2004 Laureate Award Winners

Harris H. Agnew

Harris H. Agnew of Rockford, a 1972 graduate of The John Marshall Law School, was elected to the circuit court in 1976. He served for 10 of his 20 years on the bench as chief judge. He has been of counsel to the Agnew Law Office, with his son, Patrick H. Agnew, since January 1997. Judge Agnew served twice as chief judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit and is credited with pioneering the first court-annexed arbitration and mediation programs in the state.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's words ring true.

Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime. And, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.

"Few lawyers have made a greater impact on a single area of practice, while devoting endless uncompensated hours to promote the concept of ADR," his nominators said.

The "Frank Lloyd Wright" of alternative dispute resolution, he has left behind footprints that will endure.

"Harris is a man of unwavering character. He is a man of exceptional honor, trustworthiness and honesty. He treats everyone with equal respect, no matter what their station in life. He is warm and genuine, but also politically savvy. For a man of such accomplishment, he is remarkably humble and kind."

He is simply relentless, tenacious, and motivated by his sense of right. He never gives up, nor does he give in. He very softly but surely stays the course, and moves mountains.

He is a coalition builder, and by his charming, self-effacing demeanor, makes everyone he talks to feel as though they have been friends for life, even at first meeting. He simply wins people over to the cause.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for the year 2004, from Rockford, the Honorable Harris H. Agnew.

Robert P. Cummins

Robert P. Cummins of Chicago, a partner in Cummins & Cronin, is a 1962 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law. His four decades in civil and criminal trial practice included service as vice president and trial counsel for Motorola.

Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.
-Winston Churchill

Bob Cummins personifies that ideal.

A past chair of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board and a former member of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Review Board, Cummins was also a founder of the Lawyers' Assistance Program and the Legal Clinic for the Disabled.

He also serves on the Joint Committee on Lawyer Regulation and is a past chair of the ABA Committee on Professional Discipline and the Task Force on Ethics 2000 of the Section of Litigation.

He has contributed hundreds of hours to a myriad of pro bono activities and indigent prisoners.

He has exemplified the best of our profession in so many ways -- as a trial lawyer, as lawyer and counselor for the helpless and the victimized, as teacher, as model for anyone who might wonder whether law can be practiced on a daily basis in the best and most honorable traditions of our profession.

At all times he has conducted himself with the dignity befitting an advocate and counselor in a learned profession and he has committed himself "to service without prejudice, integrity without compromise, and the diligent performance of his duties with the utmost good faith."

As one of the original class of Laureates, Phil Corboy, said, "Bob possesses my five favorite "C's" for being a complete professional: competence, credibility, charisma, care and compassion. For Bob, I add two more "C's" to my list: character and civility."

One of Bob's strong beliefs is that the client comes first. His willingness to take positions that are politically incorrect or generally not favored marks him as an advocate who is fearless in his loyalty to his client and zealous in the belief of the legal processes of the law.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Chicago, Robert P. Cummins.

Sharon L. Eiseman

Sharon L. Eiseman of Arlington Heights, a 1978 graduate of DePaul University College of Law is Of Counsel to Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn.

Eiseman began her professional life as a high school English teacher. That was followed by a stint in the mental health profession, working with a group of adolescents. She changed her career path and attended The DePaul University College of Law while raising two daughters.

Eiseman served as an in-house counsel to the City of Evanston, and practiced later in the Cook County state's attorney's office and at the firm of Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Rolek.

The legal arena which Sharon chose was the representation of governmental bodies. First, as a State's Attorney, then as an in-house municipal attorney and finally as an attorney representing governments of all kinds, large and small, Sharon has performed at the highest level as a public servant. Her main goal was to provide the victims of crime, abuse and other injustices help through a mystifying and not always seemingly successful process. The people she worked with, whatever the result, left with more confidence in the system.

Sharon Eiseman is truly a worthy attorney who inspires women attorneys and the community at large to make a difference to many women and children who otherwise may be overlooked. Women have been guided by her charismatic spirit and tireless efforts to insure that women move forward in every aspect of community life.

She is widely revered as the founder of the Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project, the Joint Task Force on Issues Affecting Women as They Age and the Deborah's Place Women's Shelter Dinner Project.

She undertook a project which addressed concerns of minority women students and professors at Illinois law schools. This report, "Double Jeopardy: Experiences of Women Students of Color At Illinois Law Schools" was also adopted by the bar association and, again, it became a useful tool in addressing barriers to equality for these women. This report has become a model for other women's bar groups to address similar problems in their own communities.

Ms. Eiseman developed and facilitated a program aimed at expanding understanding between the Jewish and African-American communities, which involved the Chicago Urban League, several African-American organizations and community leaders.

Sharon's legal organizational work was in a variety of areas; some work related to her area of practice, and other work related to her deep commitment to social justice and equal opportunity. "One could easily say that Sharon is a lot of talk and a lot of action. Indeed, she is a role model for all of us who question whether we have the time to serve our profession outside of our areas of practice."

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Arlington Heights, Sharon L. Eiseman.

Anthony J. Fornelli

Anthony J. Fornelli, a Chicago attorney who is of counsel to Amari & Locallo, is a 1960 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

In the words of Chief Justice Charles Evans,

The highest reward that can come to a lawyer is the esteem of his professional brethren. That esteem is won in unique conditions and proceeds from the impartial judgment of professional rivals. It cannot be purchased. It cannot be artificially created. It cannot be gained by artifice or contrivance to attract public attention. It is an esteem commanded solely by integrity of character and ... the honorable performance of professional duty.

Fornelli has been director of the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions, chair of the Chicago Plan Commission and commissioner of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeal.

Tony also worked for the City of Chicago Corporation Counsel where he won the lion's share of the cases he tried.

He is always giving his time, money and efforts to friends, the profession and those less fortunate in the community. He is a true giant to those who know him.

He was honored by the Prime Minister of Israel Medal for his dedication to civil rights.

From 1979 to 1996, Tony was unselfishly responsible for putting together Festa Italiana on Chicago's lakefront at great personal expense in time and resources.

He served as president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian-Americans and was a major influence in this umbrella organization many years before and since.

Tony always has and continues to consider himself first and foremost a lawyer and a Justinian.

After the last federal decennial census, when the only two U.S. congressmen to be redistricted out of office were Italian-Americans ≠ Frank Annunzio and Marty Russo ≠ Tony Fornelli heard the call, along with a handful of others, and was a founding board member of the Italian American Political Coalition.

During 1999-2000, Tony took the IAPC to even higher levels as its president after the outstanding work of his predecessors, and he continues to give generously of his time and resources on the IAPC board.

His nominators were unanimous in concluding that there are few other men or women who have done more for the legal profession or the Italian-American community than Tony Fornelli. He has served as a role model, mentor and friend, and certainly one of the true leaders of his community for well over four decades.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Chicago, Anthony J. Fornelli.

Patrick J. Hughes, Jr.

Patrick J. Hughes Jr. of Springfield retired in December 2002 after nine years as first assistant state appellate defender. He was the office's legal director from 1979 to 1993 and legislative liaison.

A 1960 graduate of the Loyola University School of Law, Hughes is secretary of the ISBA Committee on Government Lawyers. A past chair of the Human Rights Section Council, he has been its newsletter editor for more than 15 years. He was a past president of the Illinois Public Defender Association.

Theodore Roosevelt's words capture Patrick Hughes accomplishments.

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

"He is a lawyer's lawyer." "His commitment is second to none."

Hughes is "one of the great criminal defense attorneys of our time. In defending individuals, he defends our Constitution."

Besides dedicating his professional life to public service and successfully representing scores of clients, Pat was a leader in providing training for public defenders. He put together and lead a very successful trial training course which, for many years, has been put on by the State Appellate Defender and the Cook County Public Defender.

Pat Hughes is often the "unseen man." He does great work, conceives of amazing programs (like the trial practice program for public defenders he started nearly twenty years ago that runs annually), and has incredible insights, but he remains in the background. He does not need accolades, just the quiet satisfaction of a job well done.

He has been a mentor, a role model, and an inspiration to those who face the daunting task of safeguarding the rights of the indigent. His impact on the quality of representation afforded to such individuals across our state is not quantifiable. No one can put a value on his contributions other than "priceless."

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Springfield, Patrick J. Hughes, Jr.

Martin H. Katz

Margaret Thatcher said,

What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.

Martin H. Katz, now a partner at Katz, Huntoon & Fieweger, PC, was born in Moline in 1937. He attended George Washington University and received his bachelor's degree from Augustana College, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1962 from the Northwestern University School of Law, with honors, and began as an associate with his current law firm, then known as Reidy, Katz, McAndrews, Durkee & Telleen. Since then, Marty has participated in numerous bench trials and more than 125 jury trials, practicing primarily in civil litigation including commercial and corporate litigation, contract actions, anti-trust matters, construction litigation, product liability cases, professional liability cases involving architects, engineers, lawyers and physicians, and, more recently, defending approximately 100 separate asbestos cases.

In June 1991, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Martin Katz as a member of the Review Board of the Attorneys Registration and Disciplinary Commission, and he was honored last year for his 12 years of service with the ARDC.

Called upon to judge his fellow attorneys, Marty was one, who without fail, read the record, no matter how voluminous, each and every time. Marty labored long and hard over every decision, procedural or substantive, and tried to do the right thing without being overly draconian nor failing to discipline appropriately when necessary.

"Professionally speaking, Katz is widely known by members of the bar as a skilled litigant who lives by the highest standards of professional courtesy," said retired Supreme Court Justice James D. Heiple of Peoria.

Those are constants with Martin H. Katz which every attorney should emulate: He has always done his "homework," he approaches each case with both diligence and an original perspective; he is always a challenging yet completely professional adversary; yet always maintains his very original sense of humor.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Rock Island, Martin H. Katz.

Patrick T. Murphy

Man is only truly great when he acts from his passions.

Benjamin Disraeli describes Pat Murphy.

The county's public guardian for more than 25 years, Murphy is a 1965 graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law. Previously, he was with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, representing delinquents in Juvenile Court.

For over twenty-five years Patrick Murphy has chosen the path for the office of Public Guardian. His decisions on cases are always based on what he views as best for his clients. He continues to maintain his independence and the independence that he has won for his office throughout a case, regardless of the odds or other factors that come to bear on a case. He has taken on the massive expansion of the public guardian's office from a small, virtually unknown office, to one with hundreds of employees and a national reputation.

One of the original Laureates, Tom Geraghty, said, "I first met him when he was employed by the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and was representing children on the delinquency side of the Juvenile Court of Cook County. Patrick's concern over the plight of disadvantaged children and his skill in addressing the problems which beset them was clear. Patrick's first legal initiatives on behalf of children involved challenges to the way in which state penal institutions for children were run. He filed law suits on behalf of children who were consistently mistreated as wards of the Cook County Juvenile Court. Patrick's litigation on behalf of those children led the way to improvements in the Juvenile Department of Corrections."

"Although his approaches have been controversial at times, no one can doubt the effectiveness of his advocacy and the sincerity of his motivation."

"While his positions have not always been popular, I can think of no lawyer in Illinois who has done more over the last 30 years to focus the legal profession's and the public's attention on the plight of abused and neglected children."

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called Murphy "a strong voice for the voiceless: children, the elderly, people with disabilities and the medically and mentally ill. He is a fierce advocate, fine attorney and represents the highest ideals and best practices of the legal profession."

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Chicago, Patrick T. Murphy.

Charles L. Palmer

Charles L. Palmer of Champaign, a 1957 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, is of counsel to Flynn, Palmer & Tague. Previously he served as assistant state's attorney and assistant city attorney for Champaign.

He has a flawless reputation in the community and is extremely well respected by all those who have known and worked with him. He is an outstanding lawyer and a true gentleman of the bar. Charles is of the highest moral character, extremely ethical and possesses those qualities of character, mind and integrity that inspire confidence. He has a strong sense of duty to the law and judicial system.

His reputation as one of the most outstanding trial lawyers in central Illinois was earned through decades of skilled, tenacious and successful advocacy. His reputation as a caring mentor for young lawyers was earned through his unselfish willingness to share experiences and assist with professional development of those lawyers less experienced than himself.

Despite his status as one of the most respected and successful lawyers in the region, Charlie has remained unfailingly modest. "Charles is a lawyer who is truly skilled, who nurtures future practitioners, and who exemplifies the kind of lawyer we would want all lawyers to be."

Despite the time commitment involved, he has been and remains the "go-to guy" for generations of lawyers in Champaign County.

Charles Palmer's reputation is above reproach, but even more important, he is a great person who people love to be around. His quick wit and civility, as well as his legal ability, make him a favorite with other lawyers including those who may oppose him. He is held in the highest esteem among lawyers.

He has been the epitome of a public servant along with being courteous, humorous, talented, trusted and respected. If all lawyers were like Charlie, there would be no lawyer jokes.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Champaign, Charles L. Palmer.

Neil K. Quinn

Neil K. Quinn of Chicago, a partner in Pretzel & Stouffer, is a 1957 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

Neil Quinn is a Chicago native, born in 1929 in the Austin neighborhood. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1951. Between college and law school, Neil served his country as a United States Marine, earning the rank of Captain, and an honorable discharge.

Neil is, and always has been, a trial lawyer. Following graduation from law school, he worked for Wyatt Jacobs and then, in 1961, joined the firm of Pretzel & Stouffer in Chicago. He has practiced there ever since.

His stature has earned him the respect of both plaintiffs and defense attorneys, judges, and clients.

The Supreme Court appointed Neil to serve on the ARDC Board. Neil has handled himself with his classically gracious demeanor. In all matters, he was scrupulously fair, carefully considering all arguments before coming to any conclusions. But just as reliably, Neil was compassionate and was careful to look to the motives and underlying causes for misconduct. He sought to uphold the important values of the legal profession, particularly integrity, competence and dedication to the client's cause.

Neil Quinn is a classic example of a lawyer who is respected for a lifetime of excellence in his own practice of law coupled with important contributions to the betterment of the profession.

From 1991 to 1994, he provided a solid leadership and vision as Chairman of the Board of St. Francis Hospital of Evanston. He spearheaded the development of the hospital's strategic long range plan. Neil had a special interest in the hospital's mission to serve the poor and uninsured members of its community. The major focus of his commitment was the operation of the St. Francis Community Health Center which served the South Evanston and Rogers Park neighborhoods.

A respectful client notes that his company's relationship with Neil grew, in great part, due to Neil's innate ability to identify core issues, bring clarity to confusion, project a sense of mutual respect to all he comes into contact with, and his tenacious pursuit of justice for his clients.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Chicago, Neil K. Quinn.

Keith E. Roberts, Sr.

Keith Roberts Sr., a 1953 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, is Of Counsel to Roberts & Associates. Born in 1928 in White Hall, Roberts was the son of a Baptist minister who had to move the family every four years. By the time he was in fourth grade, he knew he wanted to be a trial attorney.

"Keith Roberts embodies all the qualities that lawyers ought to have. He is Atticus Finch incarnate," said 18th Circuit Judge Robert Anderson, one of his nominators. "He is generous beyond comparison with his time and his talent, and he is the man who always does the right thing all of the time."

"Anyone who has had the opportunity to work alongside him, or try a case against him, walked away from the exchange a better lawyer and a better person."

"Keith is a legend in the county and has left a legacy with the legal aid program." "Roberts is the kind of person one meets and never forgets." "He seems to do everything with ease." "He has a commanding presence, is well received by the community and is an exemplary role model, both in and out of the courtroom, for young lawyers to aspire to. His magic is preparation, modesty, and civility."

More than just an accomplished lawyer, "this man has devoted his life to knowing and loving the law and, above all, teaching other lawyers and judges to do the same."

Keith's reputation for honesty, preparedness and genuine concern for clients was the standard by which lawyers should be measured. Many young lawyers have improved their craft by watching Keith as a role model in the courtroom and the community.

He has zealously and diligently represented his clients' interests but always within the bounds of civility, integrity and high ethical standards.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Wheaton, Keith E. Roberts, Sr.

Thomas P. Sullivan

Thomas P. Sullivan of Chicago, a graduate of Loyola Law School in 1952, is a partner in Jenner & Block, where he has practiced since 1954 except for four years as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District from 1977 to 1981.

Thomas P. Sullivan is recognized as a "lawyer's lawyer" and a "people's lawyer." His work has been recognized on

  • Death penalty reform
  • Pro bono representation of indigent defendants
  • Representation before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC)
  • Fighting racial discrimination
  • Fighting public corruption

He has also championed public causes, some of which are unpopular, solely in the interests of improving the criminal justice system in this country. "Tom is a lawyer of great intellect, skill and courage, and represents the best of our profession."

"He is indeed a giant of a lawyer."

Just one classic story ñ Tom's role in the famous Chicago 7 Conspiracy Trial. He represented the four lawyers who had been held in contempt of court by Judge Julius Hoffman. He subsequently represented the defendants in that case in obtaining bond pending appeal, and he helped to overturn the contempt citations against the defendant's trial lawyers, Bill Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. "Tom's efforts to bring that unfortunate chapter of American legal history to a just conclusion was an act of courage in the highest tradition of our profession."

From one of his colleagues, "Tom is a man of enormous depth beyond his well-known legal skills. I have marveled at the moral compass, which is his trademark. His support of pro bono work at Jenner & Block has been unwavering. Tom has led this effort not only through the strength of his presence and spirit, but by example as well, personally representing individuals with no material means in an incredible variety and number of matters, large and small. And while many of those matters have been high profile, Tom has consistently resisted publicity others plainly would have sought with zeal. His motives have been utterly selfless."

"His sincere and equal treatment of all individuals, regardless of background or social status, has been as impressive as his dedication towards the advancement of these worthy goals. In this regard, Tom truly practices what he preaches."

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Chicago, Thomas P. Sullivan.

James B. Wham

Jim Wham of Centralia, is a partner in Wham & Wham. He graduated in 1946 from the University of Illinois College of Law after service as an Army Air Corps major in Europe and Africa during World War II.

An active trial lawyer at age 85, he shows no signs of wearing out.

"In this part of Illinois, Jim Wham's name would make the list of almost anyone naming the finest lawyers in Southern, Central or all of Illinois," a colleague wrote. "He is not only a fine lawyer, he is a true gentleman in all ways."

Wham has devoted thousands of hours to matters that affect his community, and his clients.

"Jim Wham has unquestioned integrity. He is a true student of the law and remains so after 50 years of practice."

Jim was the true inspiration for the Academy of Illinois Lawyers. Cheryl Niro watched as Wham received the ISBA's General Practice Section's Tradition of Excellence Award in 1998. She thought, the state needs an Academy of Illinois Lawyers who will serve as examples for all lawyers. The Illinois bar needs Laureates like Jim Wham.

Mr. President, may I present, a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers for 2004, from Centralia, James B. Wham.