Patrice Ball-Reed, former long-time member of the Women and the Law Committee, was recently honored by the Chicago Defender as a member of the newspaper’s inaugural Class of Women of Excellence. Established in 1905, this highly respected publication has served as a voice of the African-American community, taking stands against racism and segregation and courageously raising political and social issues of importance to its constituency, to Chicago, and to the nation. In honoring the 2007 class of fifty Women of Excellence, the Chicago Defender has drawn attention to an impressive group of African-American women from every segment of the business, entrepreneurial, medical, non-profit, and arts communities, and from government, the media, the entertainment field, industry, and the financial sector, among other professions.
As a member of this inaugural class, Patrice is in good company, but so are all of the other 49 women selected with her—because she is their partner. Patrice currently serves as a Deputy Attorney General of Child Support Enforcement for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. During her long career, she has held numerous positions of importance in governmental agencies, including the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and has been the founder and/or president of an impressive list of bar group and committees. Peers at John Marshall Law School demonstrated their respect for Patrice by electing her as the President of the John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees. In June, she will be sworn in as the Second Vice President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois which puts her in line for the presidency, and she is a past president of the Black Women Lawyers Association. While devoting time and energy to her profession and to her volunteer activities, Patrice also contributes her insights and guidance to a variety of ISBA committees and projects.
Patrice has been a role model and mentor to scores of young women lawyers, particularly women of color, who have learned about taking charge and taking the lead from her example and from her supportive and encouraging personality. We are proud of Patrice for earning this recent recognition from the Chicago Defender, and we applaud and thank this grand publication for choosing to shine the light on her and her colleagues in excellence. Their individual awards and the communal acknowledgment makes us more conscious of the wealth of talent in the women of color among us and the value of diversity in our communities.