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Diversity Leadership Council Newsletter
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Council

June 2007, vol. 1, no. 1

Now every article is the start of a discussion. If you're a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, you can comment on any of the articles that appear below.

In This Issue…

  • Diversity in the Legal Profession: What we can do to open doors?
    The Illinois State Bar Association proudly stood as a co-sponsor of the ABA resolution supporting the creation of a Diversity Pipeline to help guide young minority students to the law. With over 70 official sponsors of the resolution, Illinois stands with 20 state bar associations and numerous county, city and specialty bars, as well as ABA sections, in support of opening doors to offer opportunities to any student who aspires to a career in the law.
  • Diversity in the Legal Profession: ISBA’s commitment continues
    The Illinois State Bar Association has a long-standing and unwavering commitment to diversity in the legal profession and in the Association.  
  • Chair’s column
    As chairs of the Standing Committees on Women and the Law and Minority and Women Participation, we are pleased to share with you the diversity outreach and educational efforts that our committees have undertaken during the past year. 
  • Diversity Roundtable: Pipeline to the future
    During the past year, the Standing Committee on Minority and Women Participation has been exploring ways that the Illinois State Bar Association can encourage more minorities traverse the educational pipeline into the legal profession.
  • The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and its mission
    The Illinois Supreme Court took a dramatic step forward by creating the Commission on Professionalism.
  • Diversity is a yarn, until women of color are woven into the law firm fabric
    Regardless how accomplished a woman may be, she cannot climb, much less reach the top of, the leadership ladder unless she spends a certain amount of years in her work environment.
  • Articulating the business case for inclusion
    Abundant research, practical experience, and media stories support the business case for diversity. Ensuring that diversity is achieved requires committed leadership and rigorous assessment so that change is both measurable and sustainable into the future.
  • Summary of the 2006 Diversity Luncheon
    On September 18, 2006, the Peoria County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee held its third annual Diversity Luncheon and outdid itself again.
  • The Chicago Call to Action for Women Attorneys: The right thing to do for law firms
    The Call to Action was launched on January 25, 2005 to increase the number of women partners and to enhance leadership opportunities for women attorneys in law firms.
  • Diversity news
    The Minority Corporate Counsel Association selected the law firm of Laner, Muchin, Dombrow, Becker Levin and Tominberg, Ltd. as the recipient of the Thomas L. Sager Award for the Midwest Region.
  • Mission Possible: Black Law Students Association at SIU Initiative
    BLSA, which is an organization comprised of a small group of African American and other minority law students, has targeted minority elementary, middle, and high school students, most of whom will come from low income and educationally deprived communities in Illinois and surrounding areas.
  • Excellence and strength through diversity: The positive impact on the future of our profession
    Increasing diversity within the legal profession not only contributes significantly to the quality of the profession, but also serves to enhance the public’s confidence in, and respect for, the legal system. As members of the legal profession, it is our duty and obligation to assume the lead in assuring that there is gender, racial, ethnic and sexual orientation diversity within our ranks.

Related Court Cases

Retaliation
Mendez v. The Town of Cicero

Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Town retaliated against her for reporting alleged sexual harassment by deputy police superintendent toward a subordinate, by transferring her from executive administrative assistant to superintendent to clerk in building department. Jury found that transfer was retaliatory, but did not award her damages for alleged emotional distress and lost future earnings. Court separately ruled Plaintiff was entitled to reinstatement and awarded her $330,412 in attorney fees. Award of attorney fees was reasonable. Fees are not required to be proportional to amount of Plaintiff's own award. Reinstatement vindicated Plaintiff's right under Human Rights Act to be free from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. Plaintiff's refusal to accept Town's unilateral decision to transfer her was not a pretext to inflate attorney fees and costs.  (FITZGERALD SMITH and LAVIN, concurring.)

FOID Act
Baumgartner v. Greene County State's Attorney's Office

Plaintiff applied to Illinois State Police (ISP) for a FOID card but was denied based on his criminal history, which included misdemeanor conviction for domestic battery. Court granted ISP's request to intervene, and denied Plaintiff's petition. Plaintiff failed to meet his burden to prove his entitlement to relief under Section 10 of FOID Act, including that relief would not be contrary to federal law. Record is sufficient to support ISP's claim that Plaintiff did not serve time in jail after his conviction and sentence for domestic battery; he was granted credit for days served, which was length of his sentence. Thus, he did not lose his civil rights, and thus he could have no civil rights restored. Thus, Plaintiff cannot take advantage of Section 921(a)(33)(B)(ii) of federal Gun Control Act's "civil rights restored" exemption, and thus remains under a federal firearm disability. (STEIGMANN and APPLETON, concurring.)

Race Discrimination
People ex rel. Madigan v. Wildermuth

(Court opinion corrected 4/12/16.) Attorney General filed a complaint alleging that Defendants (attorney and realtor) violated Section 3-102(B) of the Illinois Human Rights Act by intentionally targeting predatory practices, in loan modifications for real estate,  against minorities by aiming their advertising at African-Americans and Latinos. The State may claim a violation under the Illinois Human Rights Act pursuant to a reverse redlining theory where it did not allege that the defendant acted as a mortgage lender. (REYES and GORDON, concurring.)

Mandamus
Cebertowicz v. Madigan

Plaintiff, an inmate at DOC, filed pro se complaint for mandamus relief, demanding that the AG investigate his claims his civil rights were being violated by DOC employees who refused to provide him with his "constitutional right to a religious diet". Illinois Civil and Equal Rights Enforcement Act contains no consequence for noncompliance, and thus the statute is discretionary, not mandatory. AG has no clear duty to act, and Plaintiff has no clear right to requested relief.  Thus, court properly dismissed Plaintiff's mandamus complaint. (STEIGMANN and APPLETON, concurring.)

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