Member Groups

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

June 2017, vol. 27, no. 3

Spotlight on REM members: What a phenomenon—She never stops moving and giving!

Masah RenwickREM member Masah Renwick is new to the Committee this term, and ‘NEW’ seems to be the theme for this stage of her 11-year legal career as well. At the end of 2016, Masah, a divorce and family law practitioner in Homewood, established the Renwick Firm, Inc., a new version of her previously successful law firm, and she just “rolled it out” at the start of 2017. So while everyone else was shopping and preparing for and then celebrating the holidays, Masah was putting the finishing touches on her new office plan and on her marketing campaign.

To be clear, Masah is not starting a new practice but is transforming her earlier firm, Lakeside Law Group, into a new business with a more concentrated approach to family law and to solving the challenging problems that parents often face in resolving marital and custody disputes. Such disputes can have a devastating impact on everyone, but especially on the children, and that is where Masah’s heart and legal mind and talents are focused: on the children. Possibly her passion for this focus arose in part from her undergrad career at the Indiana University where she majored in Psychology.

And speaking of children, Masah has several of her own from very young to less young and she also squeezes special amounts of special time from each day to pay attention to her family. For such devotion, we applaud and are amazed by Masah as we should be for any parent who finds a way to balance different crucial components of their lives without falling apart at the seams or falling down or falling in arrears in paying bills or falling out of step with their goals and dreams and ambitions, expressions of love for their family members, friends and colleagues, and regard for their clients’ needs.

For the Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law Committee (‘REM’), Masah also delivered superbly on her promise to serve as moderator for one of the four parts of our recent and very successful CLE Program Series on Housing Justice v. Housing Injustice. For February’s part two of that webinar series, she blew into town 15 minutes before the start of the program, warmly greeted the four program panelists, re-examined the program materials and ISBA ‘instructions’ for moderators, took her place in the middle of the table, flanked on each side by two panelists, and then ‘took off’ with a generous and engaging introduction to the webinar topic and of the participants. In other words, like a finely tuned instrument but much more interesting, Masah took control and, for the next two hours, she glided adeptly and with grace through the questions to the panelists and also helped to spark interaction among the four of them about shared issues, concerns and goals for protecting the rights of both tenants and landlords. Her smooth, confident approach to her role seemed to energize the participants and encourage their sharing of insights. Additionally, this bar year Masah has been a regular presenter on the Family Law Section Council CLE Table Clinic Series. By June, Masah will have served as a panelist on a total of nine programs, including a panel that addressed Illinois’ new child support laws. So it appears there is no stopping her – nor will we try.

Masah brings to all of the parts of her current life a treasure chest of rich experience initiating projects and serving as a leader for other women lawyers. Besides being an active member of the WBAI, the ISBA and the CCBA, Masah is the co-founder and current Treasurer of the Black Bar Association of Will County and, for the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, she served as the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Co-Chair of the Small and Solo Firm Committee. For the Cook County Bar Association, Masah is the 2016-2017 Chair of the Family Law Section and she previously held the position of Chair of the Family Strengthening Committee for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Theta Omega Chapter—an appropriate role for Masah, given her career focus. We hope that SHE feels strengthened, too, so she can continue contributing her talents to these fine organizations and their members.

Are we finished yet? NO. Recently, Governor Rauner wisely appointed Masah to serve on the Board of Trustees of Governor’s State University. AND she found time to be a Judge for the American Mock Trial Association Rounds that took place at the University of St. Francis. Given her own substantial trial experience, we can assume that the student teams, which Masah generously praised, learned a great deal from her about trial practice and trial strategy.

Whew! I am done for now—even though, as I write, she could be out there doing great work. Maybe there will be a sequel. But I’ll end with THANKS, Masah, for your great contributions to the profession and to your colleagues.

Understandably, REM members are grateful that Masah chose to serve the ISBA through her participation as a member of the REM Committee.