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The Magazine of Illinois Lawyers

January 2018Volume 106Number 1Page 10

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President's Page

Hello, Morgan County - and Thank You

Meeting with lawyers around the state is one of my goals as president.

Hon. Russell W. Hartigan

In the months leading up to my ISBA presidency, I struggled with how I could remain on the bench and fulfill my presidential duties. Even though I loved being a judge, the ISBA won out, in part because I knew I would drive a presiding judge crazy with all my travel commitments. Now that I'm back in private practice and also doing mediations, I again face the challenges of serving clients and getting new ones.

Illinois is a big state, stretching more than 400 miles from South Beloit to Cairo. Some past presidents have found it difficult to visit central and southern Illinois because of family and law-practice commitments. But I think it's important for a Cook County-based president like me to travel outside the Chicago metro area so members throughout Illinois can hear what the ISBA is doing to help them practice more effectively and profitably. My stump speech also describes the work of the Illinois Bar Foundation ("IBF"), which assists lawyers in need and helps bring justice to those without attorneys, and ISBA Mutual, an attorney-run malpractice insurance provider that helps keep premiums lower for all Illinois lawyers and pays policyholders a yearly dividend.

I thoroughly enjoyed my recent visit to Jacksonville, 30 miles west of Springfield in Morgan County. Jacksonville has two colleges and a junior college along with its own symphony and many beautiful historic homes. Illinois College and MacMurray College are only a few blocks from each other. My football refereeing background compelled me to ask whether they play each other in sports. The answer: They're friendly neighborhood rivals in different athletic conferences.

President Hartigan and 3rd VP Dennis Orsey meet with members of the Morgan County Bar Association in Jacksonville.I was a guest of the Morgan County Bar Association and was honored to be the first ISBA president in recent memory to attend one of their luncheon meetings. After my remarks, they served turkey, ham, dressing, and pumpkin pie - it was delicious, and to be courteous I found room for everything.

Visiting Jacksonville and places like it is one of my top presidential goals. Getting out around the state and talking about our practices and how ISBA can help our local bars is fun, and it's what a bar president should be doing.

The Morgan County Bar is just one of the many regional bars that help their local communities and truly represent the legal profession at its best. Many generations of families have led these bar groups, and it's wonderful to see fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters who practice together in attendance at these local events. My son and I practiced together for seven delightful years, so I know how rewarding these family working relationships can be.

I have more travels planned for parts of the state we haven't visited with an official delegation for some time. If you'd like me to attend your local bar meeting and discuss the ISBA, please contact me or executive director Robert Craghead. I'm happy to talk about the benefits of ISBA membership and the work of the association, the IBF, and ISBA Mutual.

I've tried to lead by example as president. I've spoken at four CLE programs so far this year. I'm also a super ISBA recruiter and hope you'll do the same. Once young members get on a committee or section council, they'll be excited to speak at a CLE program or write a newsletter article. Please join me in encouraging our young lawyers to join the association.

It was nice to hear from members who had a wonderful time at the Midyear Meeting last month and enjoyed the new location at the Palmer House. I look forward to meeting more members around the state in 2018.