CBA Record July-August 2020
Congratulations and Thanks to Terry Murphy: The Man, the Myth, the Legend By Katie Liss, CBA Record Editorial Board Member H ow can one express the depth of gratitude and respect that we feel for the Chicago Bar Associa-
tion’s Executive Director, Terry Murphy, who has led the CBA for nearly half a century? Murphy’s care and devotion to the continued betterment of our organi- zation and the pursuit of justice for all is visible every day through his outstanding legacy within our association. The CBA’s dedicated and passionate long-term staff, its committed 18,000 members, and its standing in the local, national, and international legal community are all indicators of Terry’s wonderful leadership throughout the years. Murphy’s career with the CBA began as a young college graduate in September 1971 and will come to a close upon his official retirement in September 2020. In 1971, Murphy, dressed in his only suit at that time, strutted into the CBA’s lobby looking for a law clerk position prior to enrolling in law school. Finding nothing, he turned to leave the CBA offices and liter- ally ran into the then-CBA Comptroller. This individual had Murphy fill out a one- page application and introduced him to then-Executive Director Jacques G. Fuller. Soon thereafter, Murphy headed home. By the time he arrived home, his mother told him he had a job at the CBA starting that Monday. What that job was and howmuch he would be compensated was unknown. Nevertheless, Murphy showed up ready to start on day one and never left. Between 1971-1985, Murphy served as Secretary to numerous standing commit- tees, Director of the CBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, Staff Liaison to the Centennial Committee, and Assistant Executive Direc- tor. In 1985, after a nationwide search that yielded about 400 applicants, Murphy was selected and appointed to serve as the CBA’s fifth Executive Director. After 35 years in this position, Murphy has become the CBA’s longest serving Executive Direc-
CBA Past Presidents Robert Clifford (2011-12), Gordon Nash (1990-91), and Murphy.
First, he is passionate and dedicated to doing the right thing. Second, he has great foresight and ability to adapt. With respect to doing what’s right, Murphy has been a longstanding advocate of diversity and inclusion in the legal pro- fession. Since the beginning of his career, Murphy encouraged diverse attorneys to rise up in leadership within the CBA. Just a few of these talented individuals include Esther Rostein (first female CBA President 1977-1978); Chester Blair (first African American male CBA President 1989-1990); Justice Joy Cunningham (first African American female CBA President 2004-05; Rene A. Torrado (first Hispanic male CBA President 1995-1996); Anita Alvarez (first Hispanic female CBA Presi- dent 2009-2010); and Aurora Austriaco (first Asian American Filipino CBA Presi- dent 2012-2013). He was also instrumen- tal in creating the Earl Burrus Dickerson Awards while working with Chester Blair in 1990. The Dickerson Awards were created to honor one of the first African American CBA members who dedicated his profes- sional career to helping others gain equality and justice. Furthermore, in 2009, Murphy became a founding member as well as
tor in the association’s 146-year history. In addition to becoming a husband, father, and proud grandfather during his tenure with the CBA, Murphy has also become a talented artist, painting beautiful pieces that are featured in various offices and courthouses throughout Chicago. When asked about his tenure with the CBA, Murphy replied, “That all of these years have passed in what seems to have been a heartbeat is a testament to how much I have enjoyed and loved the privilege of serving the past and present members of our Association.” The CBA is truly fortunate to have had such a wonderful Executive Director for so long and to also have Elizabeth (Beth) McMeen succeed Murphy as the CBA’s incoming Executive Director. McMeen served as a Past CBA YLS Chair, the CBA’s CLE Director for 10 years, and most recently as the CBA’s Assistant Executive Director since January 2010. There is no one more qualified than McMeen to serve in this position. Wide-Ranging Role When discussing Murphy’s role within the CBA, two strong common themes appear:
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