The newsletter of the ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Council
Diversity Leadership Award
The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes long-standing, continuing and exceptional commitment by an individual or an organization to the critical importance of diversity within the Illinois legal community, its judiciary and within the Illinois State Bar Association. Congratulations to the 2013 winner, Stacy Campbell-Viamontes and the 2014 winner, Annemarie Kill.
“Strong, professional, passionate and involved are all words that come to mind when I think of my friend, colleague and fellow Illinois State Bar Association member, Stacy Campbell-Viamontes. To say that Stacy Campbell-Viamontes is devoted to the legal profession and developing a diverse bar is an understatement,” wrote Kristyn Dunn in her nomination of the 2013 Diversity Leadership Award winner.
“I had the good fortune of meeting Stacy during the first months of law school. It was then that I realized her strength in leadership and passion for diversity. Stacy quickly distinguished herself as a leader, was always well-prepared and never missed a class. During law school, she founded and served as the inaugural President of the Disability Law Organization at The John Marshall Law School—the first of its kind in the Chicago area.
“Stacy’s dedication to this cause has never faltered.
“Since becoming a licensed attorney in Illinois, Stacy has worked tirelessly to identify issues of importance to the disabled, and took action to deal with those issues. Stacy was elected President of the Young Professionals Board of the Center for Disability and Elder Law (CDEL) in September 2012, and recently served on the Winter Benefit Committee which raised $100,000 for that organization. CEDL provides pro bono legal services to low income residents of Cook County who are either elderly or who have permanent disabilities.
“Stacy is also a co-chair of the Committee on Lawyers with Disabilities for the Diversity Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and has participated as a panelist to assist Chicago architects in understanding and implementing the Americans with Disability Act guidelines that took effect in March 2012.
“Also in September 2012, Stacy was selected to Just the Beginning Foundation’s 20 Under 40 List. This exclusive list was created to recognize those in our legal community who are dedicated to ‘reaching back and lifting up’ to increase diversity in the legal community and the judiciary.
“She has made an effort to promote awareness of disability issues in our community, including, “The Time to Think About ADA Compliance is NOW!” published on HotelInteractive.com, July 2012 and “Are you Up to Date? ADA Standards for Accessible Design,” a presentation designed for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Chicago, April 2012. Stacy presented on ADA issues at the AIA’s fall 2013 event.
“Because of her passion to advocate for people with disabilities, Stacy and her husband, Dr. George F. Viamontes, coordinated with the DSF to establish the Disabled Law Student Scholarship Award (DLSSA). They asked guests at their October 2011 wedding to donate to the scholarship in lieu of traditional wedding gifts. After personally donating the money to fund the scholarship for the first two years, they have raised almost $5,000 for the DLSSA to date. The inspiration behind the scholarship came from their desire to make a meaningful contribution in honor of their wedding day and stemmed from their love and respect for Stacy’s father, who has a physical disability. The DLSSA will improve diversity within the legal profession by providing funds to disabled law students as they pursue a career in the legal profession.
“Stacy’s commitment to diversity was recently acknowledged when she received the Outstanding Diversity Leader and Diversity Scholarship Foundation Partner Award from the DSF for her contributions to diversity in the legal field.
“In addition to expanding her diversity efforts in her first years of practice, Stacy also focused on honing her skills as a general litigation associate in the Chicago office of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP. Stacy handles a range of matters including personal injury cases and business litigation matters, and has experience defending cases at all stages of litigation from initial pleadings and discovery to trial preparation. She has participated in the 7th Circuit’s Criminal Justice Act program, traveling to visit her client in prison, drafting an appellate brief and reply, and advocating on behalf of her client in front of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Stacy exudes enthusiasm for the law that comes across even when first meeting her, and I cannot applaud her enough for her commitment to diversity within the Illinois bar. It is without hesitation that I give Stacy Campbell-Viamontes my whole-hearted recommendation for the Diversity Leadership Award.”
“The lawyers of the ISBA Standing Committee on Women and the Law proudly nominate Annemarie E. Kill for the Diversity Leadership Award. Annemarie is truly deserving of this award as she has made significant contributions to the advancement of diversity within the Illinois legal community, and more specifically within the ISBA. She has served as a member and chair of both the ISBA Diversity Leadership Council and Standing Committee on Women and the Law. She is a member of numerous organizations outside the ISBA which are committed to diversity. Annemarie is a leader in our profession and her commitment to diversity (based on gender, race, ethnicity, gender identity, and for other traditionally underserved groups) is unparalleled.
“Annemarie served the Diversity Leadership Council as its vice chair from 2009 to 2010 and chair from 2010 to 2011. From 2011 to 2012, she adeptly served as the Coordinator of Diversity Fellows. The ISBA Diversity Leadership Fellow program identifies diverse future leaders and provides them with the opportunity to find their niche within the ISBA, hopefully paving the way to future leadership roles.
“As the Coordinator of the Diversity Fellows, Annemarie led several efforts which improved the program and enhanced the positive experience for the Diversity Fellows. Under her leadership, the program instituted an initial orientation and reception for the Fellows. She was also instrumental in drafting a Fellows’ handbook. During her term as coordinator, a second orientation and luncheon at the ISBA Midyear Meeting took place, during which the ISBA President and Vice Presidents addressed the Fellows. She also oversaw a revision of the Diversity Fellows’ mentorship program, under which each Fellow is paired with an ISBA mentor. Mentors have served on the Diversity Leadership Council and have also held leadership roles within the ISBA. All of these improvements were aimed at improving the chances of success for the Diversity Fellows and, therefore, improving the diversity of the ISBA.
“Annemarie was a member of the Standing Committee on Women and the Law from 2000 to 2011. She served as its secretary from 2007 to 2008, vice chair from 2008 to 2009, and chair from 2009 to 2010. She was a positive role model for those on the committee through her spirit of leadership and inclusion. One of the missions of the Standing Committee on Women and the Law is to seek public recognition for the achievements of women lawyers. As committee chair, Annemarie spearheaded efforts to seek recognition for committee members through nominations for ISBA awards. In 2010, she was co-chair of the planning committee for the ISBA’s “Celebrating Women in the Profession” luncheon.
“Annemarie has served on the ISBA CLE committee since 2009. In this capacity, she has served as CLE liaison to many diversity-related committees and section councils, including the Human Rights Section Council, Disability Law Committee, and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee. Furthermore, she has coordinated numerous CLE events addressing the needs of women traditionally underserved in the justice system, including victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and girls in the criminal justice system.
“Moreover, Annemarie has served on the ISBA Law and Leadership Institute (LLI) Committee. The LLI Committee is a statewide initiative to assist students from minority racial and ethnic groups which are underrepresented in the legal profession achieve academic success and aspire to career in the law.
“Annemarie also gives generously of her time with other organizations serving historically disadvantaged groups. She has served on a Chicago Bar Association (CBA) and Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI) Joint Task Force on Issues Affecting Women as they Age. In addition to her membership in the ISBA, CBA, and WBAI, Annemarie has been active in efforts to raise funds and awareness of issues in rebuilding Haiti and the Girl Scouts of America. She is a pro bono volunteer at the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and the Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago.
“A member of the Illinois Bar since 1995, Annemarie is a tireless advocate for social justice. She has been a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court since 2005. Annemarie has prevailed in an employment discrimination case at the Seventh Circuit and successfully opposed the employer’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite the employer’s powerful amicus, the International Municipal Lawyers’ Association. This case garnered national attention; however, this is but a single example of Annemarie’s commitment to social justice. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters and served as a guest speaker on numerous topics within her areas of expertise, including women’s issues, civil unions, and grandparents raising grandchildren.
“Annemarie is, simply put, an outstanding lawyer, who gives selflessly of her time. She has been selected as one of the “Top 50 Women Lawyers” by Illinois Super Lawyer in 2011 and 2012. She has been selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer for seven of the last eight years. Annemarie has been an Illinois Leading Lawyer every year since 2010. In 2014, she was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America in US News & World Report. She has been a member of the ISBA Assembly since 2008. Annemarie is a member of numerous organizations advancing the cause of diversity, as well as serving her law school and her profession. She is also a member of Mensa.
“Given Annemarie’s significant achievements in advancing diversity, we know that she is extremely deserving of the Diversity Leadership Award. In fact, we cannot think of a more deserving nominee. She embodies the ideals, principles, and commitment to diversity which every attorney should strive to attain. We are proud to nominate Annemarie E. Kill for the 2014 Diversity Leadership Award.” ■