We announce with great pride the fabulous news that fellow Committee member Letitia Spunar-Sheats has been selected by the Board of Regents of the ISBA Academy of Illinois Lawyers to be one of the six distinguished attorneys of the 2008 Class of Laureates, for which she was nominated by our Committee. Laureates are selected based on their commitment to the highest principles of the legal profession through service to the law, the profession and the public. Tish has consistently displayed a strong and unwavering commitment to these high ideals through exemplary service to her clients, steadfast support of the profession, and her mentoring of young attorneys.
As a principal in the law firm of Sheats and Kellogg for the past 32 years, Tish has concentrated in general civil litigation, family law, wills, estates and real estate. She had the courage and confidence to start her own practice at a time when it was unusual for women to venture down that difficult road. That practice is thriving today, no doubt due to Tish’s special brand of personal and impeccable service to her clients and her uncommon ability to achieve a balance between zealous advocacy and civility toward opposing counsel, a trait which is recognized by judges before whom she appears. In addition to the rigorous demands of her law practice, Tish teaches at National Louis University’s College of Management and Business.
The mere breadth of Tish’s contributions to the ISBA is noteworthy. Though an ISBA member since 1973, Tish is rarely just a “member” of any group, and therefore she has held many leadership positions within the Association. She served on the Assembly, and has chaired the Minority and Women’s Participation Committee, the Bar Services and Activities Committee (known as the Membership and Bar Activities Committee at the time), and the Assembly’s Agenda and Program Committee. She served on the CLE Committee, Judicial Evaluation Committee, General Practice Section Council, Elder Law Committee, and is a strong, current influence on the Women and the Law Committee. Tish is a devoted supporter of the Foundation, and you might see her pull up to the Laureate Awards Luncheon venue in the striking sports car she won in the IBF Gala Raffle several years ago!
But Tish’s contributions to the organized bar don’t end with the ISBA. Tish has been tremendously active in the Chicago Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. During her tenure as president of the John Marshall Alumni Association Board of Directors, she recognized the importance of investing in the future of the profession by supporting law students.
Perhaps Tish most impressively and effectively serves the profession through her personal support of colleagues. She consistently motivates other attorneys, especially women, to aspire to reach every goal. Through her willingness to share her experience and her calming influence, she encourages others to pursue appointments and elections to bar association positions. These characteristics are particularly noteworthy because, despite an occasional defeat, Tish never succumbs to bitterness, loses focus of her goals, or allows anything to mar her optimism for the future of the profession. This contagious philosophy, combined with her sage advice, inspires others to seek bar leadership positions that they might have avoided, and to take risks in their own careers. Past and present members of our Committee have personally experienced Tish’s selfless and nurturing guidance. Tish is dedicated to her profession, yet is equally dedicated to the individual attorneys who comprise it. As a mentor and leader, Tish simply represents the best of the legal profession, and we are thrilled about the recognition of her contributions that the Laureate designation reflects.