Member Groups

The Challenge
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law

October 2016, vol. 27, no. 1

Spotlight on REM members (and past members!): What a Guy—He Never Stops Giving!

The members of the REM Committee extend our congratulations to Cory White on his recent election by the Board of Governors to the position of Delegate to the American Bar Association. The BOG also deserves applause for its sound judgment in choosing Cory for this coveted honor of representing the ISBA in matters that come before the ABA’s House of Delegates. We understand that Cory was chosen by a unanimous vote of the Governors in a five-person competition at the Board meeting following the ISBA’s June Assembly meeting at which no nominations for ABA Delegate were received.

We who have worked with Cory on various diversity and inclusion initiatives, several of which he has overseen, are not surprised by the choice the BOG has made. Having seen him in action as past Chair of REM and current Chair of the Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) for an unprecedented second year, a position that has been designated as a one-year term since the creation of the DLC in 2009, we know that under Cory’s skilled, compassionate and visionary leadership, any task can be accomplished no matter the degree of difficulty.

As our facilitator during a process of review and ‘restructuring’ of the current status and functioning of the DLC by the officers of the six “Constituent Committees,” Cory provided effective guidance to us all. That guidance enabled us to tackle a mission that was especially challenging, given the serious and understandably passionate investment of the leadership of the respective Constituent Committees—and their predecessors—in how the DLC should operate. A primary objective was to determine what the DLC’s mission, goals and membership should be in order to best achieve increased diversity and inclusiveness within the ISBA and in the greater legal community. Due to the importance of this task and the pressure to accomplish it in short order, it is a wonder that anyone would even wish to be at the helm, trying to lead the group of Committee leaders. Yet Cory stepped up to the plate and never left the game until unanimous agreement was reached on the substance and the specific wording of the restructuring proposal.

For such work, Cory has been widely praised. We have come to respect him for his calm and deliberate approach to discussing and resolving challenging issues, especially when emotions have intensified and the situation threatens to dissolve into chaos. Cory possesses that rare skill of retaining his focus and composure while simultaneously encouraging all individuals to express their views no matter how those views may conflict with other opinions previously shared. Moreover, by his respectful listening to everyone, he becomes the model for our remembering the importance of showing respect for and listening carefully to the views of others even when we strongly disagree with them. He is then relentless in keeping us on task and getting us to the finish line, even when it means we are asked to vote on a series of small pieces that make up the important whole. And during that process which seems to convey the illusion of being seamless, Cory is gently urging us into negotiations with one another in a way we hardly notice is even a negotiation process. And then, magically, we arrive at consensus and congratulate each other as if we got their entirely on our own.

The question that comes to mind as I write this tribute to Cory is: How does Cory manage to be a successful lawyer at his high-intensity firm while he is managing the group of intense and driven attorneys who are so frequently engaged themselves in resolving matters of urgency to the legal profession? If you don’t already know, Cory became a licensed attorney in 2009 and in the short time since then he founded his own law firm, Hafelein/White, LLC, where he specialized in securities law and regulation, structuring of for-profit and non-profit entities, and general corporate representation. In mid-2013 Cory moved on to The International Business Law Group where he has expanded his existing fields of practice to include international transactions and cross-border representation.

If you were to review Cory’s resume, you would be astounded by the number of his publications on pretty heady legal topics, including ones whose titles are instantly inscrutable to me. Some areas he has addressed are: registration of private equity and hedge fund advisers under Dodd-Frank; crowdfunding and the role of the JOBS Act; proxy contest basics for non-registrants; SEC reporting relevant to institutional investment managers; and Sarbanes-Oxley Act considerations related to environmental liability. And all of these writings seem to have been produced from 2011-2015 while, as many of us have witnessed, he was thoroughly engaged in helping promote diversity in the ISBA and across the profession. No wonder Cory has been selected as a Rising Star in Business/Corporate and Securities in 2015 and 2016 by the Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine. Pretty soon he’ll be orbiting outer space. And speaking of travel, being a native of New York with continuing strong ties to that state, Cory was admitted to the New York Bar in December of 2015. Selfishly, we hope we don’t lose him to Big Apple!

Understandably, REM members are so proud and pleased to call Cory ‘one of our own’ though we don’t mind sharing him with the rest of the ISBA!