From farm fields in Illinois ... to classrooms at the University of Illinois ... and even in the halls of Congress, people paid attention when Allen Bock spoke. His knowledge of tax law and its relation to agriculture was unique in Illinois and probably in the nation. He was the nationally known expert on agricultural taxation.
C. Allen Bock graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1968 and immediately became Professor Bock, teaching at the University until his death 31 years later.
In 1970, he developed the Farm Income Tax School, which continues to this day. The schools are held throughout Illinois. More than 40,000 income tax preparers in 38 states have utilized the program.
Al Bock also was instrumental in the founding of the Agricultural Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association, and he was among a handful of farm law experts who helped ISBA form the Illinois Farm Legal Assistance Foundation. The Foundation provided much needed legal help to farmers whose livelihoods were being threatened in the 1980's.
In the 1960's, Stanley Balbach watched with alarm as fewer and fewer residential real estate clients were coming into law offices. He knew that meant an absence of independent legal advice for buyers and sellers who were making the largest financial transactions of their lives.
Instead of idly standing by, Stan did something momentous. He founded Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund in 1964 as a lawyer-owned company devoted to preserving the lawyer's role in representation of clients in real estate transactions.
Today, ATG is an industry leader with a presence throughout Illinois, in several other states, and in Canada. Stan has served on the Board of ATG since its creation, without compensation.
It is no stretch to say that Stan Balbach has been and continues to be the most important advocate for the real estate lawyer in the country. His legacy in the law is one of vision, courage, and dedication.
"He has practiced law in such a manner that makes his colleagues proud that they are members of the legal profession." That's the description of William Costigan in the letter nominating him for Laureate in the Academy.
Bill Costigan has spent his entire professional career in the general practice of law with a special emphasis on civil trials and appeals. His firm - Costigan and Wollrab -was co-founded in 1917 by his father.
He has achieved a significant degree of success in the legal profession while adhering to the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and graciousness. He is also known to have a particularly keen sense of humor.
One of his singular accomplishments has been his longstanding service on the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court. He has served well over twenty years on Inquiry and Hearing panels, and since 1998, has chaired the Review Board.
Again from his nomination letter, the following quote: Throughout his long career he has always embodied the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct, both in and out of the courtroom. End quote.
For many lawyers who practice family law, Dennis France represented the best of what a lawyer should be.
As a lawyer involved with families in the midst of turmoil, he was a calming influence who worked to reduce the rancor that often overshadows the important issues being decided. He loved the law and saw it as a method of arriving at the best possible result for families and for society as a whole.
Dennis was legendary in his service to the organized bar, devoting countless hours as a volunteer with bar associations and on committees of the circuit court. And he never just sat on a committee – he always actively participated and, as often as not, assumed a leadership role.
For decades, he monitored legislation affecting families on behalf of the ISBA, the Chicago Bar Association and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He was a skillful consensus builder, often fashioning coalitions among those groups to win support for legislative improvements in family law. In 1992, the American Academy presented Dennis with its highest honor, the Samuel S. Berger Award for his extraordinary ability to solve human problems.
While his practice for much of his 43-year career was concentrated in divorce law, he was, himself, a devoted family man – husband of Dr. Doris France, father of Ilene and Marcia, and a beloved grandfather.
Joseph Gitlin's nomination as a Laureate was supported by a letter from an Appellate Court justice. The judge became acquainted with Joe because of Joe's columns in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin – especially the columns criticizing the judge's decisions.
Justice Robert Cook wrote "Appellate judges live in an ivory tower and I enjoy reading articles discussing our cases by someone who is very familiar with the subject."
Joe Gitlin is certainly familiar with the subject of family law, because he literally wrote the book on the subject. "Gitlin on Divorce: A Guide to Illinois Matrimonial Law" has been required reading for lawyers and judges involved in divorce work for more than a decade. His Law Bulletin columns on family law date back to 1972.
It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of lawyers have learned much of what they know about the practice of family law by reading Gitlin's books, columns, and newsletters. Family lawyers generally would not be as capable as they are without Joe's many contributions over many years.
Another of his contributions to the profession has been his mentoring of new lawyers – both those who have the good fortune to start their careers at Gitlin & Gitlin, and also through an institute to train new lawyers he co-founded at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Justice Cook said in his letter "I can't think of anyone who has provided greater service to the profession."
Another writer said, "Joe is as close to peerless as any lawyer in Illinois." With that we can all agree.
"Breaking new ground" is a common metaphor. It's based on the hard work necessary to plow a field for the very first time. Although it sounds like a pun, "groundbreaker" perfectly describes the role of Harold "Hank" Hannah in the "field" of agricultural law.
Professor Hannah actually was the founding father of two areas of law – agricultural law and veterinary law. Right up to his death at age 90 last fall, he was still writing a monthly column on veterinary law for the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, an association he helped to organize. He also had helped form the American Agricultural Law Association.
Hank Hannah began in the private practice of law in 1935 after graduating from the U of I law school. His practice was interrupted by service as a paratrooper in World War Two – he parachuted behind enemy lines on D-Day, was later wounded in Holland, and received the Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit, and the Croix de Guerre.
Back in civilian life, he started a premier agricultural law program at the University of Illinois. It was the beginning of a lifelong dedication to contributing his knowledge and wisdom to others. It carried him on in later years to teach at Southern Illinois University School of Law from 1975 to 1995. Along the way, he gained a national and international reputation. He was instrumental in helping other countries develop agricultural universities, including time he spent in India, and later in Pakistan and Nigeria.
For many lawyers throughout Illinois, the name Hank Hannah is synonymous with agricultural law.
I will confess to a slight conflict of interest with the next Laureate. In 1977, Jerald Jackson was sitting on the Committee on Character and Fitness when a young applicant named Tim Eaton came before him. For better or worse, he approved my application. But even with that questionable decision in his background, he still qualifies for membership in the Academy.
Jerald Jackson looms large in the legal annals of the Sixth Circuit of Illinois. Since starting with the firm in which he is now a named partner in 1949, he has tried well over 100 jury trials. As recognition of his ability as a trial lawyer, he became a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
The Illinois Supreme Court has recognized the respect he commands in the legal community. In 1973, he was appointed to its committee on Patterned Jury Instructions, and he served there for 21 years. His service on the Committee on Character and Fitness spanned from 1972 to 1995.
He has performed a variety of charitable services in Decatur, including presidency of the Decatur Lions Club, and valuable service to the Salvation Army and the Governor Oglesby Mansion.
Jerry has long been one of my personal heroes in the legal profession, and he is highly regarded in central Illinois as an exceptional lawyer.
In 1936 when Esther Kegan graduated from Northwestern University Law School, she was embarking on a remarkable law career that spanned 50 years.
In 1940, she sponsored the admission to the bar of her husband, Albert Kegan, and they formed Kegan & Kegan, focusing on intellectual property, food and drug, and scientific cases.
It was in these fields that Esther Kegan earned an international reputation as a highly principled practitioner and an early pioneer in Illinois law. She was active in the ISBA, the Chicago Bar and the American Bar associations. She was an early member, and in some cases a founding member, of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, and the United States Trademark Association, now the International Trademark Association.
She was a frequent contributor to legal journals on issues of trademark law, sometimes co-authoring with her husband and, in later years, with her son Daniel Kegan.
At a time when few women were admitted to practice law, she had to overcome significant discrimination, but she did so by taking the high road. Her greatest weapon to combat discrimination was to excel in the practice, and this she did throughout her career. And by so doing, she encouraged many others – especially women – to enter the legal profession.
Ask Terence MacCarthy who his most famous client has been so far, and he may say Al Capone ... and he won an acquittal. Of course, that was in 1990 in an ABA re-enactment, but still – how many lawyers would have been asked to defend Capone?
Terence MacCarthy is no less legendary because he didn't represent Capone in real life. His résumé speaks for itself:
Six years after his 1960 graduation from DePaul law school, he became the first Federal Public Defender in the nation. After 36 years in that job, it is fair to say he is also the best Federal Public Defender in the nation. In fact, Congress modeled the defender offices in other jurisdictions after the program Terry created in the Northern District.
He is one of the nation's most sought-after speakers at CLE programs, having lectured in all 50 states and in over a dozen foreign countries. As a speaker, he has been described as "engaging, animated, roguish, and unusually intelligent." And it is said he is "Constitutionally incapable of boring anybody for long."
Terry served seventeen years on the Council of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association. When he rose to speak on criminal justice issues in the House of Delegates, everyone listened and almost always heeded his advice.
But it's in the defender's office and in the courtroom where Terry MacCarthy has proven himself one of the best lawyers of our time. He has spent a career ensuring that poor defendants accused of criminal offenses in our courts get justice. In that time, he has built an office which provides indigent federal defendants with high quality representation because of the rigorous training and mentoring he provides his staff. He also leads his office by example, litigating on behalf of clients in the district court and the Seventh Circuit.
He brings extraordinary energy, intelligence, and compassion to his job. And in the process, he has taught countless other lawyers how to represent clients skillfully and ethically.
And if you get the chance, ask him how he won an acquittal for Al Capone.
In baseball, it's called "hitting for the cycle" – that's when a player hits a single, double, triple and home run in a single game.
There's no name for it in the law, but it's remarkable for a small firm to have alumni who have served in every rank of the federal judiciary. Such is the case at Ronald Miller's firm - Miller Shakman & Hamilton - where one of its founders, Arthur Goldberg, went on to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The recent swearing in of Geraldine Soat Brown as a federal magistrate completed the cycle.
Senior partner Ronald Miller is justifiably proud of this achievement. The achievement reflects Miller's leadership of a small firm that is able to attract the best and brightest lawyers because of the fine reputation of its members and its record of public service.
Public service is a hallmark of Miller's career. Since 1977, he has been a member of the Washington-based national Board of Directors of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and he's a member and past chair of its Chicago chapter. In 1997, he received the Chicago chapter's award for Lifetime Achievement in Civil Rights.
Ronald Miller also builds bridges to other professions – he served as Chair of the Human Behavior Institute and as Director of its Isaac Ray Center. In recent years he convened and now moderates a unique discussion group of community leaders called the Public Affairs Roundtable.
Perhaps there is a legal term for "hitting for the cycle" – it could be called "Miller time."
"All who have come to know and work with Dan Moore know that he exemplifies the highest principles of our profession in a quiet, unassuming demeanor which makes us proud to call him our friend and our colleague." Those were the words of one of the nominators of Daniel Moore for Laureate designation.
He is now retired and of counsel with the Decatur firm he had been in for 45 years. His practice was concentrated in the areas of estate planning and probate, real estate, representation of businesses, and especially in later years, the burgeoning field of elder law.
In 1989, Dan became a member of the Illinois Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is enrolled in the Academy's Experience Registry. He was a participant in the 1990 Joint Conference on Law and Aging in Washington, and was an elected delegate to the 1990 Illinois White House Conference on Aging. In 1995, he was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging. In 1996, he was appointed by Governor Edgar to the Council on Aging as secretary. And he has been a mainstay of the ISBA Elder Law Section Council for many years, serving as chairman in 1996-97.
Dan Moore's hallmark has always been representing his clients conscientiously and professionally. He brings the same dedication and care to his many community activities. He has served as president of the Decatur Jaycees, the Council of Community Services, the Decatur Board of Education, and the Symphony Orchestra Guild. He has served on the board of the Decatur Area Arts Council.
In 1995, Dan spearheaded formation of the Central Illinois "US TOO!" prostate cancer support group, and he serves on the Board of Directors of US TOO! International. Perhaps because of his quiet and unassuming demeanor, he has compiled a lifetime record of unexcelled service to his state and community.
William Murphy has represented all manner of clients from all walks of life – farmers, factory workers, bankers and industrialists ... he's counseled school districts, park districts, municipal bodies and corporations ... even Illinois Supreme Court justices have turned to him for guidance and representation.
He has won record-setting verdicts in injury cases in Kane County, and he tried and successfully appealed Molitor versus Kaneland Community Unit District 302, a case that revolutionized tort law in Illinois by abolishing the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
Throughout his illustrious career, Bill Murphy always treated everyone with great respect, friend and foe alike. Or as Wendell Clancy said in supporting Bill's nomination, "Bill always congratulated you, usually in front of your client, for a job well done – even when he had just won the case!"
Clancy also noted Bill's preparation for trial: "In the middle of a jury trial, Bill could make you break out into a cold sweat as he began to introduce evidence that you never even thought of ... in a way that never occurred to you."
Bill also has mentored many lawyers in his career – not only young lawyers starting out, but also some very experienced, successful lawyers who were wise enough to recognize they could learn from seeking his advice, which he always gave freely.
Bill Murphy combines the qualities of a great mind, a great ability to communicate, and unqualified integrity. His clients – and other lawyers – have appreciated these qualities for more than 50 years.