2017 Laureate Award Winners

Patricia Bronte, Chicago

Patricia Bronte

Patricia Bronte is Of Counsel to Stowell & Friedman, Ltd. in Chicago, where she represents minorities and women in civil rights and employment discrimination cases. Before that she was a partner and associate at Jenner & Block LLP, where she represented clients in complex litigation in employment, civil rights, and other cases. A cum laude graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law, she has helped her clients secure noteworthy appellate victories, including the recent milestone Seventh Circuit ruling in McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch, which resulted in a large monetary fund for African-American financial advisors who faced discrimination.

For the past twelve years she has distinguished herself as pro bono lead counsel in habeas corpus proceedings on behalf of several prisoners detained without charge at Guantánamo Bay Naval Station. She has received numerous awards for pro bono service. "While many lawyers were quick to represent clients held at Guantánamo Bay, few have worked as hard or as long as Pat to win their freedom," said nominator Linda D. Friedman.

Joseph M. Gagliardo, Chicago

Joseph M. Gagliardo

Joseph M. Gagliardo is the managing partner of Laner Muchin, Ltd., and chair of its litigation department. Before that he was First Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago, where he counseled the office's forty departments in all aspects of municipal law and represented the city in a wide range of litigation, including the Shakman political-hiring case.

At Laner Muchin, Mr. Gagliardo is counsel to publicly and privately held corporations and has represented many prominent public sector employers, including the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.

Mr. Gagliardo has received numerous awards for excellence, including recognition by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers as one of the leading lawyers in Illinois. He is a frequent author and lecturer and a leader in national, state, and local bar associations.

The first in his family to attend college, Mr. Gagliardo is an honors graduate of The John Marshall Law School. "Joe is widely recognized as one of the premier labor/management attorneys in Illinois and a lawyer's lawyer," said nominator Joseph Bisceglia.

Marshall J. Hartman, Lincolnwood

Marshall J. Hartman

After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, Marshall J. Hartman began his remarkable career when he was hired as the only lawyer probation officer at the Juvenile Court of Cook County. He was promoted to assistant to the presiding judge of the juvenile court and ultimately head of the legal department.

Mr. Hartman moved to the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, where he became administrator of the appeals division and successfully argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He drafted legislation that would ultimately create the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD). He later served as executive director of the Criminal Defense Consortium of Cook County and was general counsel and project director for the National Defender Institute in Washington, D.C.

He went on to be Chief Public Defender of Lake County, an office that received national recognition under his leadership. Finally, he joined a branch of the agency he helped create, OSAD, where he led the Capital Litigation Division until his retirement in 2003.

"There is no doubt that Marshall Hartman has been a giant in the field of legal defense services and a credit to the bar in Illinois," wrote nominator Nancy Albert-Goldberg.

Hon. James F. Holderman, Chicago

Chief Judge James F. Holderman

Chief Judge James F. Holderman served on the U.S. District Court in Chicago before retiring in 2015 after more than 30 years of nationally recognized service to the judiciary. 

Reared on a farm near Morris, Judge Holderman earned his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. He joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, where he rose to head of the public corruption prosecutions unit. He later joined Sonnenshein, Nath and Rosenthal, where he earned a national reputation in criminal defense and civil antitrust law.

He was appointed to the federal bench in 1985, becoming chief judge in 2006. As a trial judge, Judge Holderman presided over hundreds of criminal and civil jury trials including numerous Greylord cases. He oversaw the wiretaps during the investigation of convicted former Governor Blagojevich. He founded the Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program, conducting a multi-year process to develop and evaluate pre-trial litigation procedures. In May, he will be presented with the Order of Lincoln, the State of Illinois' highest honor.

"Jim Holderman was a judge of deep personal courage, whose perseverance in getting to the truth was well known," wrote nominator Richard D. Felice.

Lori G. Levin, Chicago

Lori G. Levin

Lori G. Levin's distinguished career as a litigator spans public service and private practice and reflects a deep commitment to social justice and helping society's most vulnerable.

A graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, Ms. Levin served in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, where she rose to lead the Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Division.

From August 2003 through June 2009, she was executive director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, a state agency dedicated to improving the criminal justice system. In 2009, she opened her solo practice, where she represents defendants in criminal and juvenile matters.

She has been a leader in national, state, and local bar associations, serving among other positions as president of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois and as a member of the ABA's Criminal Justice Section. She is a recipient of the ISBA's Matthew Maloney Tradition of Excellence Award.

"As a leader working every day to improve our justice system for those most in need, Lori represents the highest ideals of our legal profession," said nominators Julie A. Johnson and Annemarie E. Kill.

George F. Mahoney III, Joliet

George F. Mahoney III

George F. Mahoney III is a founding member of the Will County firm Mahoney, Silverman & Cross, LLC, where he focuses on zoning and land development, government and municipal law, litigation, and appellate practice.

A graduate of the DePaul University College of Law, he has served at the highest levels in numerous bar associations and professional societies. Among other leadership positions, he has been chair of the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education board, president of the Will County Bar Association, and chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Judicial Evaluations. He was also president of the Illinois Bar Foundation from 2010 through 2012.

From 1995 through 2002 he served on the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee. He is also a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee.

"George continues to be at the forefront of so many issues for the benefit of the bar, contributing in so many ways to the bar's endeavors," said nominator Mark D. Hassakis.

Nicholas J. Motherway, Chicago

Nicholas J. Motherway

Nicholas J. Motherway, cofounder of Motherway & Napleton, is a top Illinois trial lawyer with numerous large verdicts and settlements. Before that, he was in the Cook County State's Attorney's office and in legendary trial lawyer Philip Corboy's firm.

He served for nine years on the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee and has been a leader in many bar associations, including the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, where he served on the board. A graduate of the DePaul University College of Law, he has been chairman of its advisory board.

Mr. Motherway is a past president of the Illinois chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, whose membership by invitation is limited to one percent of the bar of a member's state.

Mr. Motherway "personifies the type of attorney whose service to his clients and profession demonstrates the highest standards of competence, professionalism, and ethics," said nominator John J. Lynch.

Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa

Michael T. Reagan

Few lawyers have done more to shape the contours of Illinois law than appellate advocate Michael T. Reagan. The many cases he has successfully argued before the Illinois Supreme Court include Kotecki v. Cyclops Welding (limiting contribution liability for Illinois employers) and In re Pension Reform Litigation (affirming the unconstitutionality of legislation reducing state pension benefits). 

He is a past president of the Appellate Lawyers Association and has served on numerous ISBA and Illinois Supreme Court Committees, including the IPI Civil Pattern Jury Instruction Committee, for which he was also reporter. He is a prolific author and CLE presenter and a recipient of the ISBA's Matthew Maloney Tradition of Excellence Award. He earned his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Mr. Reagan is known not only for his incisive arguments but also for his civility and kindness. Hon. Michael Jansz, one of Mr. Reagan's nominators, describes him as a natural teacher who is "constantly increasing his knowledge of the law, mentoring other lawyers, and speaking out in defense of judges when they are unable to do so on their own."

Larry R. Rogers, Sr., Chicago

Larry R. Rogers

One of the nation's leading personal injury lawyers, Larry R. Rogers is a founding partner in Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. He has obtained multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements in a range of cases and was among the early African-American lawyers in Chicago to rise to the top of the legal profession.

His alma mater, DePaul University College of Law, offers a scholarship in his name, which is largely used by African-American students. In an interview with LeadingLawyers.com, he attributed his commitment to representing injured people to his pre-law experience as a respiratory therapist. "I was in an area where I was always helping people, and that's my makeup," he said.

Mr. Rogers' law partner and nominator Todd A. Smith said this: "My partner Larry has the exceptional skills you would expect of a highly accomplished trial lawyer – but his success most certainly results as well from his genuine kindness and sincerity that we and Illinois juries have been fortunate to observe over all these years."