, Rebecca Patterson, chorus director, and to John Vishneski, the Committee chair for the event and the band leader.  They should be proud of the amazing night they gave us.  It was a night to remember and as I quoted in my program letter, "A lovely night, a lovely night, a finer night you know you'll never see."

Pitfalls in International Contracts

On April 17, 2015, The CBA hosted a group of speakers from around the globe to discuss issues in international contracts.  The distinguished panel consisted of:

1.William (Bill) Snyder, Pech de Laclause & Partners, France

2.Carlos Velázquez De León, Basham, Mexico

3.Caroline Berube, HJM Asia Law & Co LLC, China

4.Lalit Mathur, Indconlegal ILS , India

5.Yoshihisa Hayakawa, Uryu & Itoga, Japan

I was honored to be able to moderate this wonderful panel.  The panel discussed a variety of topics and it was very interesting to hear the different treatments of various issues that arise in contracts.   For example, if you are entering into any transaction in China, regardless of what the parties may like, they must draft the contract in Chinese. 

The CLE was the brainchild of Bill Snyder, who we met on the Paris international CLE during Tim Eaton's bar year.  He suggested visiting Chicago and inviting a number of attorneys from other countries to attend.  The 2.5 hours went by quickly as the panel addressed a list of topics.

Barcelona and Seville - a trip to remember

After spending a few days in Madrid, the group traveled to Barcelona by bullet train, joining numerous friends and colleagues in this wonderful city.  On Tuesday, we started off the days of CBA outreach by joining the Barcelona Bar Association at its headquarters for an amazing reception. 

On Wednesday, we toured the Catalonian Supreme Court and then a mock trial was conducted.  The case centered around the rental of a wonderful apartment by a US resident.  She complained about the noise created by the flamenco dancing practices that took place each night on the floor below her in the apartment of the Duchess.  After the trial, the Spanish lawyers and US lawyers discussed the differences in how trials are conducted in their respective cities.

After the trial, the 70 attendees were free to enjoy the city.  A number of the group went to the Barcelona Football Club game and saw Messi score the first goal of the game.  It was an amazing experience.

On Thursday, panels discussed the ethical frameworks in the two countries and then a second panel discussed the future of the profession.  A great discussion was held on each topic.  The group then took a bus tour of Barcelona guided by Tate.  The Mayor of the city received us for a reception at the town hall, which has been in operation for almost 600 years.  We then finished off the amazing trip with a dinner at a Gaudi site.  It was a great time and years of memories were formed.

A number of the group then traveled onto Seville, where they toured the old city and then took a side trip to Granada.

The CBA family enjoyed the trip and looks forward to future international outreach!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


People from The Chicago Bar Association and friends began to arrive in Madrid, Spain, over the Easter weekend to enjoy the front end of the International trip to Spain.  After having a weekend to explore the wonderful city, on Monday, the group of thirty plus enjoyed a tour of the Supreme Court of Spain.  Housed in a former palace, the tour provided insights into the Spanish legal system.  Thanks to our friend, Jesus, who set up the tour and arrangements for Madrid, we learned about the court system and the criminal system of Spain. 

Later in the afternoon, we had a wonderful guided tour of Old Madrid and ended the night with an amazing dinner at Julian de Tolosa.  This restaurant is a satellite of the Julian Casa in northeastern Spain.  Some food critics have called the steak here the best ever.  The steaks lived up to their billing, a wonderful feast and tastily seasoned treat.  Well worth the visit.

The Madrid leg of the international trip is over, we traveled by bullet train to Barcelona on Tuesday.  We had an amazing opening reception at the Barcelona Bar Association and look forward to an amazing couple of days in Barcelona.

Muy  Bueno!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Vanguard Awards Luncheon

On April 2, 6 amazing individuals were recognized at the 2015 Vanguard Awards Luncheon at The Standard Club. 

The Vanguard Awards is an annual luncheon put on by the following six bar associations:
The Asian American Bar Association of Chicago
The Chicago Bar Association
The Cook County Bar Association
The Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
The Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago
The Puerto Rican Bar Association
The event is designed to honor individuals and institutions who have made the law and legal profession more accessible to and reflective of the community at-large.  Each of this year's recipients demonstrate that commitment.  This years honorees were:

Jim Bennett, Midwest Regional Director, Lambda Legal
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago Honoree

Hon. Sharon Johnson Coleman
, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Chicago Bar Association Honoree

Virginia Martinez, Illinois Latino Family Commission
Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois Honoree

Anne Shaw, Shaw Legal Services
Asian American Bar Association of Chicago Honoree

Justice John O. Steele, Ret.
, Illinois Appellate Court
Cook County Bar Association Honoree

Hon. Mary Jane Theis, Illinois Supreme Court
Puerto Rican Bar Association Honoree

Each gave wonderful comments in accepting the award.  As always, the luncheon inspired attendees and acknowledged the leadership the recipients have demonstrated in the community.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The CBA/YLS Shadow Program

Do you know that in February, the YLS launched a shadow program?  If you are a law student, you should find opportunities to shadow a practitioner or judge.  If you are a lawyer, sign up and have someone shadow you - you may be helping that law student decide if a particular type of work or practice area is right.

The purpose of the program is to allow other law students exposure to various fields and types of practice to be able to make similar informed decisions.  Paul Ochmanek, YLS Chair, describes the program:

“The program's purpose was to expose law students to the actual practice of law by creating opportunities to observe ("shadow") actual lawyers.  The law students would obtain valuable experience watching lawyers throughout a variety of practice areas.  The program extended to all areas of practice and well beyond Cook County, as lawyers and students throughout Illinois are permitted to participate.”


Law students should visit the link, is, to review shadow opportunities.  Lawyers should also visit the link to submit shadow opportunities.  This program can be successful if all of you provide such opportunities.
Here is a real life example - on the first day of the program, I posted for a shadow opportunity.  One person responded.  She visited the next week, enjoyed the experience and sent a note asking if she could shadow again during her spring break.  I replied that would be great. She visited, and we have now extended a job offer to her as a paid clerk.  That job could eventually lead to a full-time position when she graduates.  So again, if you are a law student, what are you waiting for?  Sign up for a shadow opportunity today.