ISBA Academy of Illinois Lawyers and the Laureate Award

The Academy of Illinois Lawyers was founded in 1999. Its purpose is to enhance the honor and dignity of the bar of Illinois by recognizing lawyers who personify the greatness of the legal profession.

The Academy honors lawyers who have established and maintained the highest principles of the profession as demonstrated by their pervasive record of service to the law and the public. And not least, by their example, they are beacons to others who seek to uphold the highest standards in the practice of law.

The Laureate Award, the supreme honor bestowed by the Academy, is awarded to those deemed to exemplify the highest ideals of the profession.


A class of Laureates will be selected by the Academy Board of Regents. Laureates will be members of the Illinois State Bar Association and the profession who exemplify values, standards and ideals of the best of the legal profession. A total of 6 Laureates may be selected.

Who Qualifies to be a Laureate

Candidates must have practiced law primarily in Illinois for at least 25 years, must be a member of the ISBA, and have demonstrated a commitment to the highest principles of the legal profession through a pervasive record of service of the law, the profession and the public. A Laureate may be selected posthumously within three years of his/her death.

Who Does Not Qualify

It is recognized that the contributions of the ISBA Past Presidents to the profession and the public have been profound. However, the Academy Board of Regents considered it most appropriate to continue to honor them as members of the Advisory Board of the Illinois State Bar Association and deemed them ineligible as candidates for Laureates of the Academy.

Others who are ineligible for nomination include:

  1. Sitting ISBA Board Members (and for 24 months thereafter)
  2. Sitting Academy Regents (and for 24 months thereafter)
  3. Sitting Judges and Justices

Nomination Deadline is February 17, 2017.

Laureate nominations are by written submission. The Nomination should contain:

  1. Full name and address of nominee
  2. Name of firm
  3. Location of practice
  4. Complete biographical information
  5. Statement of reasons for nomination
  6. Name and address of nominator
  7. A limited number letters of references – No more than ten personal and ten professional

Questions about the procedure may be sent by e-mail to

Nominations must be received by February 17. Please email nominations and letters of recommendations to or via mail to:

Academy of Illinois Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association, Executive Department
424 S. Second Street
Springfield, IL 62701-1779

Past Recipients of the Laureate Award

Board of Regents

  • Irene F. Bahr, Wheaton
  • Mary Ann Hatch, Belleville
  • Shawn S. Kasserman, Chicago
  • Hon. Mary W. McDade, Peoria
  • John G. O'Brien, Arlington Hts