Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Chicago Bar Association Holds Foreign In-House Counsel Forum July 30, 2014

On July 30, 2014, The Chicago Bar Association held an educational  breakfast symposium to discuss the proposed rules submitted to the Supreme Court Rules Committee by the Association of Corporate Counsel. Earlier this year, the ACC and its counsel, Michael Wagner of Baker McKenzie, approached The Chicago Bar Association seeking its support of the proposal. The proposal advocates allowing lawyers from other countries to come to Illinois to work for their employers.

We formed a Subcommittee that reviewed the ABA proposal and materials from the ACC and other states that have approved the proposed changes to the rules. The current Illinois rules governing the scope of permissible services provided by in-house counsel in Illinois do not refer to foreign (non-U.S.) in-house counsel.  In order to change this, and expressly permit foreign in-house counsel in Illinois to provide legal services to their employers, two Illinois rules are in need of amendment: Rule 5.5(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (“Rule 5.5”) and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 716 (“Rule 716”). In June, after the Subcommittee met several times, and after Executive Committee recommended supporting the ACC proposal, the Board of Managers voted to support the ACC efforts. One major concern was ethics training of the foreign lawyers and that will be fleshed out by the ACC.

The symposium began with welcoming remarks from me and a very high level summary of the format and reasons for the symposium.  Mike Wagner then provided a more detailed overview of the proposal and history of the proposed changes. Amar Sarwal, Vice President and Chief Legal Strategist, ACC, discussed why this proposal is important to members of the ACC and a status of the adoption of the rules in other jurisdictions. Ellyn Rosen, Deputy Director and Regulation Counsel, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association, next explained the development of the proposed rule changes as part of the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20.  Professor Carol Needham, Professor of Law, St. Louis University School of Law, concluded the first part of the symposium by addressing the various nuances of the jurisdictions that have permitted foreign in-house counsel to work in those jurisdictions.  Carol recommended to the attendees several resources to learn more about the issue.

The symposium then transitioned to a panel discussion of in-house counsel. Thomas Sabatino, Executive Vice President - General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Walgeens, Co., Julia Jackson, Senior Counsel, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Advocacy Liaison and Past President, ACC Chicago Chapter, and Willie Miller, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Mondelez International, discussed the proposal and why the changes were important to their companies and corporations in general.  The panel had an interactive discussion, answering questions along the way, and provided practical examples of how the rule would work for them.

The numerous attendees to the symposium received a large amount of information related to the proposal and feedback from attendees after the symposium concluded suggested the symposium was a valuable program.  Thanks to the Board of Managers of The Chicago Bar Association for agreeing to hold this valuable symposium.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Partnership for the Future

Next time you enter your bar association for a meeting or visit, take a moment to look at the name plates that adorn each of the stairs on the grand staircase in the lobby.  Last night, the Chicago Bar Association held a Partnership for the Future Thank You Reception at the Association.  The reception was held to recognize the generous sponsorship of twenty-one individuals, firms and/or groups.   Each of the 21 sponsored a stair.  The purpose of the Partnership was to raise funds for The Chicago Bar Association to help it retire its mortgage quicker.

The Partnership was the brainchild of current 2nd Vice President, Dan Kotin, who developed and implemented the idea. Thanks to his outstanding efforts, each of the 21 stairs was sponsored and the CBA was able to raise a lot of money towards retiring the mortgage.  A big thank you to Dan for his work on the Partnership, helping ensure the continued financial strength of your bar association.

The Association is very grateful to the following Partnership for the Future sponsors for their generous support:

Aurora Abella-Austriaco
Chicago Bar Association Past Presidents
Clifford Law Offices
Ernest J. Codilis Jr., Codilis & Associates
Cooney & Conway
Daniel A. Cotter
ISBA Mutual
J. Timothy Eaton
Dowd & Dowd Ltd.
Holland & Knight LLP
Hon. Patricia Brown Holmes (ret.)
Jenner & Block
Pattishall McAuliffe
Denis Pierce, Pierce & Associates
Sidley Austin LLP
Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC
Swanson, Martin & Bell LLP
Tomasik Kotin Kasserman
E. Kenneth Wright Jr.
Young Lawyers Section Past Chairs

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Celebration of Pro Bono and Public Service - The 16th CBA & CBF Pro Bono & Public Service Awards Luncheon

On Tuesday, July 15, the CBA & CBF Pro Bono & Public Service Awards Luncheon was held at the Fairmont Hotel.   The event honors and recognizes those from all spectrums of our legal system who are dedicated and committed to pro bono and public service.   The event is one of the most inspirational ones in the legal community each year, hearing the seven award recipients' accomplishments and advancement of the notion of equal access to justice for all.  

This year, CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves changed the beginning of the program to show the video, We Take Care of Our Own, by Bruce Springsteen, a call to arms by Bruce of having a broader view of the world in which we live. At the end of the program, Bob explained the reason for showing the video and expressed the great work that the legal community is doing to commit to the equal access to justice.

The richly deserving recipients of the seven named awards were:

Kimball R. Anderson and Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship
Catherine LongkumerLegal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services

Exelon Outstanding Corporate Counsel Award
Mary Jo QuinnAllstate Insurance Company

Edward J. Lewis II Pro Bono Service Award
Jill M. MetzJill M. Metz & Associates

Leonard Jay Schrager Award of Excellence
Michael P. SengThe John Marshall Law School

Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award
Brian K. JonesHarrison & Held, LLP

Richard J. Phelan Public Service Award
Michael J. PelletierOffice of the State Appellate Defender

Thomas H. Morsch Public Service Award
Denice Wolf MarkhamLife Span

Listening to the efforts these seven give to our legal system on various important fronts (human trafficking, expungements, LGBT rights, fair housing, wills, indigent defendants and domestic violence) should inspire in each of us a desire to do more, to get more involved, to better our community.  Congratulations to these seven wonderful examples of what it means to give back and serve the community.   Let us emulate their conduct and do what we can for the cause of equal access to justice.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Muslim Bar Assocation of Chicago Iftar

On Thursday, July 10, we attended the annual Iftar dinner of the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago.  Azam Nizamuddin, the newly installed President of the MBA, invited us to the dinner.  As we discussed at the Annual Meeting, our goal is to continue the efforts of Tim Eaton, Aurora Austriaco and other past Presidents to engage with other bar associations.  We all have many common goals and visions for our membership and we all have an interest in ensuring that the members' needs are addressed and met.

Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims break their fast at sunset during the Islamic month of Ramadan.   I had never attended an iftar and had never witnessed Muslim prayer time.   This was a first and I am grateful that Azam invited me.   I was able to eat with the large group of MBA members who attended the iftar, as well as with Jim McCluskey, Secretary for the ISBA.  The evening began with some snacking at sunset, followed by prayer time.  After prayers were done, Azam explained what we had witnessed.  

We then returned to the grill for dinner and a program.  McCluskey and I were able to address the audience and we both offered up our thanks and our interest in working with the MBA on issues of common interest to our members, such as CLE.  The main part of the formal program was a presentation by Mohamed Sabur, Director, Program to Strengthen Muslim Charities, Muslim Advocates.  He explained what Muslim Advocates does and then discussed the federal district court case, Hassan et al v. City of New York, which challenges surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey by the New York City Police Department.  Sabur reported that the Muslim Advocates, along with others who filed the suit and accompanied by numerous amicus briefs, have filed an appeal with the 3rd Circuit seeking to overturn the district court's decision granting the defendant's motion to dismiss.

We look forward to working with the MBA on various projects and with other bar associations during this bar year.

Friday, June 27, 2014

CBA Annual Meeting

On Thursday, at The Standard Club, the Chicago Bar Association held its Annual Meeting.  Father Greg Sakowicz started the meeting with a wonderful invocation, followed by the annual meeting business portion of the meeting.  Outstanding President Tim Eaton than gave his remarks and summarized an absolutely fantastic bar year under his leadership. The gavel then was turned over to me.  I am honored and privileged to be the President for the coming bar year.  It is a year of service and I am committed to working with the YLS, led by Chair Paul Ochmanek, to address the needs of the young lawyer.  They are the future of our profession.   This is your bar and as I have said a number of times, I am hear to listen and serve you.  My email is, and the Twitter handle is @cbaprez201415.   Shoot me a note, give me a call, express your concerns.   We are here to serve the members.   With the outstanding staff of the CBA, led by Executive Director Terry Murphy and Assistant Executive Director Beth McMeen, and outstanding Board of Managers, committeees, and YLS, we have the tools in place to provide value added benefits to all of our members.  Look forward to continuing to work with you in this coming bar year.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jenner and Block- Celebration of a Century

Congratulations to Jenner & Block, celebrating its Centennial Anniversary this year.   Jenner is a leading firm on the national stage in both corporate transactions and in litigation.  But Jenner is not just an outstanding firm of lawyers. One of the things we discussed last night with several people in attendance at the wonderful celebration they held at the office was how as a big firm, they not only are serious about the exceptional practice of law, but also dedicated to pro bono and the community.  Exhibits last night at the reception reflected some of that involvement.   Their websites states: "A commitment to public service is part of the DNA of our firm.  We are known for our long tradition of pro bono advocacy, as well as service to the bar and to our communities.  The American Lawyer magazine has ranked Jenner & Block as the Number One pro bono firm in the country five times, most recently in 2012.  Other accolades have come from The National Law Journal, which named the firm to its 2011 "Pro Bono Hot List," and Law360, which has recognized the firm as a top “Pro Bono Firm” for three consecutive years since 2010."  And committed they are.  They have worked extensively on Guatanamo Bay, as just one example of their commitment.  They are also committed to community and bar involvement.   Howard Suskin currently serves as Pro Bono General Counsel to the Chicago Bar Assocaition.  Terri Macherin was President of the CBA a few years ago, Jeff Colman was President of the Chicago Bar Foundation, and the list goes on.  At the vice chair and chair orientation this week, a number of attorneys who introduced themselves were Jenner attorneys.  Congratulations to a fine Chicago-founded and based firm that sets the standard for how big firms should conduct themselves in the legal community and larger community.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

From the Desk of CBA First Vice President Dan Cotter

Today, we held orientation for the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the CBA Committees.  More than 80 Chairs and Vice Chairs attended the orientation.    Our committees are the lifeblood of this organization.    With the work they do and the second to none staff we have at your bar association, including Executive Director Terry Murphy and Assistant Executive Director Beth McMeen, our bar association is the best bar association I know.   Committees hold monthly meetings with outstanding speakers and cutting edge topics and also put on 150+ 3 hour CLE courses per year.   Those numbers are an amazing testament to the commitment our Chairs and Vice Chairs make to ensure this is the top bar association in the nation.

Attendees met other leadership of the committees.  After being welcomed and given a sneak peak of the projects for the coming bar year, Terry Murphy provided an overview of the CBA and the work it does.  Attendees next heard form Karen Stanton, who covered the responsibilities of committees.  Sharon Eiseman, Legislative Committee Chair, next discussed the important work that the CBA does in the legislative arena, and our lobbyist, Larry Suffredin, covered the past legislative year.  

Bob Glaves discussed the important work that the Chicago Bar Foundation does to ensure access to justice, and then Al Nicgorski, Vice Chair of the CLE Committee, and Beth Mcmeen discussed  CLE and committee meetings.   Orientation provides the committees leadership with the tools to be effective leaders.   In a year of service, these individuals truly the lifeblood of your bar association.