Past President Richard Thies presented prestigious “Lincoln the Lawyer” Award

ALA's President Robert A. Stuart, Jr. (left) presents the award to ISBA Past President Richard Thies. Urbana attorney Richard L. Thies was presented the prestigious “Lincoln the Lawyer” Award by The Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) during the organization's annual Lincoln's Birthday Banquet February 12 in Springfield. Thies is just the eleventh person to receive the award, which recognizes individuals who reflect the character and ideals of Abraham Lincoln in their legal careers.

“For more than half a century, Richard Thies has served the interests of his clients with skill and integrity, has worked enthusiastically in support of countless civic and charitable organizations, and has provided leadership to the legal profession,” said ALA Board Member Thomas Johnson, who nominated Thies for the award. “Richard is an unfailing, unflinching exemplar of civic virtue and personal honor who is, in Vachel Lindsay's words, 'Lincoln hearted' – Lincoln hearted in every good way.”

Richard L. Thies received a JD Degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1955. He was admitted to the Bar by the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1955; to the U.S. District Court, Central Division of Illinois in 1958; to the 7th Federal Circuit in 1992; and to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. Thies served on active duty in the Judge Advocate General's Department of the United States Air Force from 1956-1958. Since that time he has been engaged in the general practice of law as a member of Webber & Thies, P.C., an Urbana-Champaign, Illinois law firm.

Thies has distinguished himself in numerous areas of law, including labor and employment; commercial, personal injury, and family litigation; communications, banking, real estate, health care, and environmental law; and trusts, wills, financial planning, and other individual legal services. He has also negotiated in the Peoples Republic of China on behalf of U.S. clients desiring to do business in China.

Thies was the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) President in 1986-87. At the national level, he has been a member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors and served as Chair of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation and as Chair of the American Bar Retirement Association.

Thies is also a member of the American Law Institute, The United States Supreme Court Society, The Bar Association of the Seventh Federal Circuit, the Champaign County Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and the International Bar Association.  He is one of the three original incorporators of Attorney's Title Guaranty Fund of Illinois.  He is a co-founder and former president of the Bar Association of the Central and Southern Federal Districts of Illinois.  In 2006, he was selected by his peers as one of six Pillars of the Champaign County Bar Association.

Thies is a member of the President's Council of the University of Illinois Foundation and the Dean's Club of the University of Illinois College of Law.  He is a life member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association.  Thies' activities in the Champaign-Urbana community include President of the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club and the Urbana Association of Commerce, and Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board of the Urbana School Board and the Salvation Army Advisory Board. He has been a member of the Urbana Park Board, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Board, and the Boards of the National Academy of Arts and the Champaign-Urbana Urban League.  Thies was a 1964 candidate for state senator.

Thies is married to Marilyn Webber Thies, a 1954 graduate of the University of Illinois, and they are the parents of five children:  David Thies of Champaign, a graduate of the University of Illinois in economics and law; Nancy Thies Marshall of Salem, Oregon, University of Illinois graduate; Susie Thies Harrison of Hong Kong, a graduate of Indiana University; John Thies of Urbana, a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Illinois College of Law; and Anne Thies Peters of Sherwood, Oregon, a graduate of Indiana University.  The Thies' have sixteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Past Lincoln the Lawyer Award honorees include:  Hon. Frank J. Williams, retired Supreme Court Justice of Rhode Island, 2010; Elmer Gertz, world-renowned Chicago civil rights attorney, 2000; Joseph H. Hartzler, United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, 1998; The Honorable Richard Mills, United States District Judge for the Central District of Illinois, 1992; John P. Frank, distinguished legal scholar and Lincoln biographer, 1991; The Honorable Harlington Wood Jr., Circuit Judge United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1990; The Honorable John B. Hannum, Senior United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1989; The Honorable James R. Thompson, former Governor of Illinois, 1987; The Honorable Robert C. Underwood, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, 1986; and The Honorable Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, Senior United States District Judge, Chicago, 1985.

The Abraham Lincoln Association observes each anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln; helps preserve and make more readily accessible the landmarks associated with his life; and actively encourages, promotes and aids the collection and dissemination of authentic information regarding all phases of his life and career. For more information about The Abraham Lincoln Association, visit

Posted on February 18, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

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