Member Groups

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

June 2018, vol. 11, no. 1

Emily Masalski receives Alta May Hulett Award from Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women

Emily Masalski is a recognized leader amongst women lawyers in Chicago. In 2017, she was named one of The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s 40 Attorneys Under 40 to Watch. This year, Leading Lawyers highlighted her work and passion in an article.

Since moving to Chicago to practice law in 2007, Masalski has been involved continually with organizations in the legal community to advance and empower women in the legal profession. In the past seven years, this involvement has included many leadership roles, including serving on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women (AFW) from 2011 to 2013 as co-chair of the annual awards luncheon and then as co-chair of the Cross-Career and Networking Subcommittee. She also has contributed to advancing women in the law through the Illinois State Bar Association on the Standing Committee on Women & the Law, including chairing the organization in 2016. In addition she serves or has served in the ISBA Assembly, and currently as chair of the Environmental Law Section Council.

Masalski has also been a role model to young women attorneys by serving in leadership roles with the American Bar Association, where she was an “under 35” ISBA Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, working on projects in the Young Lawyers Division (including recognition as a “Star of the Quarter”), being selected to the SEER Leadership Development Program, and filling several roles on the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. Through these leadership positions, Masalski has used her friendly yet persistent communication style to encourage women attorneys to get involved and make a difference in their profession.
 
Despite the demands of both her client work and her leadership roles, Masalski finds time to make a difference in the lives of women in our community, too. She has been involved with the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH), through which she supervised two associates in pro bono matters, including eviction defense cases. She is committed to the issue of gender-based violence and educating her peers on the subject. Towards that end, she was a leader in organizing the Chicago Symposium on Campus Sexual Assault in November 2015, which was sponsored by the ISBA and several other bar associations.

Masalski has also been an unwavering advocate for nursing mothers. She drafted Senate Bill 0344 “Lactation Accommodation in Airports Act,” testified at a public hearing before the Chicago City Council Finance Committee, created a change.org petition to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City of Chicago Department of Aviation seeking to establish lactation rooms at O’Hare Airport (which garnered over 1500 signatures), and coordinated outreach to Illinois legislators. Masalski’s persistence and persuasiveness resulted in Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford introducing SB 0344 in April 2015. The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly in May/June 2015 and was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Masalski gets results that benefit women attorneys and women in the community at large, not just because of her persistence and persuasiveness, but also because she always acts with the highest level of ethics. Her clients and law firm colleagues see this commitment, resulting in her election to principal at Deutsch, Levy & Engel and more recently as partner at Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP. The respect that the legal community at large has for Masalski is reflected in the numerous awards she has received, including ISBA Young Lawyer of the Year, Illinois Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, Emerging Lawyer by Leading Lawyers Network. She encourages colleagues by her example and also makes time to encourage young women considering a career in the law by mentoring Girl Scouts in the AFW’s Project Law Track.

Masalski is the embodiment of the spirit of Alta May Hulett. She stands up for what she believes in and is a constant advocate for professional women.

Kristen Prinz is an employment lawyer, business counselor and founder of The Prinz Law Firm. She focuses on providing clients with strategic and cost-effective legal and business planning solutions to assist business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals in building and realizing their potential. She can be reached at (312) 212-4450.

Editor’s Note: See June 2015 issue of Diversity Matters for more information on SB 0344.